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Nervous and Mental Disease Monograph Series No. 19 

The Theory of Psychoanalysis 



of Zurich 

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By Dr. C. G. JUNG 

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SERIES, No. 19 

The Theory of Psychoanalysis 



of Zurich 




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In these lectures I have attempted to reconcile my practical 
experiences in psychoanalysis with the existing theory, or rather, 
with the approaches to such a theory. Here is my attitude to- 
wards those principles which my honored teacher Sigmund Freud 
has evolved from the experience of many decades. Since I have 
long been closely connected with psychoanalysis, it will perhaps 
be asked with astonishment how it is that I am now for the first 
time defining my theoretical position. When, some ten years 
ago, it came home to me what a vast distance Freud had already 
travelled beyond the bounds of contemporary knowledge of 
psycho-pathological phenomena, especially the psychology of the 
complex mental processes, I no longer felt myself in a position to 
exercise any real criticism. I did not possess the sorry mandarin- 
courage of those people who upon a basis of ignorance and 
incapacity consider themselves justified in "critical "rejections. 
I thought one must first work modestly for years in such a field 
before one might dare to criticize. The evil results of prema- 
ture and superficial criticism have certainly not been lacking. 
A preponderating number of critics have attacked with as much 
anger as ignorance. Psychoanalysis has flourished undisturbed 
and has not troubled itself one jot or tittle about the unscientific 
chatter that has buzzed around it. As everyone knows, this tree 
has waxed mightily, and not in one world only, but alike in 
Europe and in America. Official criticism participates in the 
pitiable fate of Proktophantasmist and his lamentation in the 
Walpurgis-night : 

"You still are here? Nay, 'tis a thing unheard! 
Vanish at once ! We've said the enlightening word." 

Such criticism has omitted to take to heart the truth that all 
that exists has sufficient right to its existence: no less is it with 

We will not fall into the error of our opponents, nor ignore 
their existence nor deny their right to exist. But then this 


enjoins upon ourselves the duty of applying a proper criticism, 
grounded upon a practical knowledge of the facts. To me it 
seems that psychoanalysis stands in need of this weighing-up 
from the inside. 

It has been wrongly assumed that my attitude denotes a 
"split" in the psychoanalytic movement. Such a schism can 
only exist where faith is concerned. But psychoanalysis deals 
with knowledge and its ever-changing formulations. I have 
taken William James' pragmatic rule as a plumb-line: "You 
must bring out of each word its practical cash-value, set it at 
work within the stream of your experience. It appears less a 
solution, then, than as a program for more work and more par- 
ticularly as an indication of the ways in which existing realities 
may be changed. Theories thus become instruments, not answers 
to enigmas, in which we can rest. We don't lie back upon them, 
we move forward, and, on occasion, make nature over again by 
their aid." 

And so my criticism has not proceeded from academic argu- 
ments, but from experiences which have forced themselves on 
me during ten years earnest work in this sphere. I know that 
my experience in no wise approaches Freud's quite extraordinary 
experience and insight, but none the less it seems to me that 
certain of my formulations do present the observed facts more 
adequately than is the case in Freud's method of statement. At 
any rate I have found, in my teaching, that the conceptions put 
forward in these lectures have afforded peculiar aid in my en- 
deavors to help my pupils to an understanding of psychoanalysis. 
With such experience I am naturally inclined to assent to the view 
of Mr. Dooley, that witty humorist of the New York Times, when 
he says, defining pragmatism : " Truth is truth ' when it works.' " 
I am indeed very far from regarding a modest and moderate 
criticism as a " falling away " or a schism ; on the contrary, 
through it I hope to help on the flowering and fructification of 
the psychoanalytic movement, and to open a path towards the 
scientific treasures of psychoanalysis for those who have hitherto 
been unable to possess themselves of psychoanalytic methods, 
whether through lack of practical experience or through distaste 
of the theoretical hypothesis. 

For the opportunity to deliver these lectures I have to thank 


my friend Dr. Smith Ely Jelliffe, of New York, who kindly in- 
vited me to take part in the " Extension Course " at Fordham 
University. These lectures were given in September, 1912, in 
New York. 

I must here also express my best thanks to Dr. Gregory, of 
Bellevue Hospital, for his ready support of my clinical demon- 

For the troublesome work of translation I am greatly indebted 
to my assistant, Miss M. Moltzer, and to Mrs. Edith Eder and 
Dr. Eder of London. 

Only after the preparation of these lectures did Adler's book, 
" Ueber den nervosen Character," become known to me, in the 
summer of 1912. I recognize that he and I have reached similar 
conclusions on various points, but here is not the place to go into 
a more intimate discussion of the matter; that must take place 



It is not an easy task to speak about psychoanalysis in these 
days. I am not thinking, when I say this, of the fact that psycho- 
analysis in general it is my earnest conviction is among the 
most difficult scientific problems of the day. But even when we 
put this cardinal fact aside, we find many serious difficulties 
which interfere with the clear interpretation of the matter. I 
am not capable of giving you a complete doctrine elaborated both 
from the theoretical and the empirical standpoint. Psychoanalysis 
has not yet reached such a point of development, although a great 
amount of labor has been expended upon it. Neither can I give you 
a description of its growth ab ovo, for you already have in your 
country, with its great regard for all the progress of civilization, a 
considerable literature on the subject. This literature has already 
spread a general knowledge of psychoanalysis among those who 
have a scientific interest in it. 

You have had the opportunity of listening to Freud, the real 
explorer and founder of this method, who has spoken in your own 
country about this theory. As for myself, I have already had the 
honor of speaking about this work in America. I have discussed 
the experimental foundation of the theory of complexes and the 
application of psychoanalysis to pedagogy. 

It can be easily understood that under these circumstances I 
fear to repeat what has already been said, or published in many 
scientific journals in this country. A further difficulty lies in the 
fact that in very many quarters there are already prevailing quite 
extraordinary conceptions of our theory, conceptions which are 
often absolutely wrong, and unfortunately wrong just in that 
which touches the very essence of psychoanalysis. At times it 
seems nearly impossible to grasp even the meaning of these errors, 
and I am constantly astonished to find any one with a scientific 
education ever arriving at ideas so divorced from all foundations 
in fact. Obviously it would be of no importance to cite examples 


of these curiosities, and it will be more valuable to discuss here 
those questions and problems of psychoanalysis which really 
might provoke misunderstanding. 


Although it has very often been repeated, it seems to be still 
an unknown fact to many people, that in these last years the 
theory of psychoanalysis has changed considerably. Those, for 
instance, who have only read the first book, " Studies in Hysteria," 
by Breuer and Freud, still believe that psychoanalysis essentially 
consists in the doctrine that hysteria, as well as other neuroses, 
has its root in the so-called " traumata," or shocks, of earliest child- 
hood. They continue to condemn this theory, and have no idea 
that it is fifteen years since this conception was abandoned and 
replaced by a totally different one. This change is of such great 
importance in the whole development of psychoanalysis, as well 
for its technique as for its theory, that I must give it in some 
detail. That I may not weary you with the complete recitation of 
cases already well known, I will only just refer to those in Breuer 
and Freud's book, which I shall assume are known to you, for 
the book has been translated into English. 1 You will there have 
read that case of Breuer's, to which Freud referred in his lectures 
at Clark University. You will have found that the hysterical 
symptom has not some unknown organic source, but is based on 
certain highly emotional psychic events, so-called injuries of the 
heart, traumata or shocks. I think that now-a-days every care- 
ful observer of hysteria will acknowledge from his own experi- 
ence that, at the root of this disease, such painful events are 
to be found. This truth was already known to the physicians of 
former days. 


So far as I know it was really Charcot who, probably under 
the influence of Page's theory of nervous shock, made this obser- 
vation of theoretical value. Charcot knew, by means of hypno- 
tism, at that time not understood, that hysterical symptoms could 
be called forth by suggestion as well as made to disappear through 

1 " Selected Papers on Hysteria and Other Psychoneuroses," by Prof. 
Sigmund Freud. Nervous and Mental Disease Monograph Series, No. 4. 


suggestion. Charcot believed that he saw something like this in 
those cases of hysteria caused by accident, cases which became 
more and more frequent. The shock can be compared with 
hypnosis in Charcot's sense. The emotion provoked by the shock 
causes a momentary complete paralysis of will-power, during 
which the remembrance of the trauma can be fixed as an auto- 
suggestion. This conception gives us the original theory of 
psychoanalysis. Etiological investigation had to prove whether 
this mechanism, or a similar one, was also to be found in those 
cases of hysteria which could not be called traumatic. This lack 
of knowledge of the etiology of hysteria was supplied by the dis- 
covery of Breuer and Freud. They proved that even in those 
ordinary cases of hysteria which cannot be said to be caused by 
shock the same trauma-element was to be found, and seemed to 
have an etiological value. It is natural that Freud, a pupil of 
Charcot, was inclined to suppose that this discovery in itself con- 
firmed the. ideas of Charcot. Accordingly the theory elaborated out 
of the experience of that period, mainly by Freud, received the 
imprint of a traumatic etiology. The name of trauma-theory is 
therefore justified; nevertheless this theory had also a new aspect. 
I am not here speaking of the truly admirable profoundness and 
precision of Freud's analysis of symptoms, but of the relinquish- 
ing of -the conception of auto-suggestion, which was the dynamic 
force in the original theory, and its substitution by a detailed 
exposure of the psychological and psycho-physical effects caused 
by the shock. The shock, the trauma, provokes a certain exci- 
tation which, under normal circumstances, finds a natural outlet 
("abreagieren"). In hysteria it is only to a certain extent that 
the excitation does find a natural outlet ; a partial retention takes 
place, the so-called blocking of the affect ("Affecteinklemmung"). 
This amount of excitation, which can be compared with an 
amount of potential energy, is transmuted by the mechanism of 
conversion into "physical" symptoms. 

The Cathartic Method. According to this conception, ther- 
apy had to find the means by which those retained emotions 
could be brought to a mode of expression, thereby setting free 
from the symptoms that amount of repressed and converted feel- 
ing. Hence this was called the cleansing, or cathartic method; 
its aim was to discharge the blocked emotions. From this it fol- 



lows that analysis was then more or less closely concerned with 
the symptoms, that is to say, the symptoms were analyzed the 
work of analysis began with the symptoms, a method abandoned 
to-day. The cathartic method, and the theory on which it is 
based, are, as you know, accepted by other colleagues, so far as 
they are interested at all in psychoanalysis, and you will find some 
appreciation and quotation of the theory, as well as of the method, 
in several text-books. 


Although, as a matter of fact, the discovery of Breuer and 
Freud is certainly true, as can easily be proved by every case of 
hysteria, several objections can be raised to the theory. It must 
be acknowledged that their method shows with wonderful clear- 
ness the connection between the actual symptoms and the shock, 
as well as the psychological consequences which necessarily fol- 
low from the traumatic event, but nevertheless, a doubt arises as 
to the etiological significance of the so-called trauma or shock. 

It is extremely difficult for any critical observer of hysteria 
to admit that a neurosis, with all its complications, can be based 
on events in the past, as it were on one emotional experience long 
past. It is more or less fashionable at present to consider all 
abnormal psychic conditions, in so far as they are of exogenic 
growth, as the consequences of hereditary degeneration, and not 
as essentially influenced by the psychology of the patient and the 
environment. This conception is too narrow, and not justified 
by the facts. To use an analogy, we know perfectly well how to 
find the right middle course in dealing with the etiology of 
tuberculosis. There are, of course, cases of tuberculosis where 
in earliest childhood the germ of the disease falls upon a soil 
predisposed by heredity, so that even in the most favorable con- 
ditions the patient cannot escape his fate. None the less, there 
are also cases where, under favorable conditions, illness can be 
prevented, despite a predisposition to the disease. Nor must we 
forget that there are still other cases without hereditary dispo- 
sition or individual inclination, and, in spite of this, fatal infec- 
tion occurs. All this holds equally true of the neuroses, where 
matters are not essentially different in their method of procedure 
than they are in general pathology. Neither a theory in which 


the predisposition is all-important, nor one in which the influence 
of the environment is all-important, will ever suffice. It is true 
the shock-theory can be said to give predominance to the pre- 
disposition, even insisting that some past trauma is the condition 
sine qua non of the neurosis. Yet Freud's ingenious empiricism 
presented even in the " Studies in Hysteria " some views, insuffi- 
ciently exploited at the time, which contained the elements of a 
theory that perhaps more accentuates the value of environment 
than inherited or traumatic predisposition. 


Freud synthesized these observations in a form that was to 
extend far beyond the limits of the shock- theory. This concep- 
tion is the hypothesis of repression (" Verdrangung"). As you 
know, by the word "repression" is understood the psychic 
mechanism of the re-transportation of a conscious thought into 
the unconscious sphere. We call this sphere the " unconscious " 
and define it as the psyche of which we are not conscious. The 
conception of repression was derived from the numerous obser- 
vations made upon neurotic patients who seemed to have the 
capacity of forgetting important events or thoughts, and this to 
such an extent that one might easily believe nothing had ever 
happened. These observations can be constantly made by any- 
one who comes into close psychological relations with his patients. 
As a result of the Breuer and Freud studies, it was found that 
a very special method was needed to call again into consciousness 
those traumatic events long since forgotten. I wish to call atten- 
tion to this fact, since it is decidedly astonishing for a priori 
we are not inclined to believe that valuable things can ever be 
forgotten. For this reason several critics object that the reminis- 
cences which have been called into consciousness by certain 
hypnotic processes are only suggested ones, and do not corre- 
spond with reality. Even granting this, it would certainly not be 
justifiable to regard this in itself as a condemnation of "repres- 
sion," since there are and have been not a few cases where the 
fact of repressed reminiscences can be proved by objective 
demonstration. Even if we exclude this kind of proof, it is 
possible to test the phenomena by experiment. The association- 
tests provide us with the necessary experiences. Here we find 


the extraordinary fact that associations pertaining to complexes 
saturated with emotion emerge with much greater difficulty into 
consciousness, and are much more easily forgotten. 

As my experiments on this subject were never reexamined, 
the conclusions were never adopted, until just lately, when 
Wilhelm Peters, a disciple of Kraepelin, proved in general my 
previous observation, namely, that painful events are very rarely 
correctly reproduced ("die unlustbetonten Erlebnisse werden am 
seltensten richtig reproduciert"). 

As you see, the conception rests upon a firm empirical basis. 
There is still another side of the question worth looking at. We 
might ask if the repression has its root in a conscious determina- 
tion of the individual, or do the reminiscences disappear rather 
passively without conscious knowledge on the part of the patient? 
In Freud's works you will find a series of excellent proofs of 
the existence of a conscious tendency to repress what is painful. 
Every psychoanalyst will know more than a dozen cases show- 
ing clearly in their history one particular moment at feast in 
which the patient knows more or less clearly that he will not allow 
himself to think of the repressed reminiscences. A patient once 
gave this significant answer: " Je 1'ai mis de cote" (I have put 
it aside). 

But, on the other hand, we must not forget that there are a 
number of cases where it is impossible for us to show, even with 
the most careful examination, the slightest trace of conscious 
repression ; in these cases it seems as if the mechanism of repres- 
sion were much more in the nature of a passive disappearance, 
or even as if the impressions were dragged beneath the surface 
by some force operating from below. From the first class of 
cases we get the impression of complete mental development, 
accompanied by a kind of cowardice in regard to their own feel- 
ings; but among the second class of cases you may find patients 
showing a more serious retardation of development. The 
mechanism of repression seems here to be much more an auto- 
matic one. 

This difference is closely connected with the question I men- 
tioned before that is, the question of the relative importance 
of predisposition and environment. The first class of cases ap- 
pears to be mainly influenced by environment and education; in 


the other, predisposition seems to play the chief part. It is 
pretty clear where treatment will have more effect. (As I have 
already said, the conception of repression contains an element 
which is in intrinsic contradiction with the shock-theory.) We 
find, for instance, in the case of Miss Lucy R., 2 described by 
Freud, that the essential etiological moment is not to be found in 
the traumatic scenes, but in the insufficient readiness of the 
patient to set store upon the convictions passing through her 
mind. But if we think of the later views we find in the " Selected 
Papers on Hysteria," 3 where Freud, forced through further ex- 
perience, supposes certain traumatic sexual events in early 
childhood to be the source of the neurosis, then we get the im- 
,-pression of an incongruity between the conception of repression 
/ and that of shock. The conception of " repression " contains the 
elements of an etiological theory of environment, while the con- 
, ception of " shock " is a theory of predisposition. 

But at first the theory of neurosis developed along the lines 
of the trauma conception. Pursuing Freud's later investigations, 
we see him coming to the conclusion that no such positive value 
can be ascribed to the traumatic events of later life, as their 
effects could only be conceivable if the particular predisposition 
of the patient were taken into account. Evidently the enigma 
.was to be resolved just at this point. As the analytical work 
progressed, the roots of hysterical symptoms were found in child- 
hood ; they reached back from the present far into the past. The 
further end of the chain threatened to get lost in the mists of 
early childhood. But it was just there that reminiscences ap- 
peared of certain scenes where sexual activities had been mani- 
fested in an active or passive way, and these were unmistakably 
connected with the events which provoked the neurosis. (For 
further details of these events you must consult the works of 
Freud, as well as the numerous analyses which have already been 


Hence arose the theory of sexual trauma in childhood which 
provoked bitter opposition, not from theoretical objections against 
the shock-theory in general, but against the element of sexuality 

2 Monograph No. 4, p. 14. 

3 Ibid. 


in particular. In the first place, the idea that children might be 
sexual, and that sexual thoughts might play any part with them, 
aroused great antagonism. In the second place, the possibility 
that hysteria had a sexual basis was most unwelcome, for the 
sterile position that hysteria was either a reflex neurosis of the 
uterus or arose from lack of sexual satisfaction had just been 
given up. Naturally, therefore, the real value of Freud's obser- 
vations was disputed. If criticis had limited themselves to that 
question, and had not adorned their opposition with moral indig- 
nation, a calm discussion would have been possible. In Germany, 
for instance, this method of attack made it impossible to get any 
credit for Freud's theory. As soon as the question of sexuality 
was touched general resistance, as well as haughty contempt were 
awakened. But in truth there was but one question at issue: 
were Freud's observations true or not? That alone could be of 
importance to a really scientific mind. It is possible that these 
observations do not seem very probable at first sight, but it is un- 
justifiable to condemn them a priori as false. Wherever really 
sincere and thorough investigations have been carried out it has 
been possible to corroborate his observations. The fact of a 
psychological chain of consequences has been absolutely con- 
firmed, although Freud's original conception, that real traumatic 
scenes were always to be found, has not been. 


Freud himself abandoned his first 'presentation of the shock- 
theory after further and more thorough investigation. He could 
no longer retain his original view as to the reality of the sexual 
shock. Excessive sexuality, sexual abuse of children, or very 
early sexual activity in childhood, were later on seen to be of 
secondary importance. You will perhaps be inclined to share the 
suspicion of the critics that the results derived from analytic 
researches were based on suggestion. There might be some justi- 
fication for this view if these assertions had been published broad- 
cast by some charlatan or ill-qualified person. But anyone who 
has carefully read Freud's works, and has himself similarly 
sought to penetrate into the psychology of his patients, will know 
that it is unjust to attribute to an intellect like Freud's the crude 


mistakes of a journeyman. Such suggestions only redound to 
the discredit of those who make them. Ever since then patients 
have been examined by every possible means from which sug- 
gestion could be absolutely excluded. And still the associations 
described by Freud have been proved to be true in principle. 
We are thus obliged in the first place to regard many of these 
shocks of early childhood as phantoms, while other traumata have 
objective reality. With this knowledge, at first somewhat con- 
fusing, the etiological importance of the sexual trauma in child- 
hood declines, as it seems now quite irrelevant whether the 
trauma really took place or not. Experience teaches us that 
phantasy can be, so to speak, of the same traumatic value as real 
shock. In the face of such facts, every physician who treats 
hysteria will recall cases where the neurosis has indeed been 
provoked by violent traumatic impressions. This observation 
is only in apparent contradiction with our knowledge, already 
referred to, of the unreality of traumatic events in childhood. 
We know perfectly well that many persons suffer shocks in 
childhood or in adult life who nevertheless get no neurosis. 
Therefore the trauma has, ceteris paribus, no absolute etiological 
importance, but owes its efficacy to the nature of the soil upon 
which it falls. 


No neurosis will grow on an unprepared soil where no germ 
of neurosis is already existing; the trauma will pass by without 
leaving any permanent and effective mark. From this simple 
consideration it is pretty clear that, to make it really effective, the 
patient must meet the shock with a certain internal predisposi- 
tion. This internal predisposition is not to be understood as 
meaning that totally obscure hereditary predisposition of which 
we know so little, but as a psychological development which 
reaches its apogee and its manifestation at the moment, and even 
through, the trauma. 

I will show you first of all by a concrete case the nature of 
the trauma and its psychological predisposition. A young lady 
suffered from severe hysteria after a sudden fright. She had 
been attending a social gathering that evening and was on her way 
home at midnight, accompanied by several acquaintances, when 


a carriage came behind her at full speed. Everyone else drew 
aside, but she, paralyzed by fright, remained in the middle of the 
street and ran just in front of the horses. The coachman cracked 
his whip, cursed and swore without any result. She ran down 
the whole length of the street, which led to a bridge. There her 
strength failed her, and to escape the horses' feet she thought, in 
her extreme despair, of jumping into the water, but was pre- 
vented in time by passers-by. This very same lady happened to 
be present a little later on that bloody day, the 22d of January, 
in St. Petersburg, when a street was cleared by soldiers' volleys. 
Right and left of her she saw people dying or falling down badly 
wounded. Remaining perfectly calm and clear-minded, she caught 
sight of a gate that gave her escape into another street. 

These terrible moments did not agitate her, either at the time, 
or later on. Whence it must follow that the intensity of the 
trauma is of small pathogenic importance: the special conditions 
form the essential factors. Here, then, we have the key by 
which we are able to unlock at least one of the anterooms to the 
understanding of predisposition. We must next ask what were 
the special circumstances in this carriage-scene. The terror and 
apprehension began as soon as the lady heard the horses' foot- 
steps. It seemed to her for a moment as if these betokened some 
terrible fate, portending her death or something dreadful. Then 
she lost consciousness. The real causation is somehow con- 
nected with the horses. The predisposition of the patient, who 
acts thus wildly at such a commonplace occurence, could perhaps 
be found in the fact that horses had a special significance for her. 
It might suffice, for instance, if she had been once concerned in 
some dangerous accident with horses. This assumption does hold 
good here. When she was seven years old, she was once out on a 
carriage-drive with the coachman; the horses shied and ap- 
proached the steep river-bank at full speed. The coachman 
jumped off his seat, and shouted to her to do the same, which she 
was barely able to do, as she was frightened to death. Still, she 
sprang down at the right moment, whilst the horses and carriage 
were dashed down below. 

It is unnecessary to prove that such an event must leave a 
lasting impression behind. But still it does not offer any ex- 
planation for the exaggerated reaction to an inadequate stimulus. 


Up till now we only know that this later symptom had its pro- 
logue in childhood, but the pathological side remains obscure. 
To solve this enigma we require other experiences. The amnesia 
which I will set forth fully later on shows clearly the dispropor- 
tion between the so-called shock and the part played by phantasy. 
In this case phantasy must predominate to an extraordinary 
extent to provoke such an effect. The shock in itself was too 
insignificant. We are at first inclined to explain this incident by 
the shock that took place in childhood, but it seems to me with 
little success. It is difficult to understand why the effect of this 
infantile trauma had remained latent so long, and why it only 
now came to the surface. The patient must surely have had 
opportunities enough during her lifetime of getting out of the 
way of a carriage going full speed. The reminiscence of the 
danger to her life seems to be quite insufficiently effective: the 
real danger in which she was at that one moment in St. Peters- 
burg did not produce the slightest trace of neurosis, despite her 
being predisposed by an impressive event in her childhood. The 
whole of this traumatic event still lacks explanation; from the 
point of view of the shock-theory we are hopelessly in the dark. 

You must excuse me if I return so persistently to the shock- 
theory. I consider this necessary, as now-a-days many people, 
even those who regard us seriously, still keep to this standpoint. 
Thus the opponents to psychoanalysis and those who never read 
psychoanalytic articles, or do so quite superficially, get the im- 
pression that in psychoanalysis the old shock-theory is still in 

The question arises: what are we to understand by this pre- 
disposition, through which an insignificant event produces such a 
pathological effect? This is the question of chief significance, 
and we shall find that the same question plays an important role 
in the theory of neurosis, for we have to understand why ap- 
parently irrelevant events of the past are still producing such 
effects that they are able to interfere in an impish and capricious 
way with the normal reactions of actual life. 


The early school of psychoanalysis, and its later disciples, did 
all they could to find the origin of later effects in the special kind 


of early traumatic events. Freud's research penetrated most 
deeply. He was the first, and it was he alone, who discovered 
that a certain sexual element was connected with the shock. It is 
just this sexual element which, speaking generally, we may con- 
sider as unconscious, and it is to this that the traumatic effect is 
generally due. The unconsciousness of sexuality in childhood 
seems to throw a light upon the problem of the persistent con- 
stellation of the primary traumatic event. The true emotional 
meaning of the accident was all along hidden from the patient, 
so that in consciousness this emotion was never brought into 
play, the emotion never wore itself out, it was never used up. 
We might perhaps explain the effect in the following way: this 
persistent constellation was a kind of " suggestion a echeance," 
for it is unconscious and the action occurs only at the stipulated 

It is hardly necessary to give detailed examples to prove that 
the true nature of sexual manifestations during infancy is not 
understood. Physicians know, for instance, how often a mani- 
fest masturbation persisting up to adult life, especially in women, 
is not understood as such. It is, therefore, easy to realize that 
to a child the true nature of certain actions would be far less 
conscious. And that is the reason why the real meaning of these 
events, even in adult life, is still hidden from our consciousness. 
In some cases, even, the traumatic events are themselves for- 
gotten, either because their sexual meaning is quite unknown to 
the patient, or because their sexual character is inacceptable, being 
too painful. It is what we call " repressed." 

As we have already mentioned, Freud's observation, that the 
admixture of a sexual element with the shock is essential for any 
pathological effect, leads on to the theory of the infantile sexual 

This hypothesis may be thus expressed : the pathogenic event 
is a sexual one. This conception forced its way with difficulty. 
The general opinion that children have no sexuality in early life 
made such an etiology inadmissible, and at first prevented its 


The change in the shock-theory already referred to, namely, 
that in general the shock is not even real, but is essentially a 


phantasy, did not make things better. On the contrary, still 
worse, since we are forced to the conclusion that we find in the 
infantile phantasy at least one positive sexual manifestation. It 
is no longer some brutal accidental impression from the outside, 
but a positive sexual manifestation created by the child itself, and 
this very often with unmistakable clearness. Even real trau- 
matic events of an outspoken sexual type do not always happen 
to a child quite without its cooperation, but are not infrequently 
apparently prepared and brought about by the child itself. 
Abraham stated this, proving his statement with evidence of the 
greatest interest, and this, in connection with many other experi- 
ences of the same kind, makes it very probable that even really 
sexual scenes are frequently called forth and supported by the 
peculiar psychological state of the child's mind. Perfectly inde- 
pendently from psychoanalytic investigation, medical criminology 
has discovered striking parallels to this psychoanalytic statement. 



The precocious manifestations of sexual phantasy as cause of 
the shock now seemed to be the source of neurosis. This, logic- 
ally, attributed to children a far more developed sexuality than 
had been hitherto admitted. Many cases of precocious sexuality 
had been recorded in literature long before the time of psycho- 
analysis. For instance, a girl of two years old with normal men- 
struation, or cases of boys of three and four and five years of 
age having normal erections, and so far ready for cohabitation. 
These were, however, curiosities. Great astonishment was 
caused when Freud began to attribute to the child, not only ordi- 
nary sexuality, but even polymorphic perverse sexuality; all this 
based upon the most exhaustive investigation. People inclined 
much too lightly to the superficial view, that all this was merely 
suggested to the patients, and was a highly disputable artificial 
product. Hence Freud's 4 "Three Contributions to the Sexual 
Theory " not only provoked opposition, but even violent indigna- 
tion. It is surely unnecessary to insist upon the fact that science 
is not furthered by indignation, and that arguments of moral 
resentment may perhaps please the moralist that is his busi- 
ness but not a scientific man, for whom truth must be the guide, 
and not moral indignation. If matters are really as Freud 
describes them, all indignation is absurd ; if they are not so, again 
indignation will avail nothing. The conclusion as to what is the 
truth can only be arrived at on the field of observation and re- 
search, and nowhere else. The opponents of psychoanalysis with 
certain honorable exceptions, display rather ludicrously a some- 
what pitifully inadequate realization of the situation. Although 
the psychoanalytic school could unfortunately learn nothing from 
their critics, as the criticism took no notice of its investigations, 
and although it could not get any useful hints, because the psycho- 

* No. 7 of this Monograph Series. 


analytic method of investigation was, and still is unknown to 
these critics, it remains a serious duty for our school to explain 
thoroughly the contrast between the existing conceptions. It is 
not our endeavor to put forward a paradoxical theory contra- 
dicting all existing theories, but rather to introduce a certain 
category of new observations into science. Therefore we regard 
it as a duty to do whatever we can to promote agreement. It is 
true, we must renounce all hope of obtaining the approval of 
those who blindly oppose us, but we do hope to come to an under- 
standing with scientific men. This will be my endeavor now in 
attempting to sketch the further intellectual development of the 
psychoanalytic conception, so far as the so-called sexual theory 
of the neuroses is concerned. 


As I said, the finding of precocious sexual phantasies, which 
seemed the source of the neurosis, forced Freud to the view of a 
highly developed sexuality in infancy. As you know, the reality 
of this observation has been contested by many, who maintain 
that crude error, that narrow-minded delusion, misled Freud and 
his whole school, alike in Europe and in America, so that the 
Freudians saw things that never existed. They regarded them 
as people in the grip of an intellectual epidemic. I have to admit 
that I possess no way of defending myself against criticism of 
this kind. The only thing I can do is to refer to my own work, 
asking thoughtful persons if they discover there any clear indica- 
tions of madness. Moreover, I must maintain that science has 
no right to start with the idea that certain facts do not exist. At 
the most one can say: "This seems very improbable we want 
still more proofs and more research." This is also our reply to 
the objection: "It is impossible to discover anything trustworthy 
by the psychoanalytic method, as this method is practically ab- 
surd." No one believed in Galileo's telescope, and Columbus dis- 
covered America on a false hypothesis. The psychoanalytic 
method may be full of errors, but this should not prevent its use. 
Many chronological and medical observations have been made 
with inadequate instruments. We must regard the objections to 
the method as pretexts until our opponents come to grip with the 


facts. It is there a decision must be reached not by wordy 

Our opponents also call hysteria a psychogenic disease. We 
believe that we have discovered the etiological determinants of 
this disease and we present, without fear, the results of our in- 
vestigation to open criticism. Whoever cannot accept our results 
should publish his own analyses of cases. So far as I know, that 
has never been done, at least not in European literature. Under 
these circumstances, critics have no right to deny our conclusions 
a priori. Our opponents have likewise cases of hysteria, and 
those cases are surely as psychogenic as our own. There is 
nothing to prevent their pointing out the psychological determi- 
nants. The method is not the real question. Our opponents 
content themselves with disputing and reviling our researches, 
but they do not point out any better way. 

Many other critics are more careful and more just, and do 
admit that we have made many valuable observations, and that 
the associations of ideas given by the psychoanalytic method will 
very probably stand, but they maintain that our point of view is 
wrong. The alleged sexual phantasies of childhood, with which 
we are here chiefly concerned, must not be taken, they say, as 
real sexual functions, being obviously something quite different, 
since at the approach of puberty the characteristic peculiarities of 
sexuality are acquired. 

This objection, being calmly and reasonably made, deserves 
to be taken seriously. Such objections must also have occurred 
to every one who has taken up analytic work, and there is reason 
enough for deep reflection. 


The first difficulty arises with the conception of sexuality. If 
we take sexuality as meaning the fully-developed function, we 
must confine this phenomenon to maturity, and then, of course, we 
have no right to speak of sexuality in childhood. If we so limit 
our conception, then we are confronted again with new and much 
greater difficulties. The question arises, how then must we de- 
nominate all those correlated biological phenomena pertaining to 
the sexual functions sensu strictiori, as, for instance, pregnancy, 


childbirth, natural selection, protection of the offspring, etc. It 
seems to me that all this belongs to the conception of sexuality 
as well, although a very distinguished colleague did once say, 
" Childbirth is not a sexual act." But if these things do pertain 
to this concept of sexuality, then there must also belong innumer- 
able psychological phenomena. For we know that an incredible 
number of the pure psychological functions are connected with 
this sphere. I shall only mention the extraordinary importance 
of phantasy in the preparation for the sexual function. Thus we 
arrive rather at a biological conception of sexuality, which in- 
cludes both a series of psychological phenomena as well as a 
series of physiological functions. If we might be allowed to 
make use of an old but practical classification, we might identify 
sexuality with the so-called instinct of the preservation of the 
species, as opposed in some way to the instinct of self-preservation. 
Looking at sexuality from this point of view, we shall not be 
astonished to find that the root of the instinct of race-preserva- 
tion, so extraordinarily important in nature, goes much deeper 
than the limited conception of sexuality would ever allow. Only 
the more or less grown-up cat actually catches mice, but the 
kitten plays at least as if it were catching mice. The young 
dog's playful indications of attempts at cohabitation begin long 
before puberty. We have a right to suppose that mankind is no 
exception to this rule, although we do not notice similar things on 
the surface in our well brought-up children. Investigation of the 
children of the lower classes proves that they are no exceptions 
to the biological rule. It is of course infinitely more probable 
that this most important instinct, that of the preservation of the 
race, is already nascent in the earliest childhood, than that it falls 
at one swoop from heaven, full-fledged, at the age of puberty. 
The sexual organs also develop long before the slightest sign of 
their future function can be noticed. Where the psychoanalytic 
school speaks of sexuality, this wider conception of its function 
must be linked to it, and we do not mean simply that physical 
sensation and function generally designated by the term sexual. 
It might be said that, in order to avoid any misunderstanding on 
this point, the term sexuality should not be given to these pre- 
paratory phenomena in childhood. This demand is surely not 
justified, since the anatomical nomenclature is taken from the 


fully-developed system, and special names are not generally given 
to more or less rudimentary formations. 

After all, the objections to the terminology do not spring so 
much from objective arguments, as from those tendencies which 
lie at the base of moral indignation. But then no objection can 
be made to the sex-terminology of Freud, as he rightly gives to 
the whole sexual development the general name of sexuality. 
But certain conclusions have been drawn which, so far as I can 
see, cannot be maintained. 


When we examine how far back in childhood the first traces 
of sexuality reach, we have to admit implicitly that sexuality 
already exists ab ovo, but only becomes manifest a long time after 
intrauterine life. Freud is inclined to see in the function of 
taking the mother's breast already a kind of sexuality. Freud 
was bitterly reproached for this view, but it must be admitted 
that it is very ingenious, if we follow his hypothesis, that the 
instinct of the preservation of the race has existed separately 
from the instinct of self-preservation ab ovo and has undergone 
a separate development. This way of thinking is not, however, 
a biological one. It is not possible to separate the two ways of 
manifestation of the hypothetical vital process, and to credit each 
with a different order of development. If we limit ourselves to 
judging by what we can actually observe, we must reckon with 
the fact that everywhere in nature we see that the vital processes 
in an individual consist for a considerable space of time in the 
functions of nutrition and growth only. We see this very clearly 
in many animals; for instance, in butterflies, which as cater- 
pillars pass an asexual existence of nutrition and growth. To 
this stage of life we may allot both the intrauterine life and the 
extrauterine time of suckling in man. This time is marked by 
the absence of all sexual function; hence to speak of manifest 
sexuality in the suckling would be a contradictio in adjecto. 

The most we can do is to ask if, among the life-functions of 
the suckling, there are any that have not the character of nutri- 
tion, or of growth, and hence could be termed sexual. Freud 
points out the unmistakable emotion and satisfaction of the child 
while suckling, and compares this process with that of the sexual 


act. This similarity leads him to assume the sexual quality in the 
act of suckling. This conclusion is only admissible if it can be 
proved that the tension of the need, and its gratification by a 
release, is a sexual process. That the act of suckling has this 
emotional mechanism proves, however, just the contrary. There- 
fore we can only say this emotional mechanism is found both in 
nutrition and in the sexual function. If Freud by analogy de- 
duces the sexual quality of sucking from this emotional mechan- 
ism, then his biological empiricism would also justify the termi- 
nology qualifying the sexual act as a function of nutrition. This 
is unjustifiably exceeding the bounds in either case. It is evident 
that the act of sucking cannot be qualified as sexual. 

We are aware, however, of functions in the suckling stage 
which have apparently nothing to do with the function of nutri- 
tion, such as sucking the finger, and its many variations. This 
is perhaps the place to discuss whether these things belong to the 
sexual sphere. These acts do not subserve nutrition, but produce 
pleasure. Of that there is no doubt, but nevertheless it is dis- 
putable whether this pleasure which comes by sucking should be 
called by analogy a sexual satisfaction. It might be called equally 
pleasure by nutrition. This latter qualification has even the 
further justification that the form and kind of pleasure belong 
entirely to the function of nutrition. The hand which is used for 
sucking finds in this way preparation for future use in feeding 
one's self. Under these circumstances nobody will be inclined 
by a petitio principii to characterize the first manifestation of 
human life as sexual. The statement which we make that the 
act of sucking is attended by a feeling of satisfaction leaves us in 
doubt whether the sucking does contain anything else but the 
character of nutrition. We notice that the so-called bad habits 
shown by a child as it grows up are closely linked with early 
infantile sucking, such for instance as putting the finger in the 
mouth, biting the nails, picking the nose, ears, etc. We see, too, 
how closely these habits are connected with later masturbation. 
By analogy, the conclusion that these infantile habits are the first 
step to onanism, or to actions similar to onanism, and are there- 
fore of a well-marked sexual character cannot be denied: it is 
perfectly justified. I have seen many cases in which a correlation 
existed between these childish habits and later masturbation. If 


this masturbation takes place in later childhood, before puberty, 
it is nothing but an infantile bad habit. From the fact of the 
correlation between masturbation and the other childish bad habits, 
we conclude that these habits have a sexual character, in so far as 
they are used to obtain physical satisfaction from the child's own 

"TThis new standpoint is comprehensible and perhaps necessary. 
It is only a few steps from this point of view to regarding the 
infant's act of sucking as of a sexual character. As you know, 
Freud took the few steps, but you have just heard me reject 
them. We have come to a difficulty which is very hard to solve. 
It would be relatively easy if we could accept two instincts side by 
side, each an entity in itself. Then the act of sucking the breast 
would be both an action of nutrition and a sexual act. This 
seems to be Freud's conception. We find in adults the two in- 
stincts separated, yet existing side by side, or rather we find that 
there are two manifestations, in hunger, and in the sexual instinct. 
But at the sucking age, we find only the function of nutrition, 
rewarded by both pleasure and satisfaction. Its sexual character 
can only be argued by a petitio principii, for the facts show that 
the act of sucking is the first to give pleasure, not the sexual 
function. Obtaining pleasure is by no means identical with sexu- 
ality. We deceive ourselves if we think that in the suckling both 
instincts exist side by side, for then we project into the psyche 
of the child the facts taken from the psychology of adults. The 
existence of the two instincts side by side does not occur in suck- 
ling, for one of these instincts has no existence as yet, or, if 
existing, is quite rudimentary. If we are to regard the striving 
for pleasure as something sexual, we might as well say paradox- 
ically that hunger is a sexual striving, for this instinct seeks 
pleasure by satisfaction. If this were true, we should have to 
give our opponents permission to apply the terminology of hunger 
to sexuality. It would facilitate matters, were it possible to 
maintain that both instincts existed side by side, but it contradicts 
the observed facts and would lead to untenable consequences. 

Before I try to resolve this opposition, I must first say some- 
thing more about Freud's sexual theory, and its transformations. 



We have already reached the conclusion, setting out from the 
idea of the shock being apparently due to sexual phantasies, that 
the child must have, in contradiction to the views hitherto prevail- 
ing, a nearly fully formed sexuality, and even a polymorphic per- 
verse sexuality. Its sexuality does not seem concentrated on the 
genital functions or on the other sex, but is occupied with its own 
body ; whence it is said to be auto-erotic. If its sexual instinct is 
directed to another person, no distinction, or but the very slightest, 
is made as to sex. It can, therefore, be very easily homo-sexual. 
In place of non-existing local sexual function there exists a series 
of so-called bad habits, which from this standpoint look like a 
series of perversities, since they have the closest analogy with the 
later perversities. In consequence of this way of regarding the 
subject, sexuality, whose nature is ordinarily regarded as a unit, 
becomes decomposed into a multiplicity of isolated striving forces. 
Freud then arrived at the conception of the so-called " erogenous 
zones," by which he understood mouth, skin, anus, etc. (It is, 
of course, a universal tacit presumption that sexuality has its 
origin in the sexual organs.) 

The term "erogenous zone" reminds us of " spasmo-genic 
zones," and the underlying image is at all events the same; just as 
the spasmo-genic zone is the place whence the spasm arises, so 
the erogenous zone is the place whence arises an affluent to sexu- 
ality. Based upon the model of the genital organs as the anatom- 
ical origin of sexuality, the erogenous zones must be conceived as 
being so many genitals out of which the streams of sexuality flow 
together. This is the condition of the polymorphic perverse sex- 
uality of childhood. The expression " perverse " seems to be 
justified by the close analogy with the later perversities which 
present, so to speak, but a new edition of certain early infantile 
perverse habits. They are very often connected with one or 
other of the different erogenous zones, and are the cause of those 
exchanges in sex, which are so characteristic for childhood. 

According to this view, the later normal and monomorphic 
sexuality is built up out of several components. The first divi- 
sion is into homo- and hetero-sexual components, to which is 
linked an auto-erotic component, as also there are components of 


the different erogenous zones. This conception can be compared 
with the position of physics before Robert Mayer, when only 
isolated forces, having elementary qualities, were recognized, 
whose interchanges were little understood. The law of the con- 
servation of energy brought order into the inter-relationship of 
the forces, at the same time abolishing the conception of those 
forces as absolute elements, but regarding them as interchange- 
able manifestations of one and the same energy. 


Conceptions of great importance do not arise only in one brain, 
but are floating in the air and dip here and there, appearing even 
under other forms, and in other regions, where it is often very 
difficult to recognize the common fundamental idea. Thus it 
happened with the splitting up of sexuality into the polymorphic 
perverse sexuality of childhood. 

Experience forces us to accept a constant exchange of isolated 
components as we notice more and more that, for instance, per- 
versities exist at the expense of normal sexuality, or that the 
increase of certain kinds of sex-manifestations causes correspond- 
ing deficiencies of another kind. To make the matter clearer, let 
me give you an instance : A young man had a homo-sexual phase 
lasting for some years, during which time women had no interest 
for him. This abnormal condition changed gradually toward his 
twentieth year and his erotic interest became more and more 
normal. He began to take great interest in girls, and soon the last 
traces of his homo-sexuality were conquered. This condition 
lasted several years, and he had some successful love-affairs. 
Then he wished to get married ; he had here to suffer a great dis- 
appointment, as the girl to whom he proposed refused him. 
During the ensuing phase he absolutely abandoned the idea of 
marriage. After that he experienced a dislike of all women, and 
one day he discovered that he was again perfectly homo-sexual, 
that is, young men had an unusually irritating influence upon him. 
To regard sexuality as composed of a fixed hetero-sexual com- 
ponent, and a like homo-sexual element, will never suffice to ex- 
plain this case, for the conception of the existence of fixed com- 
ponents excludes any kind of transformation. 


To understand the case, we have to admit a great mobility of 
/the sexual components, which even goes so far that one of the 
components can practically disappear completely, whilst the other 
comes to the front. If only substitution took place, if for instance 
the homo-sexual component entered the unconscious, leaving the 
field of consciousness to the hetero-sexual component, modern 
scientific knowledge would lead us to conclude that equivalent 
effects arose from the unconscious sphere. Those effects would 
have to be conceived as resistances against the activity of the 
hetero-sexual component, as a repugnance towards women. 

Experience tells us nothing about this. There have been some 
small traces of influences of this kind, but of such slight intensity 
that they cannot be compared with the intensity of the former 
homo-sexual component. On the conception that has been out- 
lined, it is also incomprehensible how this homo-sexual com- 
ponent, regarded as so firmly fixed, can ever disappear without 
leaving active traces. To explain things, the process of develop- 
ment is called in, forgetting that this is only a word and explains 
nothing. You see, therefore, the urgent necessity of an adequate 
explanation of such a change of scene. For this we must have 
a dynamic hypothesis. Such commutations are only conceivable 
as dynamic or energic processes. I cannot conceive how mani- 
festations of functions can disappear if I do not accept a change 
in the relation of one force to another. Freud's theory did have 
regard to this necessity in the conception of components. The 
presumption of isolated functions existing side by side began to 
be somewhat weakened, more in practice than theoretically. It 
was replaced by an energic conception. The term chosen for this 
conception is " libido." 


Freud had already introduced the idea of libido in his 5 " Three 
Contributions to the Sexual Theory " in the following words : 

" In biology, the fact that both mankind and animals have a 
sexual want is expressed by the conception of the sexual desire. * 
This is done by analogy with the want of nourishment, so-called 
hunger. Popular speech has no corresponding characterization 
for the word " hunger," and so science uses the word " libido." 

In Freud's definition, the term " libido " appears as exclusively 
a sexual desire. " Libido " as a medical term is certainly used 
for sexual desire, and especially for sexual lust. But the classical 
definition of this word as found in Cicero, Sallust, and others, 
was not so exclusive. The word is there used in a more general 
sense for every passionate desire. I only just mention this defini- 
tion here, as further on it plays an important part in our con- 
siderations, and as it is important to know that the term " libido " 
has really a much wider meaning than is associated with it 
through medical language. 

The idea of libido (while maintaining its sexual meaning in 
the author's sense as long as possible) offers us the dynamic value 
which we are seeking in order to explain the shifting of the 
psychological scenery. With this conception it is much simpler 
to formulate the phenomena in question, instead of by the incom- 
prehensible substitution of the homo- by the hetero-sexual com- 
ponent We may say now that the libido has gradually withdrawn 
from its homo-sexual manifestation and is transferred in the same 
measure into a hetero-sexual manifestation. Thus the homo- 
sexual component practically disappears. It remains only an 
empty possibility, signifying nothing in itself. Its very existence, 
therefore, is rightly denied by the laity, just as we doubt the 
possibility that any man selected at random would turn out to be 
a murderer. By the use of this conception of libido many rela- 

5 No. 7 of this Monograph Series. 



tions between the isolated sexual functions are now easily 

The early idea of the multiplicity of sexual components must 
be given up: it savors too much of the ancient philosophical 
notion of the faculties of the mind. Its place is taken by libido 
which is capable of manifold applications. The earlier com- 
ponents only represent possibilities of activities. With this 
conception of libido, the original idea of a divided sexuality with 
different roots is replaced by a dynamic unity, without which the 
formerly important components remain but empty possibilities of 
activities. This development in our conception is of great im- 
portance. We have here the same process which Robert Mayer 
. introduced into dynamics. Just as the conception of the con- 
servation of energy removed their character as elements from 
the forces, imparting to them the character of a manifestation 
of energy, so the libido theory similarly removes from the sexual 
components the idea of the mental " faculties " as elements 
(" Seelen Vermogen"), and ascribes to them merely phenomenal 
value. This conception represents the impression of reality far 
more than the theory of components. With a libido-theory we 
can easily explain the case of the young man. The disappoint- 
ment he met with, just at the time he had definitely decided on 
a hetero-sexual life, drove his libido again from the hetero-sexual 
manifestation into a homo-sexual form, thus calling forth his 
entire homo-sexuality. 


I must point out here that the analogy with the law of the 
conservation of energy is very close. In both cases the question 
arises when an effect of energy disappears, where is this energy 
meanwhile, and where will it reemerge? Applying this point of 
view as a heuristic principle to the psychology of human conduct, 
we shall make some astonishing discoveries. Then we shall see 
how the most heterogeneous phases of individual psychological 
development are connected in an energic relationship. Every 
time we see a person who is splenetic or has a morbid conviction, 
or some exaggerated mental attitude, we know here is too much 
libido, and the excess must have been taken away from some- 


where else where there is too little. From this standpoint, psycho- 
analysis is that method which discovers those places or functions 
where there is too little or too much libido, and restores the just 
proportions. Thus the symptoms of a neurosis must be con- 
sidered as exaggerated and correspondingly disturbed functional 
manifestations overflowing with libido. The energy which has 
been used for this purpose has been taken away from somewhere 
else, and it is the task of the psychoanalyst, to restore it whence 
it was taken, or to bestow it where it was never before given. 
Those complexes of symptoms which are mainly characterized 
by lack of libido, for instance, the so-called apathetic conditions, 
force us to reverse the question. Here we have to ask, where did 
the libido go? The patient gives us the impression of having no 
libido, and there are occasionally physicians who believe exactly 
what the patients tell them. Such physicians have a primitive 
way of thinking, like the savage who believes, when he sees an 
eclipse of the sun, that the sun has been swallowed up and put 
to death. But the sun is only hidden, and so it is with these 
patients. Although the libido is there, it is not get-at-able, and 
is inaccessible to the patient himself. Superficially, we have here 
a lack of libido. It is the task of psychoanalysis to search for 
that hidden place where the libido dwells, and where it is as a 
rule inaccessible to the patient. The hidden place is the non- 
conscious, which may also be called the unconscious, without 
ascribing to it any mysterious significance. 


Psychoanalytic experience has taught us that there are non- 
conscious systems which, by analogy with conscious phantasies, 
can be described as phantasy-systems of the unconscious. In 
cases of neurotic apathy these phantasy systems of the uncon- 
scious are the objects of the libido. We know well that, when 
we speak of unconscious phantasy systems, we only speak figura- 
tively. We do not mean more by this than that we accept as an 
indispensable postulate the conception of psychic entities exist- 
ing outside consciousness. Experience teaches us, we might say 
daily, that there are unconscious psychic processes which influence 
the disposition of the libido in a perceptible way. Those cases, 



known to every psychiatrist in which complicated symptoms of 
delusions emerge with relative great suddenness, show clearly 
that there must be unconscious psychic development and prepara- 
tion, for we cannot regard them as having been just suddenly 
formed when they entered consciousness. 


I feel myself justified in making this digression concerning 
the unconscious. I have done it to point out that, with regard to 
shifting of the manifestations of the libido, we have to deal not 
only with the conscious, but also with another factor, the uncon- 
scious, whither the libido sometimes disappears. We have not 
yet followed up the discussion of the further consequences which 
result from the adoption of the libido-theory. 

Freud has taught us, and we see it in the daily practice of 
psychoanalysis, that in earlier childhood, instead of the normal 
later sexuality, we find many tendencies which in later life are 
called perversions. We have to admit that Freud has the right 
to give to these tendencies a sexual terminology. Through the 
introduction of the conception of the libido, we see that in adults 
those elementary components which seemed to be the origin and 
the source of normal sexuality, lose their importance, and are 
reduced to mere potentialities. The effective power, their life 
force, is to be found in the libido. Without libido these com- 
ponents mean nothing. We saw that Freud gives to the con- 
ception of libido an undoubted sexual definition, somewhat in the 
sense of sexual desire. The general view is, that libido in this 
sense only comes into being at the age of puberty. How are we 
then to explain the fact that in Freud's view a child has a 
polymorphic-perverse sexuality, and that therefore, in children, 
the libido brings into action not only one, but several possibili- 
ties? If the libido, in Freud's sense, begins its existence at 
puberty, it could not be held accountable for earlier infantile 
perversions. In that case, we should have to regard these infantile 
perversions as " faculties of the mind," in the sense of the 
theory of components. Apart from the hopeless theoretical con- 
fusion which would thus arise, we must not multiply explanatory 
principles in accordance with the philosophical axiom : " principia 
praeter necessitatem non sunt multiplicanda." 


There is no other way but to agree that before and after 
puberty it is the same libido. Hence, the perversities of child- 
hood have arisen exactly in the same way as those of adults. 
Common sense will object to this, as obviously the sexual needs 
of children cannot possibly be the same as those of adults. We 
might admit, with Freud, that the libido before and after puberty 
is -the same, but is different in its intensity. Instead of the 
intense post-pubertal sexual desire, there would be first a slight 
sexual desire in childhood, with diminishing intensity until, as 
we reach back to the first year, it is but a trace. We might admit 
that we are biologically in agreement with this formulation. It 
would then have to be also agreed that everything that falls into 
the region of this enlarged conception of sexuality is already pre- 
existing but in miniature ; for instance, all those emotional mani- 
festations of psycho-sexuality: desire for affection, jealousy, and 
many others, and by no means least, the neuroses of childhood. 

It must, however, be admitted that these emotional manifesta- 
tions of childhood by no means make the impression of being in 
miniature; their intensity can rival that of an affect among 
adults. Nor must it be forgotten that experience has shown that 
perverse manifestations of sexuality in childhood are often more 
glaring, and indeed seem to have a greater development, than in 
adults. If an adult under similar conditions had this apparently 
excessive form of sexuality, which is practically normal in 
children, we could rightly expect a total absence of normal sexu- 
ality, and of many other important biological adaptations. An 
adult is rightly called perverse when his libido is not used for 
normal functions, and the same could be said of a child: it is 
polymorphous perverse since it does not know normal sexual 

These considerations suggest the idea that perhaps the amount 
of libido is always the same, and that no increase first occur at 
puberty. This somewhat audacious conception accords with the y' 
example of the law of the conservation of energy, according to 
which the quantity of energy remains always the same. It is 
possible that the summit of maturity is reached when the infantile * 
diffuse applications of libido discharge themselves into the one i^ 
channel of definite sexuality, and thus lose themselves therein. 
For the moment we must content ourselves with these sug- 


gestions, for we must next pay attention to one point of criticism 
concerning the quality of the infantile libido. 

Many critics do not admit that the infantile libido is simply 
less intense or is essentially of the same kind as the libido of 
adults. The emotions among adults are correlated with the 
genital functions. This is not the case in children, or it is only 
so in miniature, or exceptionally, and this gives rise to an im- 
portant distinction, which must not be undervalued. 

I believe such an objection is justified. There is really a con- 
siderable difference between immature and fully developed func- 
tions, as there is, a difference between play and reality, between 
shooting with blank and with loaded cartridges. That the 
childish libido has the harmlessness demanded by common sense 
cannot be contested. But of course none can deny that blank 
shooting is shooting. We must get accustomed to the idea that 
sexuality really exists, even before puberty, right back in early 
childhood, and that we have no right to pretend that manifesta- 
tions of this immature sexuality are not sexual. This does not 
indeed refute the objection, which, while recognizing the existence 
of infantile sexuality in the form already described, yet denies 
Freud's claim to regard as sexual early infantile manifestations 
such as sucking. We have mentioned already the motives which 
induced Freud to enlarge the sexual terminology in such a way. 
We mentioned, too, how this very act of sucking, for instance, 
could be conceived from the standpoint of pleasure in the function 
of nutrition, and that, on biological grounds, there was more 
justification for this derivation than for Freud's view. It might 
be objected that these and similar activities of the oral zones are 
found in later life in an undoubted sexual use. This only means 
that these activities can in later life be used for sexual purposes, 
but that does not tell us anything concerning the primitive sexual 
nature of these forms. I must, therefore, admit that I find no 
ground for regarding the activities of the suckling, which provoke 
pleasure and satisfaction, from the standpoint of sexuality. In- 
deed there are many objections against this conception. It seems 
to me, in so far as I am capable of judging these difficult prob- 
lems, that from the standpoint of sexuality it is necessary to 
divide human life into three phases. 



The first phase embraces the first years of life. I call this 
part of life the pre-sexual stage. These years correspond to the 
caterpillar-stage'of butterflies, and are characterized almost ex- 
clusively by the functions of nutrition and growth. 

The second phase embraces the later years of childhood up to 
puberty, and might be called the p_re-pubertal stage. 

The third phase is that of riper years, proceeding only from 
puberty onwards, and could be called the time of maturity. 

You cannot have failed to notice that we become conscious of 
the greatest difficulty when we arrive at the question at what age 
we must put the limit of the pre-sexual stage. I am ready to 
confess my uncertainty with regard to this problem. If I survey 
the psychoanalytical experiences with children, as yet insuffi- 
ciently numerous, at the same time keeping in mind the observa- 
tions made by Freud, it seems to me that the limit of this phase 
lies between the third and fifth years. This, of course, with due 
consideration for the greatest individual diversities. From vari- 
ous aspects this is an important age. The child has emancipated 
itself already from the helplessness of the baby, and a series of 
important psychological functions have acquired a firm hold. 
From this period on, the obscurity of the early infantile 
" amnesia," or the discontinuity of the early infantile conscious- 
ness, begins to clear up through the sporadic continuity of 
memory. It seems as if, at this age, a considerable step had 
been made towards emancipation and the formation of a new and 
independent personality. As far as we know, the first signs of 
interest and activity which may fairly be called sexual fall into 
this period, although these sexual indications have still the in- 
fantile characteristics of harmlessness and naivete. I think I 
have sufficiently demonstrated why a sexual terminology cannot 
be given to the pre-sexual stage, and so we may now consider the 
other problems from the standpoint we have just reached. You 
will remember that we dropped the problem of the libido in child- 
hood, because it seemed impossible to arrive at any clearness in 
that way. But now we are obliged to take up the question again, 
if only to see whether the energic conception harmonizes with the 
principles just advanced. We saw, following Freud's conception, 


that the altered manifestations of the infantile sexuality, if com- 
pared with those of maturity, are to be explained by the diminu- 
tion of sexuality in childhood. 


The intensity of the libido is said to be diminished relatively to 
the early age. But we advanced just now several considerations 
to show why it seems doubtful if we can regard the vital func- 
tions of a child, sexuality excepted, as of less intensity than those 
of adults. We can really say that, sexuality excepted, the emo- 
tional phenomena, and, if nervous symptoms are present, then 
these likewise are quite as intense as those of adults. On the 
energic conception of the libido all these things are but manifesta- 
tions of the libido. But it becomes rather difficult to conceive 
that the intensity of the libido can ever constitute the difference 
between a mature and an immature sexuality. The explanation 
of this difference seems rather to postulate a change in the local- 
ization of the libido (if the expression be allowed). In con- 
tradistinction to the medical definition the libido in children is 
occupied far more with certain side-functions of a mental and 
physiological nature than with local sexual functions. One is 
here already tempted to remove from the term libido the predi- 
cate " sexualis," and thus to have done with the sexual definition 
of the term given in Freud's "Three Contributions." This 
necessity becomes imperative, when we put it in the form of a 
question: The child in the first years of its life is intensely 
living suffering and enjoying the question is, whether his 
striving, his suffering, his enjoyment are by reason of his libido 
sexualis? Freud has pronounced himself in favor of this sup- 
position. There is no need to repeat the reasons through which 
I am compelled to accept the pre-sexual stage. The larva stage 
possesses a libido of nutrition, if I may so express it, but not yet 
the libido sexualis. It is thus we must put it, if we wish to keep 
the energic conception which the libido theory offers us. I think 
there is nothing for it but to abandon the sexual definition of 
libido, or we shall lose what there is valuable in the libido theory, 
that is, the energic conception. For a long time past the desire 
to extend the meaning of libido, and to remove it from its narrow 


and sexual limitations, has forced itself upon Freud's school. 
One was never weary of insisting that sexuality in the psycho- 
logical sense was not to be taken too literally, but in a broader 
connotation; but exactly how, that remained obscure, and thus 
too, sincere criticism remained unsatisfied. 

I do not think I am going astray if I see the real value of the 
libido theory in the energic conception, and not in its sexual 
definition. Thanks to the former, we are in possession of a most 
valuable heuristic principle. We owe to the energic conception 
the possibility of dynamic ideas and relationships, which are of 
inestimable value for us in the chaos of the psychic world. The 
Freudians would be wrong not to listen to the voice of criticism, 
which reproaches our conception of libido with mysticism and 
inaccessibility. We deceived ourselves in believing that we could 
ever make the libido sexualis the bearer of the energic conception 
of the psychical life, and if many of Freud's school still believe 
they possess a well-defined and almost complete conception of 
libido, they are not aware that this conception has been put to use 
far beyond the bounds of its sexual definition. The critics are 
right when they object to our theory of libido as explaining things 
which cannot belong to its sphere. It must be admitted that 
Freud's school makes use of a conception of libido which passes 
beyond the bounds of its primary definition. Indeed, this must 
produce the impression that one is working with a mystical 


I have sought to show these infringements in a special work, 
"Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido," and at the same time 
the necessity for creating a new conception of libido, which shall 
be in harmony with the energic conception. Freud himself was 
forced to a discussion of his original conception of libido when 
he tried to apply its energic point of view to a well-known case 
of dementia praecox the so-called Schreber case. In this case, 
we had to deal, among other things, with that well-known prob- 
lem in the psychology of dementia prsecox, the loss of adapta- 
toin to reality, the peculiar phenomenon consisting in a special 
tendency of these patients to construct an inner world of phan- 
tasy of their own, surrendering for this purpose their adapta- 


tion to reality. As a part of the phenomenon, the lack of socia- 
bility or emotional rapport will be well known to you all, this 
representing a striking disturbance of the function of reality. 
Through considerable psychological study of these patients we 
discovered, that this lack of adaptation to reality is compensated 
by a progressive increase in the creation of phantasies. This 
goes so far that the dream-world is for the patient more real than 
external reality. The patient Schreber, described by Freud, 
found for this phenomenon an excellent figurative description in 
his delusion of the " end of the world." His loss of reality is thus 
very concretely represented. The dynamic conception of this 
phenomenon is very clear. We say that the libido withdrew 
itself more and more from the external world, consequently 
entered the inner world, the world of phantasies, and had there 
to create, as a compensation for the lost external world, a so- 
called equivalent of reality. This compensation is built up piece 
by piece, and it is most interesting to observe the psychological 
materials of which this inner world is composed. This way of 
conceiving the transposition and displacement of the libido has 
been made by the every-day use of the term, its original pure 
sexual meaning being very rarely recalled. In general, the word 
" libido " is used practically in so harmless a sense that Claparede, 
in a conversation, once remarked that we could as well use the 
word "interest." 

The manner in which this expression is generally used has 
given rise to a way of using the term that made it possible to 
explain Schreber's "end of the world" by withdrawal of the 
libido. On this occasion, Freud recalled his original sexual 
definition of the libido, and tried to arrive at an understanding 
with the change which in the meantime had taken place. In his 
article on Schreber, he discusses the question, whether what the 
psychoanalytic school calls libido, and conceives of as "interest 
from erotic sources" coincides with interest generally speaking. 
You see that, putting the problem in this way, Freud asks the 
question which Claparede practically answered. Freud discusses 
the question here, whether the loss of reality noticed in dementia 
praecox, to which I drew attention in my book, 6 " The Psychology 
of Dementia Praecox," is due entirely to the withdrawal of erotic 

6 No. 3 of this Monograph Series. 


interest, or if this coincides with the so-called objective interest 
in general. We can hardly agree that the normal " fonction du 
reel" [Janet] is only maintained through erotic interest. The 
fact is that, in many cases, reality vanishes altogether, and not a 
trace of psychological adaptation can be found in these cases. 
Reality is repressed, and replaced by phantasies created through 
complexes. We are forced to say that not only the erotic 
interests, but interests in general that is, the whole adaptation 
to reality are lost. I formerly tried, in my " Psychology of 
Dementia Praecox," to get out of this difficulty by using the ex- 
pression " psychic energy," because I could not base the theory of 
dementia praecox on the theory of transference of the libido in its 
sexual definition. My experience at that time chiefly psychi- 
atric did not permit me to understand this theory. Only later 
did I learn to understand the correctness of the theory as regards 
the neuroses by increased experience in hysteria and the com- 
pulsion neurosis. As a matter of fact, an abnormal displace- 
ment of libido, quite definitely sexual, does play a great part in 
the neuroses. But although very characteristic repressions of 
sexual libido do take place in certain neuroses, that loss of reality, 
so typical for dementia praecox, never occurs. In dementia 
praecox, so extreme is the loss of the function of reality that this 
loss must also entail a loss of motive power, to which any sexual 
nature must be absolutely denied, for it will not seem to anyone 
that reality is a sexual function. If this were so, the withdrawal 
of erotic interests in the neuroses would lead to a loss of reality 
a loss of reality indeed that could be compared with that in 
dementia praecox. But, as I said before, this is not the case. 
These facts have made it impossible for me to transfer Freud's 
libido theory to dementia praecox. Hence, my view is, that the 
attempt made by Abraham, in his article "The Psycho-Sexual 
Differences Between Hysteria and Dementia Praecox," is from 
the standpoint of Freud's conception of libido theoretically un- 
tenable. Abraham's belief, that the paranoidal system, or the 
symptomatology of dementia praecox, arises by the libido with- 
drawing from the external world, cannot be justified if we take 
" libido " according to Freud's definition. For, as Freud has 
clearly shown, a mere introversion or regression of the libido 
leads always to a neurosis, and not to dementia praecox. It is 


impossible to transfer the libido theory, with its sexual definition, 
directly to dementia praecox, as this disease shows a loss of reality 
not to be explained by the deficiency in erotic interests. 

It gives me particular satisfaction that our master also, when 
he placed his hand on the fragile material of paranoiac psychol- 
ogy, felt himself compelled to doubt the applicability of his con- 
ception of libido which had prevailed hitherto. My position of 
reserve towards the ubiquity of sexuality which I allowed myself 
to adopt in the preface to my " Psychology of Dementia Praecox " 
although with a complete recognition of the psychological 
mechanism was dictated by the conception of the libido theory 
of that time. Its sexual definition did not enable me to explain 
those disturbances of functions which affect the indefinite sphere 
of the instinct of hunger, just as much as they do those of 
sexuality. For a long time the libido theory seemed to me inap- 
plicable to dementia praecox. 


With greater experience in my analytical work, I noticed that 
a slow change of my conception of libido had taken place. A 
genetic conception of libido gradually took the place of the 
descriptive definition of libido contained in Freud's "Three 
Contributions." Thus it became possible for me to replace, by 
the expression " psychic energy," the term libido. The next step 
was that I asked myself if now-a-days the function of reality 
consists only to a very small extent of sexual libido, and to a 
very large extent of other impulses. It is still a very important 
question, considered from the phylogenetic standpoint, whether 
the function of reality is not, at least very largely, of sexual 
origin. It is impossible to answer this question directly, in so 
far as the function of reality is concerned. We shall try to come 
to some understanding by a side-path. 

A superficial glance at the history of evolution suffices to teach 
us that innumerable complicated functions, whose sexual char- 
acter must be denied, are originally nothing but derivations from 
the instinct of propagation. As is well known, there has been 
an important displacement in the fundamentals of propagation 
during the ascent through the animal scale. The offspring has 


been reduced in number, and the primitive uncertainty of im- 
pregnation has been replaced by a quite assured impregnation, 
and a more effective protection of offspring. The energy required 
for the production of eggs and sperma has been transferred into 
the creation of mechanisms of attraction, and mechanisms for the 
protection of offspring. Here we find the first instincts of art in 
animals, used for the instinct of propagation, and limited to the 
rutting season. The original sexual character of these biological 
institutions became lost with their organic fixation, and their 
functional independence. None the less, there can be no doubt 
as to their sexual origin, as, for instance, there is no doubt about 
the original relation between sexuality and music, but it would 
be a generalization as futile, as unesthetic, to include music under 
the category of sexuality. Such a terminology would lead to the 
consideration of the Cathedral of Cologne under mineralogy, 
because it has been built with stones. Those quite ignorant of 
the problems of evolution are much astonished to find how few 
things there are in human life which cannot finally be reduced to 
the instinct of propagation. It embraces nearly everything, I 
think, that is dear and precious to us. 

We have hitherto spoken of the libido as of the instinct of 
reproduction, or the instinct of the preservation of the species, 
and limited our conception to that libido which is opposed to 
hunger, just as the instinct of the preservation of the species is 
opposed to that of self-preservation. Of course in nature this 
artificial distinction does not exist. Here we find only a con- 
tinuous instinct of life, a will to live, which tries to obtain the 
propagation of the whole race by the preservation of the indi- 
vidual. To this extent this conception coincides with that of 
Schopenhauer's "will," as objectively we can only conceive a 
movement as a manifestation of an internal desire. As we have 
already boldly concluded that the libido, which originally sub- 
served the creation of eggs and seed, is now firmly organized in 
the function of nest-building, and can no longer be employed 
otherwise, we are similarly obliged to include in this conception 
every desire, hunger no less. We have no warrant whatever for 
differentiating essentially the desire to build nests from the 
desire to eat. 

I think you will already understand the position we have 


reached with these considerations. We are about to follow up 
the energic conception by putting the energic mode of action in 
place of the purely formal functioning. Just as reciprocal actions, 
well known in the old natural science, have been replaced by the 
law of the conservation of energy, so here too, in the sphere of 
psychology, we seek to replace the reciprocal activities of co- 
ordinated psychical faculties by energy, conceived as one and 
homogeneous. Thus we must bow to the criticism which re- 
proaches the psychoanalytic school for working with a mystical 
conception of libido. I have to dispel this illusion that the whole 
psychoanalytic school possesses a clearly conceived and obvious 
conception of libido. I maintain that the conception of libido 
with which we are working is not only not concrete or known, 
but is an unknown X, a conceptual image, a token, and no 
more real than the energy in the conceptual world of the physicist. 
In this wise only can we escape those arbitrary transgressions of 
the proper boundaries, which are always made when we want to 
reduce coordinated forces to one another. Certain analogies of 
the action of heat with the action of light are not to be explained 
by saying that this tertium comparationis proves that the undula- 
tions of heat are the same as the undulations of light; the con- 
ceptual image of energy is the real point of comparison. If we 
regard libido in this way we endeavor to simulate the progress 
which has already been made in physics. The economy of 
thought which physics has already obtained we strive after in 
our libido theory. We conceive libido now simply as energy, so 
that we are in the position to figure the manifold processes as 
forms of energy. Thus, we replace the old reciprocal action by 
relations of absolute equivalence. We shall not be astonished 
if we are met with the cry of vitalism. But we are as far 
removed from any belief in a specific vital power, as from any 
other metaphysical assertion. We term libido that energy which 
manifests itself by vital processes, which is subjectively per- 
ceived as aspiration, longing and striving. We see in the diver- 
sity of natural phenomena the desire, the libido, in the most 
diverse applications and forms. In early childhood we find 
libido at first wholly in the form of the instinct of nutrition, pro- 
viding for the development of the body. As the body develops, 
there open up, successively, new spheres of influence for the 


libido. The last, and, from its functional significance, most over- 
powering sphere of influence, is sexuality, which at first seems 
very closely connected with the function of nutrition. With that 
you may compare the well-known influence on propagation of 
the conditions of nutrition in the lower animals and plants. 

In the sphere of sexuality, libido does take that form whose 
enormous importance justifies us in the choice of the term 
" libido," in its strict sexual sense. Here for the first time libido 
appears in the form of an undifferentiated sexual primitive 
power, as an energy of growth, clearly forcing the individual 
towards division, budding, etc. The clearest separation of the 
two forms of libido is found among those animals where the 
stage of nutrition is separated by the pupa stage from the stage 
of sexuality. Out of this sexual primitive power, through which 
one small creature produces millions of eggs and sperm, deriva- 
tives have been developed by extraordinary restriction of fecun- 
dity, the functions of which are maintained by a special dif- 
ferentiated libido. This differentiated libido is henceforth 
desexualized, for it is dissociated from its original function of 
producing eggs and sperm, nor is there any possibility of restor- 
ing it to its original function. The whole process of development 
consists in the increasing absorption of the libido which only 
created, originally, products of generation in the secondary func- 
tions of attraction, and protection of offspring. This develop- 
ment presupposes a quite different and much more complicated 
relationship to reality, a true function of reality which is func- 
tionally inseparable from the needs of reproduction. Thus the 
altered mode of reproduction involves a correspondingly in- 
creased adaptation to reality. This, of course, does not imply 
that the function of reality is exclusively due to differentiation 
in reproduction. I am aware that a large part of the instinct of 
nutrition is connected with it. Thus we arrive at an insight into 
certain primitive conditions of the function of reality. It would 
be fundamentally wrong to pretend that the compelling source 
is still a sexual one. It was largely a sexual one originally. The 
process of absorption of the primitive libido into secondary func- 
tions certainly always took place in the form of so-called 
affluxes of sexual libido ("libidinose Zuschiisse"). 

That is to say, sexuality was diverted from its original desti- 


nation, a definite quantity was used up in the mechanisms of 
mutual attraction and of protection of offspring. This trans- 
ference of sexual libido from the sexual sphere to associated func- 
tions is still taking place (e. g., modern neo-Malthusianism is the 
artificial continuation of the natural tendency). We call this 
process sublimation, when this operation occurs without injury to 
the adaptation of the individual; we call it repression when the 
attempt fails. From the descriptive standpoint psychoanalysis 
accepts the multiplicity of instincts, and, among them, the instinct 
of sexuality as a special phenomenon, moreover, it recognizes 
certain affluxes of the libido to asexual instincts. 

From the genetic standpoint it is otherwise. It regards the 
multiplicity of instincts as issuing out of relative unity, the primi- 
tive libido. It recognizes that definite quantities of the primitive 
libido are split off, associated with the recently created functions, 
and finally merged in them. From this standpoint we can say, 
without any difficulty, that patients with dementia praecox with- 
draw their " libido " from the external world and in consequence 
suffer a loss of reality, which is compensated by an increase of the 
phantasy-building activities. 

We must now fit the new conception of libido into that theory 
of sexuality in childhood which is of such great importance in the 
theory of neurosis. Generally speaking, we first find the libido as 
the energy of vital activities acting in the zone of the function of 
nutrition. Through the rhythmical movements in the act of 
sucking, nourishment is taken with all signs of satisfaction. As 
the individual grows and his organs develop, the libido creates 
new ways of desire, new activities and satisfactions. Now the 
original model rhythmic activity, creating pleasure and satis- 
faction must be transferred to other functions which have their 
final goal in sexuality. 

This transition is not made suddenly at puberty, but it takes 
place gradually throughout the course of the greater part of child- 
hood. The libido can only very slowly and with great difficulty 
detach itself from the characteristics of the function of nutrition, 
in order to pass over into the characteristics of sexual function. 
As far as I can see, we have two epochs during this transition, 
the epoch of sucking and the epoch of the displaced rhythmic 
activity. Considered solely from the point of view of its mode 


of action, sucking clings entirely to the domain of the function 
of nutrition, but it presents also a far wider aspect, it is no mere 
function of nutrition, it is a rhythmical activity, with its goal in a 
pleasure and satisfaction of its own, distinct from the obtaining 
of nourishment. The hand comes into play as an accessory 
organ. In the epoch of the displaced rhythmical activity it stands 
out still more as an accessory organ, when the oral zone ceases to 
give pleasure, which must now be obtained in other directions. 
The possibilities are many. As a rule the other openings of the 
body become the first objects of interest of the libido; then follow 
the skin in general and certain places of predilection upon it. 

The actions carried out at these places generally take the form 
of rubbing, piercing, tugging, etc., accompanied by a certain 
rhythm, and serve to produce pleasure. After a halt of greater 
or less duration at these stations, the libido proceeds until it 
arrives at the sexual zone, where it may next provoke the first 
onanistic attempts. During its "march," the libido carries over 
not a little from the function of nutrition into the sexual zone; 
this readily explains the numerous close associations between the 
function of nutrition and the sexual function. 

This " march " of the libido takes place at the time of the pre- 
sexual stage, which is characterized by the fact that the libido 
gradually relinquishes the special character of the instinct of 
nutrition, and by degrees acquires the character of the sexual 
instinct. At this stage we cannot yet speak of a true sexual 
libido. Therefore we are obliged to qualify the polymorphous 
perverse sexuality of early infancy differently. The polymor- 
phism of the tendencies of the libido at this time is to be explained 
as the gradual movement of the libido away from the sphere of 
the function of nutrition towards the sexual function. 

The Infantile "Perversity" Thus rightly vanishes the term 
" perverse " so strongly contested by our opponents for it pro- 
vokes a false idea. 

When a chemical body breaks up into its elements, these ele- 
ments are the products of its disintegration, but it is not permis- 
sible on that account to describe elements as entirely products of 
disintegration. Perversities are disorders of fully-developed sex- 
uality, but are never precursors of sexuality, although there is un- 
doubtedly an analogy between the precursors and the products of 


disintegration. The childish rudiments, no longer to be conceived 
as perverse, but to be regarded as stages of development, change 
gradually into normal sexuality, as the normal sexuality develops. 
The more smoothly the libido withdraws from its provisional 
positions, the more completely and the more quickly does the 
formation of normal sexuality take place. It is proper to the 
conception of normal sexuality that all those early infantile incli- 
nations which are not yet sexual should be given up. The less 
this is the case, the more is sexuality threatened with perverse 
development. The expression "perverse" is here used in its 
right place. The fundamental condition of a perversity is an 
infantile, imperfectly developed state of sexuality. 


Now that we have decided what is to be understood as infantile 
sexuality, we can follow up the discussion of the theory of the 
neuroses, which we began in the first lecture and then dropped. 
We followed the theory of the neuroses up to the point where we 
ran against Freud's statement, that the tendency which brings a 
traumatic event to a pathological activity, is a sexual one. From 
our foregoing considerations we understand what is meant by a 
sexual tendency. It is a standing still, a retardation in that 
process whereby the libido frees itself from the manifestations 
of the pre-sexual stage. 

First of all, we must regard this disturbance as a fixation. 
The libido, in its transition from the function of nutrition to the 
sexual function, lingers unduly at certain stages. A disharmony 
is created, since provisional and, as it were, worn-out activities, 
persist at a period when they should have been overcome. This 
formula is applicable to all those infantile characteristics so prev- 
alent among neurotic people that no attentive observer can have 
overlooked them. In dementia prascox it is so obtrusive that a 
symptom complex, hebephrenia, derives its name therefrom. 

The matter is not ended, however, by saying that the libido 
lingers in the preliminary stages, for while the libido thus lingers, 
time does not stand still, and the development of the individual is 
always proceeding apace. The physical maturation increases the 
contrast and the disharmony between the persistent infantile mani- 
festations, and the demands of the later age, with its changed 
conditions of life. In this way the foundation is laid for the dis- 
sociation of the personality, and thereby to that conflict which is 
the real basis of the neuroses. The more the libido is in arrears 
in practice, the more intense will be the conflict. The traumatic 
or pathogenic moment is the one which serves best to make this 
conflict manifest. As Freud showed in his earlier works, one can 
easily imagine a neurosis arising in this way. 

4 45 


This conception fitted in rather well with the views of Janet, 
who ascribed neurosis to a certain defect. From this point of 
view the neurosis could be regarded as a product of retarda- 
tion in the development of affectivity; and I can easily imagine 
that this conception must seem self evident to every one who is 
inclined to derive the neuroses more or less directly from heredity 
or congenital degeneration. 

Unfortunately the reality is much more complicated. Let me 
facilitate an insight into these complications by an example of a 
case of hysteria. It will, I hope, enable me to demonstrate the 
characteristic complication, so important for the theory of neu- 
rosis. You will probably remember the case of the young lady 
with hysteria, whom I mentioned at the beginning of my lectures. 
We noticed the remarkable fact that this patient was unaffected 
by situations which one might have expected to make a profound 
impression and yet showed an unexpected extreme pathological 
reaction to a quite everyday event. We took this occasion to 
express our doubt as to the etiological significance of the shock, 
and to investigate the so-called predisposition which rendered the 
trauma effective. The result of that investigation led us to what 
has just been mentioned, that it is by no means improbable that 
the origin of the neurosis is due to a retardation of the affective 

You will now ask me what is to be understood by the retarda- 
tion of the affectivity of this hysteric. The patient lives in a 
world of phantasy, which can only be regarded as infantile. It is 
unnecessary to give a description of these phantasies, for you, as 
neurologists or psychiatrists, have the opportunity daily to listen 
to the childish prejudices, illusions and emotional pretensions to 
which neurotic people give way. The disinclination to face stern 
reality is the distinguishing trait of these phantasies some lack 
of earnestness, some trifling, which sometimes hides real diffi- 
culties in a light-hearted manner, at others exaggerates trifles into 
great troubles. We recognize at once that inadequate psychic 
attitude towards reality which characterizes the child, its wavering 
opinions and its deficient orientation in matters of the external 
world. With such an infantile mental disposition all kinds of de- 


sires, phantasies and illusions can grow luxuriantly, and this we 
have to regard as the critical causation. Through such phantasies 
people slip into an unreal attitude, preeminently ill-adapted to the 
world, which is bound some day to lead to a catastrophe. When 
we trace back the infantile phantasy of the patient to her earliest 
childhood we find, it is true, many distinct, outstanding scenes 
which might well serve to provide fresh food for this or that 
variation in phantasy, but it would be vain to search for the so- 
called traumatic motive, whence something abnormal might have 
sprung, such an abnormal activity, let us say, as day-dreaming 
itself. There are certainly to be found traumatic scenes, although 
not in earliest childhood; the few scenes of earliest childhood 
which were remembered seem not to be traumatic, being rather 
accidental events, which passed by without leaving any effect on 
her phantasy worth mentioning. The earliest phantasies arose 
out of all sorts of vague and only partly understood impressions 
received from her parents. Many peculiar feelings centered 
around her father, vacillating between anxiety, horror, aversion, 
disgust, love and enthusiasm. The case was like so many other 
cases of hysteria, where no traumatic etiology can be found, but 
which grows from the roots of a peculiar and premature activity 
of phantasy which maintains permanently the character of in- 

You will object that in this case the scene with the shying 
horses represents the trauma. It is clearly the model of that 
night-scene which happened nineteen years later, where the 
patient was incapable of avoiding the trotting horses. That she 
wanted to plunge into the river has an analogy in the model scene, 
where the horses and carriage fell into the river. 

Since the latter traumatic moment she suffered from hysterical 
fits. As I tried to show you, we do not find any trace of this 
apparent etiology developed in the course of her phantasy life. 
It seems as if the danger of losing her life, that first time, when 
the horses shied, passed without leaving any emotional trace. 
None of the events that occurred in the following years showed 
any trace of that fright. In parenthesis let me add, that perhaps 
it never happened at all. It may have even been a mere phantasy, 
for I have only the assertions of the patient. All of a sudden, 
some eighteen years later, this event becomes of importance and 


is, so to say, reproduced and carried out in all its details. This 
assumption is extremely unlikely, and becomes still more incon- 
ceivable if we also bear in mind that the story of the shying 
horses may not even be true. Be that as it may, it is and remains 
almost unthinkable that an affect should remain buried for years 
and then suddenly explode. In other cases there is exactly the 
same state of affairs. I know, for instance, of a case in which 
the shock of an earthquake, long recovered from, suddenly came 
back as a lively fear of earthquakes, although this reminiscence 
could not be explained by the external circumstances. 


It is a very suspicious circumstance that these patients fre- 
quently show a pronounced tendency to account for their illnesses 
by some long-past event, ingeniously withdrawing the attention of 
the physician from the present moment towards some false track 
in the past. This false track was the first one pursued by the 
psychoanalytic theory. To this false hypothesis we owe an in- 
sight into the understanding of the neurotic symptoms never 
before reached, an insight we should not have gained if the inves- 
tigation had not chosen this path, really guided thither, however, 
by the misleading tendencies of the patient. 

I think that only a man who regards world-happenings as a 
chain of more or less fortuitous contingencies, and therefore be- 
lieves that the guiding hand of the reason-endowed pedagogue is 
permanently wanted, can ever imagine that this path, upon which 
the patient leads the physician, has been a wrong one, from which 
one ought to have warned men off with a sign-board. Besides 
the deeper insight into psychological determination, we owe to the 
so-called error the discovery of questions of immeasurable im- 
portance regarding the basis of psychic processes. It is for us to 
rejoice and be thankful that Freud had the courage to let himself 
be guided along this path. Not thus is the progress of science 
hindered, but rather through blind adherence to a provisional 
formulation, through the typical conservatism of authority, the 
vanity of learned men, their fear of making mistakes. This lack 
of the martyr's courage is far more injurious to the credit and 
greatness of scientific knowledge than an honest error. 



But let us return to our own case. The following question 
arises: If the old trauma is not of etiological significance, then 
the cause of the manifest neurosis is probably to be found in the 
retardation of the emotional development. We must therefore 
disregard the patient's assertion that her hysterical crises date 
from the fright from the shying horses, although this fright was 
in fact the beginning of her evident illness. This event only 
seems to be important, although it is not so in reality. This same 
formula is valid for all the so-called shocks. They only seem to 
be important because they are the starting-point of the external 
expression of an abnormal condition. As explained in detail, 
this abnormal condition is an anachronistic continuation of an 
infantile stage of libido-development. These patients still retain 
forms of the libido which they ought to have renounced long ago. 
It is impossible to give a list, as it were, of these forms, for they 
are of an extraordinary variety. The most common, which is 
scarcely ever absent, is the excessive activity of phantasies, char- 
acterized by an unconcerned exaggeration of subjective wishes. 
This exaggerated activity is always a sign of want of proper em- 
ployment of the libido. The libido sticks fast to its use in phan- 
tasies, instead of being employed in a more rigorous adaptation to 
the real conditions of life. 


This state is called the state of introversion, the libido is used 
for the psychical inner world instead of being applied to the ex- 
ternal world. A regular attendant symptom of this retardation 
in the emotional development is the so-called parent-complex. If 
the libido is not used entirely for the adaptation to reality, it is 
always more or less introverted. The material content of the 
psychic world is composed of reminiscences, giving it a vividness 
of activity which in reality long since ceased to pertain thereto. 
The consequence is, that these patients still live more or less in a 
world which in truth belongs to the past. They fight with diffi- 
culties which once played a part in their life, but which ought to 
have been obliterated long ago. They still grieve over matters, or 
rather they are still concerned with matters, which should have 


long ago lost their importance for them. They divert themselves, 
or distress themselves, with images which were once normally of 
importance for them but are of no significance at their later age. 


Amongst those influences most important during childhood, 
the personalities of the parents play the most potent part. Even 
if the parents have long been dead, and might and should have 
lost all real importance, since the life-conditions of the patients 
are perhaps totally changed, yet these parents are still somehow 
present and as important as if they were still alive. Love and 
admiration, resistance, repugnance, hate and revolt, still cling to 
their figures, transfigured by affection and very often bearing 
little resemblance to the past reality. It was this fact which 
forced me to talk no longer of father and mother directly, but to 
employ instead the term "image" (imago) of mother or of 
father for these phantasies no longer deal with the real father 
and the real mother, but with the subjective, and very often com- 
pletely altered creations of the imagination which prolong an 
existence only in the patient's mind. 

The complex of the parents' images, that is to say, the sum of 
ideas connected with the parents, provides an important field of 
employment for the introverted libido. I must mention in pass- 
ing that the complex has in itself but a shadowy existence in so 
far as it is not invested with libido. Following the usage that 
we arrived at in the " Diagnostische Associationsstudien," the 
word " complex " is used for a system of ideas already invested 
with, and actuated by, libido. This system exists as a mere possi- 
bility, ready for application, if not invested with libido either 
temporarily or permanently. 

The " Nucleus "-Complex. At the time when the psycho- 
analytic theory was still under the dominance of the trauma con- 
ception and, in conformity with that view, inclined to look for 
the causa efficiens of the neurosis in the past, the parent-complex 
seemed to us to be the so-called root-complex to employ Freud's 
term or nucleus-complex ( " Kerncomplex " ) . 

The part which the parents played seemed to be so highly 
determining that we were inclined to attribute to them all later 
complications in the life of the patient. Some years ago I dis- 


cussed this view in my article 7 " Die Bedeutung des Vaters i iir 
das Schicksal des Einzelnen." (The importance of the father for 
the fate of the individual.) 

Here also we were guided by the patient's tendency to revert 
to the past, in accordance with the direction of his introverted 
libido. Now indeed it was no longer the external, accidental 
event which caused the pathogenic effect, but a psychological 
effect which seemed to arise out of the individual's difficulties in 
adapting himself to the conditions of his familiar surroundings. 
It was especially the disharmony between the parents on the one 
hand and between the child and the parents on the other which 
seemed favorable for creating currents in the child little com- 
patible with his individual course of life. In the article just 
alluded to I have described some instances, taken from a wealth 
of material, which show these characteristics very distinctly. The 
influence of the parents does not come to an end, alas, with their 
neurotic descendants' blame of the family circumstances, or their 
false education, as the basis of their illness, but it extends even 
to certain actual events in the life and actions of the patient, 
where such a determining influence could not have been expected. 
The lively imitativeness which we find in savages as well as in 
children can produce in certain rather sensitive children a 
peculiar inner and unconscious identification with the parents; 
that is to say, such a similar mental attitude that effects in real 
life are sometimes produced which, even in detail, resemble the 
personal experiences of the parents. For the empirical material 
here, I must refer you to the literature. I should like to remind 
you that one of my pupils, Dr. Emma Furst, produced valuable 
experimental proofs for the solution of this problem, to which 
I referred in my lecture at Clark University. 8 In applying 
association experiments to whole families, Dr. Furst established 
the great resemblance of reaction-type among all the members 
of one family. 

These experiments show that there very often exists an un- 
conscious parallelism of association between parents and children, 
to be explained as an intense imitation or identification. 

7 Jahrbuch fur psychoanalytische und psychopathologisch Forschun- 
gen, Bd. I. 

8 Am. Jour. Psychol., April, 1910. 


The results of these investigations show far-reaching psycho- 
logical tendencies in parallel directions, which readily explain 
at times the astonishing conformity in their destinies. Our 
destinies are as a rule the result of our psychological tendencies. 
These facts allow us to understand why, not only the patient, but 
even the theory which has been built on such investigations, 
expresses the view, that the neurosis is the result of the char- 
acteristic influence of the parents, upon their children. This 
view, moreover, is supported by the experiences which lie at the 
basis of pedagogy: namely the assumption of the plasticity of 
the child's mind, which is freely compared with soft wax. 

We know that the first impressions of childhood accompany 
us throughout life, and that certain educational influences may 
restrain people undisturbed all their lives within certain limits. 
It is no miracle, indeed it is rather a frequent experience, that 
under these circumstances a conflict has to break out between the 
personality which is formed by the educational and other influ- 
ences of the infantile milieu and that one which can be described 
as the real individual line of life. With this conflict all people 
must meet, who are called upon to live an independent and 
productive life. 

Owing to the enormous influence of childhood on the later 
development of character, you can perfectly understand why we 
are inclined to ascribe the cause of a neurosis directly to the 
influences of the infantile environment. I have to confess that I 
have known cases in which any other explanation seemed to be 
less reasonable. There are indeed parents whose own contra- 
dictory neurotic behavior causes them to treat their children in 
such an unreasonable way that the latter's deterioration and ill- 
ness would seem to be unavoidable. Hence it is almost a rule 
among nerve-specialists to remove neurotic children, whenever 
possible, from the dangerous family atmosphere, and to send 
them among more healthy influences, where, without any medical 
treatment, they thrive much better than at home. There are 
many neurotic patients who were clearly neurotic as children, 
and who have never been free from illness. For such cases, the 
conception which has been sketched holds generally good. 

This knowledge, which seems to be provisionally definitive, 
has been extended by the studies of Freud and the psychoanalytic 


school. The relations between the patients and their parents have 
been studied in detail in as much as these relations were regarded 
as of etiological significance. 


It was soon noticed that such patients lived still partly or 
wholly in their childhood-world, although quite unconscious 
themselves of this fact. It is a difficult task for psychoanalysis 
so exactly to investigate the psychological mode of adaptation of 
the patients as to be capable of putting its finger on the infantile 
misunderstanding. We find among neurotics many who have 
been spoiled as children. These cases give the best and clearest 
example of the infantilism of their psychological mode of adapta- 
tion. They start out in life expecting the same friendly reception, 
tenderness and easy success, obtained with no trouble, to which 
they have been accustomed by their parents in their youth. Even 
very intelligent patients are not capable of seeing at once that they 
owe the complications of their life and their neurosis to the trail 
of their infantile emotional attitude. The small world of the 
child, the familiar surroundings these form the model of the 
big world. The more intensely the family has stamped the child, 
the more will it be inclined, as an adult, instinctively to see again 
in the great world its former small world. Of course this must 
not be taken as a conscious intellectual process. On the contrary, 
the patient feels and sees the difference between now and then, 
and tries to adapt himself as well as he can. Perhaps he will even 
believe himself perfectly adapted, for he grasps the situation 
intellectually, but that does not prevent the emotional from being 
far behind the intellectual standpoint. 


It is unnecessary to trouble you with instances of this phe- 
nomenon. It is an every-day experience that our emotions are 
never at the level of our reasoning. It is exactly the same with 
such a patient, only with greater intensity. He may perhaps be- 
lieve that, save for his neurosis, he is a normal person, and hence 
adapted to the conditions of life. He does not suspect that he 
has not relinquished certain childish pretensions, that he still 


carries with him, in the background, expectations and illusions 
which he has never rendered conscious to himself. He cultivates 
all sorts of favorite phantasies, which seldom become conscious, 
or at any rate, not very often, so that he himself does not know 
that he has them. They very often exist only as emotional ex- 
pectations, hopes, prejudices, etc. We call these phantasies, un- 
conscious phantasies. Sometimes they dip into the peripheral 
consciousness as quite fugitive thoughts, which disappear again a 
moment later, so that the patient is unable to say whether he had 
such phantasies or not. It is only during the psychoanalytic 
treatment that most patients learn to observe and retain these 
fleeting thoughts. Although most of the phantasies, once at 
least, have been conscious in the form of fleeting thoughts and 
only afterwards became unconscious, we have no right to call 
them on that account " conscious," as they are practically most of 
the time unconscious. It is therefore right to designate them 
"unconscious phantasies." Of course there are also infantile 
phantasies, which are perfectly conscious and which can be re- 
produced at any time. 


The sphere of the unconscious infantile phantasies has be- 
come the real object of psychoanalytic investigation. As we have 
previously pointed out, this domain seems to retain the key to the 
etiology of neurosis. In contradistinction with the trauma 
theory, we are forced by the reasons already adduced to seek in 
the family history for the basis of our present psychoanalytic 
attitude. Those phantasy-systems which patients exhibit on mere 
questioning are for the most part composed and elaborated like 
a novel or a drama. Although they are greatly elaborated, they 
are relatively of little value for the investigation of the uncon- 
scious. Just because they are conscious, they have already de- 
ferred over-much to the claims of etiquette and social morality. 
Hence they have been purged of all personally painful and ugly 
details, and are presentable to society, revealing very little. The 
valuable, and much more important phantasies are not conscious 
in the sense already defined, but are to be discovered through the 
technique of psychoanalysis. 

Without wishing to enter fully into the question of technique, 
I must here meet an objection that is constantly heard. It is that 
the so-called unconscious phantasies are only suggested to the 
patient and only exist in the minds of psychoanalysts. This ob- 
jection belongs to that common class which ascribes to them the 
crude mistakes of beginners. I think only those without psycho- 
logical experience and without historical psychological knowledge 
are capable of making such criticisms. With a mere glimmering 
of mythological knowledge, one cannot fail to notice the striking 
parallels between the unconscious phantasies discovered by the 
psychoanalytic school and mythological images. The objection 
that our knowledge of mythology has been suggested to the patient 
is groundless, for the psychoanalytic school first discovered the 
unconscious phantasies, and only then became acquainted with 
mythology. Mythology itself is obviously something outside the 
path of the medical man. In so far as these phantasies are un- 



conscious, the patient of course knows nothing about their exist- 
ence, and it would be absurd to make direct inquiries about them. 
Nevertheless it is often said, both by patients and by so-called 
normal persons : " But if I had such phantasies, surely I would 
know something about them." But what is unconscious is, in 
fact, something which one does not know. The opposition too 
is perfectly convinced that such things as unconscious phantasies 
could not exist. This a priori judgment is scholasticism, and has 
no sensible grounds. We cannot possibly rest on the dogma that 
consciousness only is mind, when we can convince ourselves daily 
that our consciousness is only the stage. When the contents of 
our consciousness appear they are already in a highly complex 
form; the grouping of our thoughts from the elements supplied 
by our memory is almost entirely unconscious. Therefore we 
are obliged, whether we like it or not, to accept for the moment 
the conception of an unconscious psychic sphere, even if only as 
a mere negative, border-conception, just as Kant's "thing in 
itself." As we perceive things which do not have their origin in 
consciousness, we are obliged to give hypothetic contents to the 
sphere of the non-conscious. We must suppose that the origin 
of certain effects lies in the unconscious, just because they are 
not conscious. The reproach of mysticism can scarcely be made 
against this conception of the unconscious. We do not pretend 
that we know anything positive, or can affirm anything, about the 
psychic condition of the unconscious. Instead, we have sub- 
stituted symbols by following the way of designation and ab- 
straction we apply in consciousness. 

On the axiom: Principia praeter necessitatem non sunt multi- 
plicanda, this kind of ideation is the only possible one. Hence 
we speak about the effects of the unconscious, just as we do 
about the phenomena of the conscious. Many people have been 
shocked by Freud's statement : " The unconscious can only wish," 
and this is regarded as an unheard of metaphysical assertion, 
something like the principle of Hartman's " Philosophy of the 
Unconscious," which apparently administers a rebuff to the 
theory of cognition. This indignation only arises from the fact 
that the critics, unknown to themselves, evidently start from a 
metaphysical conception of the unconscious as being an " end per 
se," and naively project on to us their inadequate conception of 


the unconscious. For us, the unconscious is no entity, but a 
term, about whose metaphysical entity we do not permit our- 
selves to form any idea. Here we contrast with those psycholo- 
gists, who, sitting at their desks, are as exactly informed about 
the localization of the mind in the brain as they are informed 
about the psychological correlation of the mental processes. 
Whence they are able to declare positively that beyond the con- 
sciousness there are but physiological processes of the cortex. 
Such naivete must not be imputed to the psychoanalyst. When 
Freud says : " We can only wish," he describes in symbolic terms 
effects of which the origin is not known. From the standpoint 
of our conscious thinking, these effects can only be considered as 
analogous to wishes. The psychoanalytic school is, moreover, 
aware that the discussion as to whether "wishing" is a sound 
analogy can be re-opened at any time. Anyone who has more 
information is welcome. Instead, the opponents content them- 
selves with denial of the phenomena, or if certain phenomena are 
admitted, they abstain from all theoretical speculation. This last 
point is readily to be understood, for it is not everyone's business 
to think theoretically. Even the man who has succeeded in free- 
ing himself from the dogma of the identity of the conscious self 
and the psyche, thus admitting the possible existence of psychic 
processes outside the conscious, is not justified in disputing or 
maintaining psychic possibilities in the unconscious. The ob- 
jection is raised that the psychoanalytic school maintains certain 
views without sufficient grounds, as if the literature did not 
contain abundant, perhaps too abundant, discussion of cases, and 
more than enough arguments. But they seem not to be sufficient 
for the opponents. There must be a good deal of difference as 
to the meaning of the term " sufficient " in respect to the validity 
of the arguments. The question is: "Why does the psycho- 
analytic school apparently set less store on the proof of their 
formuals than the critics?" The reason is very simple. An 
engineer who has built a bridge, and has worked out its bearing 
capacity, wants no other proof for the success of its bearing 
power. But the ordinary man, who has no notion how a bridge 
is built, or what is the strength of the material used, will demand 
quite different proofs as to the bearing capacity of the bridge, 
for he has no confidence in the business. In the first place, it is 


the critics' complete ignorance of what is being done which pro- 
vokes their demand. In the second place, there are the unanswer- 
able theoretical misunderstandings: impossible for us to know 
them all and understand them all. Just as we find, again and 
again, in our patients new and astonishing misunderstandings 
about the ways and the aim of the psychoanalytic method, so are 
the critics inexhaustible in devising misunderstandings. You can 
see in the discussion of our conception of the unconscious what 
kind of false philosophical assumptions can prevent the under- 
standing of our terminology. It is comprehensible that those 
who attribute to the unconscious involuntarily an absolute entity, 
require quite different arguments, beyond our power to give. 
Had we to prove immortality, we should have to collect many 
more important arguments, than if we had merely to demonstrate 
the existence of plasmodia in a malaria patient. The meta- 
physical expectation still disturbs the scientific way of thinking, 
so that problems of psychoanalysis cannot be considered in a 
simple way. But I do not wish to be unjust to the critics, and I 
will admit that the psychoanalytic school itself very often gives 
rise to misunderstandings, although innocently enough. One of 
the principal sources of these mistakes is the confusion in the 
theoretical sphere. It is a pity, but we have no presentable 
theory. But you would understand this, if you could see, in a 
concrete case, with what difficulties we have to deal. In contra- 
diction to the opinion of nearly all critics, Freud is by no means 
a theorist. He is an empiricist, of which fact anyone can easily 
convince himself, if he is willing to busy himself somewhat more 
deeply with Freud's works, and if he tries to go into the cases as 
Freud has done. Unfortunately, the critics are not willing. As 
we have very often heard, it is too disgusting and too repulsive, 
to observe cases in the same way as Freud has done. But who 
will learn the nature of Freud's method, if he allows himself to 
be hindered by repulsion and disgust? Because they neglect to 
apply themselves to the point of view adopted by Freud, perhaps 
as a necessary working hypothesis, they come to the absurd sup- 
position that Freud is a theorist. They then readily agree that 
Freud's " Three Contributions to the Sexual Theory " is a priori 
invented by a merely speculative brain which afterwards suggests 
everything into the patient. That is putting things upside down. 


This gives the critics an easy task, and this is just what they want 
to have. They pay no attention to the observations of the psy- 
choanalysts, conscientiously set forth in their histories of diseases, 
but only to the theory, and to the formulation of technique. The 
weak spot of psychoanalysis, however, is not found here, as 
psychoanalysis is only empirical. Here you find but a large and 
insufficiently cultivated field, in which the critics can exercise 
themselves to their full satisfaction. There are many uncertain- 
ties, and as many contradictions, in the sphere of this theory. 
We were conscious of this long before the first critic began to 
pay attention to our work. 


After this digression we will return to the question of the 
unconscious phantasies which occupied us before. As we have 
seen, nobody can dispute their existence, just as nobody can 
assert their existence and their qualities forthwith. The ques- 
tion, however, is just this: Can effects be observed in the con- 
sciousness of unconscious origin, which can be described in con- 
scious symbolic signs or expressions ? Can there be found, in the 
conscious, effects which correspond with this expectation? The 
psychoanalytic school believes it has discovered such effects. Let 
ii : . me mention at once the principal phenomenon, the dream. Of 
w? this it may be said that it appears in the conscionsness as a com- 
plex factor unconsciously constructed out of its elements. The 
origin of the images in certain reminiscences of the earlier or of 
the later past can be proved through the associations belonging to 
the single images of the dream. We ask: "Where did you see 
this ? " or " Where did you hear that ? " And through the usual 
way of association come the reminiscences that certain parts of 
the dream have been consciously experienced, some the day 
before, some on former occasions. So far there will be general 
agreement, for these things are well known. In so far, the dream 
represents in general an incomprehensible composition of certain 
elements not at first conscious, which are only recognized later 
on by their associations. It is not that all parts of the dream are 
recognizable, whence its conscious character could be deduced; 
on the contrary, they are often, and indeed mostly, unrecognizable 
at first. Only subsequently does it occur to us that we have 
experienced in consciousness this or that part of the dream. 
From this standpoint alone, we might regard the dream as an 
effect of unconscious origin. 


The technique for the exploration of the unconscious origin is 
the one I mentioned before, used before Freud by every scientific 



man who attempted to arrive at a psychological understanding of 
dreams. We try simply to remember where the parts of the 
dream arose. The psychoanalytic technique for the interpreta- 
tion of dreams is based on this very simple principle. It is a fact 
that certain parts of the dream originate in daily life, that is, in 
events which, on account of their slighter importance, would have 
fallen into oblivion, and indeed were on the way to become defi- 
nitely unconscious. It is these parts of the dream that are the 
effect of unconscious images and representations. People have 
been shocked by this expression also. But we do not conceive 
these things so concretely, not to say crudely, as do the critics. 
Certainly this expression is nothing but a symbolism taken from 
conscious psychology we were never in any doubt as to that. 
The expression is quite clear and answers very well as a symbol 
of an unknown psychic fact. 

As we mentioned before, we can conceive the unconscious only 
by analogj^wittijhe conscious. We do not imagine that we under- 
slSn3"a thing when we have discovered a beautiful and rather 
incomprehensible name. The principle of the psychoanalytic 
technique is, as you see, extraordinarily simple. The further 
procedure follows on in the same way. If we occupy ourselves 
long with a dream, a thing which, apart from psychoanalysis, 
naturally never happens, we are apt to find still more reminiscences 
to the various different parts of the dream. We are not however 
always successful in finding reminiscences to certain portions. 
We have to put aside these dreams, or parts of dreams, whether 
we will or no. 

The collected reminiscences are called the "dream material." 
We treat this material^ by a universally valid scientific method. 
If you ever have to work up experimental material, you compare 
the individual units and classify them according to similarities. 
You proceed exactly in the same way with dream-material; you 
look for the common traits either of a formal or a substantial 

Certain extremely common prejudices must be got rid of. 
I have always noticed that the beginner is looking for one trait 
or another and tries to make his material conform to his expecta- 
tion. This condition I noticed especially among those colleagues 
who were formerly more or less passionate opponents of psycho- 


analysis, their opposition being based on well-known prejudices 
and misunderstandings. When I had the chance of analyzing 
them, whereby they obtained at last a real insight into the method, 
the first mistake generally made in their own psychoanalytic work 
was that they did violence to the material by their own precon- 
ceived opinion. They gave vent to their former prejudice against 
psychoanalysis in their attitude towards the material, which they 
could not estimate objectively, but only according to their sub- 
jective phantasies. 

If one would have the courage to sift dream material, one 
must not recoil from any parallel. The dream material generally 
consists of very heterogeneous associations, out of which it is 
sometimes very difficult to deduce the tertium comparationis. I 
refrain from giving detailed examples, as it is quite impossible 
to handle in a lecture the voluminous material of a dream. I 
might call your attention to Rank's 9 article in the Jahrbuch, " Ein 
Traum der sich selber deutet" (A dream interpreted by itself). 
There you will see what an extensive material must be taken into 
consideration for comparison. 

Hence, for the interpretation of the unconscious we proceed 
in the same way as is universal when a conclusion is to be drawn 
by classifying material. The objection is very often heard : Why 
does the dream have an unconscious content at all? In my view, 
this objection is as unscientific as possible. Every actual psycho- 
logical moment has its special history. Every sentence I pro- 
nounce has, beside the intended meaning known to me another 
historical meaning, and it is possible that its second meaning is 
entirely different from its conscious meaning. I express myself 
on purpose somewhat paradoxically. I do not mean that I could 
explain every individual sentence in its historical meaning. This 
is a thing easier to do in larger and more detailed contributions. 
It will be clear to everyone, that a poem is, apart from its mani- 
fest content, especially characteristic of the poet in regard to its 
form, its content, and its manner of origin. Although the poet, 
in his poem, gave expression to the mood of a moment, the liter- 
ary historian will find things in it and behind it which the poet 
never foresaw. The analysis which the literary historian draws 
from the poet's material is exactly the method of psychoanalysis. 

9 Jahrbuch fur psychopath, u. psychoanalyt. Forschungen, Bd. II, p. 


The psychoanalytic method, generally speaking, can be com- 
pared with historical analysis and synthesis. Suppose, for in- 
stance, we did not understand the meaning of baptism as practised 
in our churches to-day. The priest tells us the baptism means 
the admission of the child into the Christian community. But 
this does not satisfy us. Why is the child sprinkled with water? 
To understand this ceremony, we must choose out of the history 
of rites, those human traditions which pertain to this subject, and 
thus we get material for comparison, to be considered from dif- 
ferent standpoints. 

I. The baptism means obviously an initiation ceremony, a con- 
secration; therefore all the traditions containing initiation rites 
have to be consulted. 

II. The baptism takes place with water. This special form 
requires another series of traditions, namely, those rites where 
water is used. 

III. The person to be baptized is sprinkled with water. Here 
are to be consulted all those rites where the initiated is sprinkled 
or submerged, etc. 

IV. All the reminiscences of folklore, the superstitious prac- 
tices must be remembered, which in any way run parallel with the, 
symbolism of the baptismal act. 

In this way, we get a comparative scientific study of religion 
as regards baptism. We accordingly discover the different ele- 
ments out of which the act of baptism has arisen. We ascertain 
further its original meaning, and we become at the same time 
acquainted with the rich world of myths that have contributed to 
the foundations of religions, and thus we are enabled to under- 
stand the manifold and profound meanings of baptism. The 
analyst proceeds in the same way with the dream. He collects 
the historical parallels to every part of the dream, even the 
remotest, and he tries to reconstruct the psychological history of 
the dream, with its fundamental meaning, exactly as in the analysis 
of the act of baptism. Thus, through the monographic treat- 
ment of the dream, we get a profound and beautiful insight into 
that mysterious, fine and ingenious network of unconscious de- 
termination. We get an insight, which as I said before, can only 
be compared with the historical understanding of any act which 
we had hitherto regarded in a superficial and one-sided way. 


This digression on the psychoanalytic method has seemed to 
me to be unavoidable. I was obliged to give you an account of 
the method and its position in methodology, by reason of all the 
extensive misunderstandings which are constantly attempting to 
discredit it. I do not doubt that there are superficial and im- 
proper interpretations of the method. But an intelligent critic 
ought never to allow this to be a reproach to the method itself, 
any more than a bad surgeon should be urged as an objection to 
the common validity of surgery. I do not doubt that some inac- 
curate descriptions and conceptions of the psychoanalytic method 
have arisen on the part of the psychoanalytic school itself. But 
this is due to the fact that, because of their education in natural 
science it is difficult for medical men to attain a full grasp of 
historical or philological method, although they instinctively 
handle it rightly. 

The method I have described to you, in this general way, is 
the method that I adopt and for which I assume the scientific 

In my opinion it is absolutely reprehensible and unscientific 
to question about dreams, or to try to interpret them directly. 
This is not a methodological, but an arbitrary proceeding, which 
is its own punishment, for it is as unproductive as every false 

If I have made the attempt to demonstrate to you the principle 
of the psychoanalytic school by dream-analysis, it is because the 
dream is one of the clearest instances of those contents of the 
conscious, whose basis eludes any plain and direct understanding. 
When anyone knocks in a nail with a hammer, to hang something 
up, we can understand every detail of the action. But it is other- 
wise with the act of baptism, where every phase is problematic. 
We call these actions, of which the meaning and the aim is not 
directly evident, symbolic actions or symbols. On the basis of 
this reasoning, we call a dream symbolic, as a dream is a psycho- 
logical formation, of which the origin, meaning and aim are 
obscure, inasmuch as it represents one of the purest products of 
unconscious constellation. As Freud strikingly says : " The dream 
is the via regia to the unconscious." Besides the dream, we can 
note many effects of unconscious constellation. We have in the 
association-experiments a means for establishing exactly the in- 


fluence of the unconscious. We find those effects in the dis- 
turbances of the experiment which I have called the "indicators 
of the complex." The task which the association-experiment 
gives to the person experimented upon is so extraordinarily easy 
and simple that even children can accomplish it without difficulty. 
It is, therefore, very remarkable that so many disturbances of an 
intentional action should be noted in this experiment. The only 
reasons or causes of these disturbances which can usually be 
shown, are the partly conscious, partly not-conscious constella- 
tions, caused by the so-called complexes. In the greater number 
of these disturbances, we can without difficulty establish the rela- 
tion to images of emotional complexes. We often need the psy- 
choanalytic method to explain these relations, that is, we have to 
ask the person experimented upon or the patient, what associa- - 
tions he can give to the disturbed reactions. We thus gain the 
historical matter which serves as a basis for our judgment. The 
intelligent objection has already been made that the person experi- 
mented upon could say what he liked, in other words, any non- 
sense. This objection is made, I believe, in the unconscious sup- 
position that the historian who collects the matter for his mono- 
graph is an idiot, incapable of distinguishing real parallels from 
apparent ones and true documents from crude falsifications. 
The professional man has means at his disposal by which clumsy 
mistakes can be avoided with certainty, and the slighter ones very 
probably. The mistrust of our opponents is here really delight- 
ful. For anyone who understands psychoanalytic work it is a 
well-known fact that it is not so very difficult to see where there 
is coherence, and where there is none. Moreover, in the first place 
these fraudulent declarations are very significant of the person 
experimented upon, and secondly, in general rather easily to be 
recognized as fraudulent. 

In association-experiments, we are able to recognize the very 
intense effects produced by the unconscious in what are called 
complex-interventions. These mistakes made in the association- 
experiment are nothing but the prototypes of the mistakes made 
in everyday life, which are for the greater part to be considered 
as interventions. Freud brought together such material in his 
book, " The Psychopathology of Everyday Life." 

These include the so-called symptomatic actions, which from 


another point of view might equally as well be called " symbolic 
actions," and the real failures to carry out actions, such as for- 
getting, slips of the tongue, etc. All these phenomena are the effect 
of unconscious constellations and therefore so many entrance- 
gates into the domain of the unconscious. When such errors are 
cumulative, they are designated as neurosis, which, from this 
aspect, looks like a defective action and therefore the effect of 
unconscious constellations or complex-interventions. 

The association-experiment is thus not directly a means to 
unlock the unconscious, but rather a technique for obtaining a 
good selection of defective reactions, which can then be used by 
psychoanalysis. At least, this is its most reliable form of appli- 
cation at the present time. I may, however, mention that it is 
possible that it may furnish other especially valuable facts which 
would grant us some direct glimpses, but I do not consider this 
problem sufficiently ripe to speak about. Investigations in this 
direction are going on. 

I hope that, through my explanation of our method, you may 
have gained somewhat more confidence in its scientific character, 
so that you will be by this time more inclined to agree that the 
phantasies which have been hitherto discovered by means of 
psychoanalytic work are not merely arbitrary suppositions and 
illusions of psychoanalysts. Perhaps you are even inclined to 
listen patiently to what those products of unconscious phantasies 
can tell us. 


The phantasies of adults are, in so far as they are conscious, 
of great diversity and strongly individual. It is therefore nearly 
impossible to give a general description of them. But it is very 
different when we enter by means of analysis into the world of 
his unconscious phantasies. The diversities of the phantasies are 
indeed very great, but we do not find those individual peculiarities 
which we find in the conscious self. We meet here with more 
typical material which is not infrequently repeated in a similar 
form in different people. Constantly recurring, for instance, are 
ideas which are variations of the thoughts we encounter in 
religion and mythology. This fact is so convincing that we say 
we have discovered in these phantasies the same mechanisms 
which once created mythological and religious ideas. I should 
have to enter very much into detail in order to give you adequate 
examples. I must refer you for these problems to my work, 
"Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido." I will only mention 
that, for instance, the central symbol of Christianity self- 
sacrifice plays an important part in the phantasies of the uncon- 
scious. The Viennese School describes this phenomenon by the 
ambiguous term castration-complex. This paradoxical use of the 
term follows from the particular attitude of this school toward 
the question of unconscious sexuality. I have given special 
attention to the problem in the book I have just mentioned; I 
must here restrict myself to this incidental reference and hasten 
to say something about the origin of the unconscious phantasy. 

In the child's unconsciousness, the phantasies are consider- 
ably simplified, in relation to the proportions of the infantile sur- 
roundings. Thanks to the united efforts of the psychoanalytic 
school, we discovered that the most frequent phantasy of child- 
hood is the so-called (Edipus-complex. This designation also 
seems as paradoxical as possible. We know that the tragic fate 
of CEdipus consisted in his loving his mother and slaying his 
father. This conflict of later life seems to be far remote from 



the child's mind. To the uninitiated it seems inconceivable that 
the child should have this conflict. After careful reflection it 
will become clear that the tertium comparationis consists just in 
this narrow limitation of the fate of CEdipus within the bounds 
of the family. These limitations are very typical for the child, 
for parents are never the boundary for the adult person to the 
same extent. The GEdipus-complex represents an infantile con- 
flict, but with the exaggeration of the adult. The term QEdipus- 
complex does not mean, naturally, that this conflict is considered 
as occurring in the adult form, but in a corresponding form suit- 
able to childhood. The little son would like to have the mother 
all to himself and to be rid of the father. As you know, little 
children can sometimes force themselves between the parents in 
the most jealous way. The wishes and aims get, in the uncon- 
scious, a more concrete and a more drastic form. Children are 
small primitive people and are therefore quickly ready to kill. 
But as a child is, in general, harmless, so his apparently dangerous 
wishes are, as a rule, also harmless. I say "as a rule," as you 
know that children, too, sometimes give way to their impulses to 
murder, and this not always in any indirect fashion. But just as 
the child, in general, is incapable of making systematic projects, 
as little dangerous are his intentions to murder. The same holds 
good of an CEdipus-view toward the mother. The small traces 
of this phantasy in the conscious can easily be overlooked ; there- 
fore nearly all parents are convinced that their children have no 
QEdipus-complex. Parents as well as lovers are generally blind. 
If I now say that the CEdipus-complex is in the first place only 
a formula for the childish desire towards parents, and for the 
conflict which this craving evokes, this statement of the situation 
will be more readily accepted. The history of the GEdipus- 
phantasy is of special interest, as it teaches us very much about 
the development of the unconscious phantasies. Naturally, people 
think that the problem of GEdipus is the problem of the son. 
But this is, astonishingly enough, only an illusion. Under some 
circumstances the libido-sexualis reaches that definite differentia- 
tion of puberty corresponding to the sex of the individual rela- 
tively late. The libido sexualis has before this time an undiffer- 
entiated sexual character, which can be also termed bisexual. 
Therefore it is not astonishing if little girls possess the CEdipus- 


complex too. As far as I can see, the first love of the child 
belongs to the mother, no matter which its sex. If the love for 
the mother at this stage is intense, the father is jealously kept 
away as a rival. Of course, for the child itself, the mother has 
in this early stage of childhood no sexual significance of any 
importance. The term " (Edipus-complex " is in so far not 
really suitable. At this stage the mother has still the significance 
of a protecting, enveloping, food-providing being, who, on this 
account, is a source of delight. I do not identify, as I explained 
before, the feeling oi delight eo ipso with sexuality. In earliest 
childhood but a slight amount of sexuality is connected with this 
feeling of delight. But, nevertheless, jealousy can play a great 
part in it, as jealousy does not belong entirely to the sphere of 
sexuality. The desire for food has much to do with the first 
impulses of jealousy. Certainly, a relatively germinating eroticism 
is also connected with it. This element gradually increases as 
the years go on, so that the CEdipus-complex soon assumes its 
classical form. In the case of the son, the conflict develops in a 
more masculine and therefore more typical form, whilst in the 
daughter, the typical affection for the father develops, with a 
correspondingly jealous attitude toward the mother. We call this 
complex, the Electra-complex. As everybody knows, Electra 
took revenge on her mother for the murder of her husband, 
because that mother had robbed her of her father. 

Both phantasy-complexes develop with growing age, and reach 
a new stage after puberty, when the emancipation from the parents 
is more or less attained. The symbol of this time is the one 
already previously mentioned; it is the symbol of self-sacrifice. 
The more the sexuality develops the more the individual 
is forced to leave his family and to acquire independence 
and autonomy. By its history, the child is closely con- 
nected with its family and specially with its parents. In conse- 
quence, it is often with the greatest difficulty that the child is 
able to free itself from its infantile surroundings. The CEdipus- 
and Electra-complex give rise to a conflict, if adults cannot suc- 
ceed in spiritually freeing themselves ; hence arises the possibility 
of neurotic disturbance. The libido, which is already sexually 
developed, takes possession of the form given by the complex 
and produces feelings and phantasies which unmistakably show 


the effective existence of the complex, till then perfectly uncon- 
scious. The next consequence is the formation of intense resist- 
ances against the immoral inner impulses which are derived from 
the now active complexes. The conscious attitude arising out of 
this can be of different kinds. Either the consequences are direct, 
and then we notice in the son strong resistances against the father 
and a typical affectionate and dependent attitude toward the 
mother; or the consequences are indirect, that is to say, com- 
pensated, and we notice, instead of the resistances toward the 
father, a typical submissiveness here, and an irritated antagonistic 
attitude toward the mother. It is possible that direct and com- 
pensated consequences take place alternately. The same thing is 
to be said of the Electra-complex. If the libido-sexualis were to 
cleave fast to these particular forms of the conflict, murder and 
incest would be the consequence of the GEdipus and Electra 
conflicts. These consequences are naturally not found among 
normal people, and not even among amoral ("moral" here 
implying the possession of a rationalized and codified moral 
system) primitive persons, or humanity would have become 
extinct long ago. On the contrary, it is in the natural order of 
things that what surrounds us daily and has surrounded us, loses 
its compelling charm and thus forces the libido to search for new 
objects, an important rule which prevents parricide and inbreeding. 
The further development of the libido toward objects out- 
side the family is the absolutely normal and right way of pro- 
ceeding, and it is an abnormal and morbid phenomenon if the 
libido remains, as it were, glued to the family. Some indications 
of this phenomenon are nevertheless to be noticed in normal 
people. A direct outcome of the infantile-complex is the uncon- 
scious phantasy of self-sacrifice, which occurs after puberty, in 
the succeeding stage of development. Of this I gave a detailed 
example in my work, " Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido." 
The phantasy of self-sacrifice means sacrificing infantile wishes. 
I have shown this in the work just mentioned and in the same' 
place I have referred to the parallels in the history of religions. 


Freud has a special conception of the incest-complex which 
has given rise to heated controversy. He starts from the fact 


that the CEdipus-complex is generally unconscious, and conceives 
this as the result of a repression of a moral kind. It is possible 
that I am not expressing myself quite correctly, when I give you 
Freud's view in these words. At any rate, according to him the 
CEdipus-complex seems to be repressed, that is, seems to be 
removed into the unconscious by a reaction from the conscious 
tendencies. It almost looks as if the CEdipus-complex would 
develop into consciousness if the development of the child were 
to go on without restraint and if no cultural tendencies influenced 
it. Freud calls this barrier, which prevents the CEdipus-complex 
from ripening, the incest-barrier. He seems to believe, so far as 
one can gather from his work, that the incest-barrier is the result 
of experience, of the selective influence of reality, inasmuch as 
the unconscious strives without restraint, and in an immediate 
way, for its own satisfaction, without any consideration for 
others. This conception is in harmony with the conception of 
Schopenhauer, who says of the blind world-will that it is so 
egoistic that a man could slay his brother merely to grease his 
boots with his brother's fat. Freud considers that the psycholog- 
ical incest-barrier, as postulated by him, can be compared with 
the incest-taboo which we find among inferior races. He further 
believes that these prohibitions are a proof of the fact that men 
really desired incest, for which reason laws were framed against 
it even in very primitive cultural stages. He takes the tendency 
towards incest to be an absolute concrete sexual wish, lacking 
only the quality of consciousness. He calls this complex the 
root-complex, or nucleus, of the neuroses, and is inclined, view- 
ing this as the original one, to reduce nearly the whole psychology 
of the neuroses, as well as many other phenomena in the world 
of mind, to this complex. 


With this conception of Freud's we have to return to the 
question of the etiology of the neuroses. We have seen that the 
psychoanalytic theory began with a traumatic event in child- 
hood, which was only later on found to be a phantasy, at least 
in many cases. In consequence, the theory became modified, and 
tried to find in the development of abnormal phantasy the main 
etiological significance. The investigation of the unconscious, 
made by the collaboration of many workers, carried on over a 
space of ten years, provided an extensive empirical material, 
which demonstrated that the incest-complex was the beginning 
of the morbid phantasies. But it was no longer thought that the 
incest-complex was a special complex of neurotic people. It was 
demonstrated to be a constituent of a normal infantile psyche 
too. We cannot tell, by its mere existence, if this complex will 
give rise to a neurosis or not. To become pathogenic, it must 
give rise to a conflict; that is, the complex, which in itself is 
harmless, has to become dynamic, and thus give rise to a conflict. 

Herewith, we come to a new and important question. The 
whole etiological problem is altered, if the infantile " root- 
complex " is only a general form, which is not pathogenic in itself, 
and requires, as we saw in our previous exposition, to be sub- 
sequently set in action. Under these circumstances, we dig in 
vain among the reminiscences of earliest childhood, as they give 
us only the general forms of the later conflicts, but not the con- 
flict itself. 

I believe the best thing I can do is to describe the further 
development of the theory by demonstrating the case of that 
young lady whose story you have heard in part in one of the 
former lectures. You will probably remember that the shying 
of the horses, by means of the anamnestic explanation, brought 
back the reminiscence of a comparable scene in childhood. We 
here discussed the trauma theory. We found that we had to 



look for the real pathological element in the exaggerated phan- 
tasy, which took its origin in a certain retardation of the psychic 
sexual development. We have now to apply our theoretical 
standpoint to the origin of this particular type of illness, so that 
we may understand how, just at that moment, this event of her 
childhood, >;hich seemed to be of such potency, could come to 

The simplest way to come to an understanding of this im- 
portant event would be by making an exact inquiry into the cir- 
cumstances of the moment. The first thing I did was to question 
the patient about the society in which she had been at that time, 
and as to what was the farewell gathering to which she had been 
just before. She had been at a farewell supper, given in honor 
of her best friend, who was going to a foreign health-resort for 
a nervous illness. We hear that this friend is happily married, 
and is the mother of one child. We have some right to doubt 
this assertion of her happiness. If she were really happily 
married, she probably would not be nervous and would not need 
a cure. When I put my question differently, I learned that my 
patient had been brought back into the host's house as soon as 
she was overtaken by her friends, as this house was the nearest 
place to bring her to in safety. In her exhausted condition she 
received his hospitality. As the patient came to this part of her 
history she suddenly broke off, was embarrassed, fidgetted and 
tried to turn to another subject. Evidently we had now come upon 
some disagreeable reminiscences, which suddenly presented them- 
selves. After the patient had overcome obstinate resistances, it 
was admitted that something very remarkable had happened that 
night. The host made her a passionate declaration of love, thus 
giving rise to a situation that might well be considered difficult 
and painful, considering the absence of the hostess. Ostensibly 
this declaration came like a flash of lightning from a clear sky. 
A small dose of criticism applied to this assertion will teach us 
that these things never drop from the clouds, but have always 
their previous history. It was the work of the following weeks 
to dig out piecemeal a whole, long love-story. 

I can thus roughly describe the picture I got at finally. As a 
child the patient was thoroughly boyish, loved only turbulent 
games for boys, laughed at her own sex, and flung aside all 


feminine ways and occupations. After puberty, the time when 
the sex-question should have come nearer to her, she began to 
shun all society; she hated and despised, as it were, everything 
which could remind her even remotely of the biological destina- 
tion of mankind, and lived in a world of phantasies which had 
nothing in common with the rude reality. So she escaped, up to- 
her twenty-fourth year, all the little adventures, hopes and ex- 
pectations which ordinarily move a woman of this age. (In this 
respect women are very often remarkably insincere towards 
themselves and towards the physician.) But she became ac- 
quainted with two men who were destined to destroy the thorny 
hedge which had grown all around her. Mr. A. was the husband 
of her best friend at the time; Mr. B. was the bachelor- friend 
of this family. Both were to her taste. It seemed to her pretty 
soon that Mr. B. was much more sympathetic to her, and from 
this resulted a more intimate relationship between herself and 
him, and the possibility of an engagement was discussed. 
Through her relations with Mr. B., and through her friend, she 
met Mr. A. frequently. In an inexplicable way his presence very 
often excited her and made her nervous. Just at this time our 
friend went to a big party. All her friends were there. She 
became lost in thought, and played as in a dream with her ring, 
which suddenly slipped from her hand and rolled under the 
table. Both men tried to find it, and Mr. B. managed to get it. 
With an expressive smile he put the ring back on her finger and 
said : " You know what this means ? " At that moment a strange 
and irresistible feeling came over her, she tore the ring from her 
finger and threw it out of the open window. Evidently a painful 
moment ensued, and she soon left the company, feeling deeply 
depressed. A short time later she found herself, for her holi- 
days, accidentally in the same health-resort where Mr. A. and his 
wife were staying. Mrs. A. now became more and more nervous, 
and, as she felt ill, had to stay frequently at home. The patient 
often went out with Mr. A. alone/ One day they were out in a 
small boat. She was boisterously merry, and suddenly fell over- 
board. Mr. A. saved her with great difficulty, and lifted her, 
half unconscious, into the boat. He then kissed her. With this 
romantic event the bonds were woven fast. To defend herself, 
our patient tried energetically to get herself engaged to Mr. B., 


and to imagine that she loved him. Of course this queer play 
did not escape the sharp eye of feminine jealousy. Mrs. A., her 
friend, felt the secret, was worried by it, and her nervousness 
grew proportionately. It became more and more necessary for 
her to go to a foreign health-resort. The farewell-party was a 
dangerous opportunity. The patient knew that her friend and 
rival was going off the same evening, so Mr. A. would be alone. 
Certainly she did not see this opportunity clearly, as women have 
the notable capacity "to think" purely emotionally, and not in- 
tellectually. For this reason, it seems to them as if they never 
thought about certain matters at all, but as a matter of fact she had 
a queer feeling all the evening. She felt extremely nervous, and 
when Mrs. A. had been accompanied to the station and had gone, 
the hysterical attack occurred on her way back. I asked her of 
what she had been thinking, or what she felt at the actual moment 
when the trotting horses came along. Her answer was, she had 
only a frightful feeling, the feeling that something dreadful was 
very near to her, which she could not escape. As you know, the 
consequence was that the exhausted patient was brought back 
into the house of the host, Mr. A. A simple human mind would 
understand the situation without difficulty. An uninitiated person 
would say: "Well, that is clear enough, she only intended to 
return by one way or another to Mr. A.'s house," but the psy- 
chologist would reproach this layman for his incorrect way of 
expressing himself, and would tell him that the patient was not 
conscious of the motives of her behavior, and that it was, there- 
fore, not permissible to speak of the patient's intention to return 
to Mr. A.'s house. 

There are, of course, learned psychologists who are capable of 
furnishing many theoretical reasons for disputing the meaning of 
this behavior. They base their reasons on the dogma of the 
identity of consciousness and psyche. The psychology inaugu- 
rated by Freud recognized long ago that it is impossible to esti- 
mate psychological actions as to their final meaning by conscious 
motives, but that the objective standard of their psychological 
results has to be applied for their right evaluation. Now-a-days 
it cannot be contested any longer that there are unconscious 
tendencies too, which have a great influence on our modes of 
reaction, and on the effects to which these in turn give rise. 


What 'happened in Mr. A.'s house bears out this observation ; our 
patient made a sentimental scene, and Mr. A. was induced to 
answer it with a declaration of love. Looked at in the light of 
this last event, the whole previous history seems to be very in- 
geniously directed towards just this end, but throughout the con- 
science of the patient struggled consciously against it. Our theo- 
retical profit from this story is the clear perception that an un- 
conscious purpose or tendency has brought on to the stage the 
scene of the fright from the horses, utilizing thus very possibly 
that infantile reminiscence, where the shying horses galloped 
towards the catastrophe. Reviewing the whole material, the 
scene with the horses the starting point of the illness seems 
now to be the keystone of a planned edifice. The fright, and the 
apparent traumatic effect of the event in childhood, are only 
brought on the stage in the peculiar way characteristic of hysteria. 
But what is thus put on the stage has become almost a reality. 
We know from hundreds of experiences that certain hysterical 
pains are only put on the stage in order to reap certain advan- 
tages from the sufferer's surroundings. The patients not only 
believe that they suffer, but their sufferings are, from a psycho- 
logical standpoint, as real as those due to organic causes; never- 
theless, they are but stage-effects. 


This utilization of reminiscences to put on the stage any ill- 
ness, or an apparent etiology, is called a regression of the libido. 
The libido goes back to reminiscences, and makes them actual, 
so that an apparent etiology is produced. In this case, by the old 
theory, the fright from the horses would seem to be based on a 
former shock. The resemblance between the two scenes is un- 
mistakable, and in both cases the patient's fright is absolutely 
real. At any rate, we have no reason to doubt her assertions in 
this respect, as they are in full harmony with all other experi- 
ences. The nervous asthma, the hysterical anxiety, the psycho- 
genie depressions and exaltations, the pains, the convulsions 
they are all very real, and that physician who has himself suffered 
from a psychogenic symptom knows that it feels absolutely real. 
Regressively re-lived reminiscences, even if they were but phan- 


tasies, are as real as remembrances of events that have once 
been real. 

As the term " regression of libido " shows, we understand by 
this retrograde mode of application of the libido, a retreat of the 
libido to former stages. In our example, we are able to recog- 
nize clearly the way the process of regression is carried on. At 
that farewell party, which proved a good opportunity to be alone 
with the host, the patient shrank from the idea of turning this 
opportunity to her advantage, and yet was overpowered by her 
desires, which she had never consciously realized up to that 
moment. The libido was not used consciously for that definite 
purpose, nor was this purpose ever acknowledged. The libido 
had to carry it out through the unconscious, and through the pre- 
text of the fright caused by an apparently terrible danger. Her 
feeling at the moment when the horses approached illustrates our 
formula most clearly ; she felt as if something inevitable had now 
to happen. 

The process of regression is beautifully demonstrated in an 
illustration already used by Freud. The libido can be compared 
with a stream which is dammed up as soon as its course meets 
any impediment, whence arises an inundation. If this stream has 
previously, in its upper reaches, excavated other channels, then 
these channels will be filled up again by reason of the damming 
below. To a certain extent they would appear to be real river 
beds, filled with water as before, but at the same time, they only 
have a temporary existence. It is not that the stream has per- 
manently chosen the old channels, but only for as long as the 
impediment endures in the main stream. The affluents do not 
always carry water, because they were from the first, as it were, 
not independent streams, but only former stages of development 
of the main river, or passing possibilities, to which an inundation 
has given the opportunity for fresh existence. This illustration 
can directly be transferred to the development of the application 
of the libido. The definite direction, the main river, is not yet 
found during the childish development of sexuality. The libido 
goes instead into all possible by-paths, and only gradually does 
the definite form develop. But the more the stream follows out 
its main channel, the more the affluents will dry up and lose their 
importance, leaving only traces of former activity. Similarly, 


the importance of the childish precursors of sexuality disappears 
completely as a rule, only leaving behind certain traces. 

If in later life an impediment arises, so that the damming of 
the libido reanimates the old by-paths, the condition thus excited 
is properly a new one, and something abnormal. 

The former condition of the child is normal usage of the 
libido, whilst the return of the libido towards the childish past is 
something abnormal. Therefore, in my opinion, it is an erro- 
neous terminology to call the infantile sexual manifestations "per- 
versions," for it is not permissible to give normal manifestations 
pathological terms. This erroneous usage seems to be responsible 
for the confusion of the scientific public. The terms employed 
in neurotic psychology have been misapplied here, under the as- 
sumption that the abnormal by-paths of the libido discovered in 
neurotic people are the same phenomena as are to be found in 


The so-called amnesia of childhood, which plays an impor- 
tant part in the "Three Contributions," is a similar illegitimate 
retrograde application from pathology. Amnesia is a patholog- 
ical condition, consisting in the repression of certain contents of 
the conscious. This condition cannot possibly be the same as the 
antegrade amnesia of children, which consists in an incapacity for 
intentional reproduction, a condition we find also among savages. 
This incapacity for reproduction dates from birth, and can be 
understood on obvious anatomical and biological grounds. It 
would be a strange hypothesis were we willing to regard this 
totally different quality of early infantile consciousness as one to 
be attributed to repression, in analogy with the condition in 
neurosis. The amnesia of neurosis is punched out, as it were, 
from the continuity of memory, but the remembrances of earlier 
childhood exist in separate islands in the continuity of the non- 
memory. This condition is the opposite in every sense of the 
condition of neurosis, so that the expression "amnesia," gener- 
ally used for this condition, is incorrect. The " amnesia of child- 
hood" is a conclusion a posteriori from the psychology of neu- 
rosis, just as is the " polymorphic perverse " disposition of the 



This error in the theoretical conception is shown clearly in the 
so-called latent sexual period of childhood. Freud has remarked 
that the early infantile so-called sexual manifestations, which I 
now call the phenomena of the pre-sexual stage, vanish after a 
while, and only reappear much later. Everything that Freud 
has termed the " suckling's masturbation," that is to say, all those 
sexual-like actions of which we spoke before, are said to return 
later as real onanism. Such a process of development would be 
biologically unique. In conformity with this theory one would 
have to say, for instance, that when a plant forms a bud, from 
which a blossom begins to unfold, the blossom is taken back 
again before it is fully developed, and is again hidden within the 
bud, to reappear later on in the same form. This impossible sup- 
position is a consequence of the assertion that the early infantile 
activities of the pre-sexual stage are sexual phenomena, and that 
those manifestations, which resemble masturbation, are genuinely 
acts of masturbation. In this way Freud had to assert that there 
is a disappearance of sexuality, or, as he calls it, a latent sexual 
period. What he calls a disappearance of sexuality is nothing 
but the real beginning of sexuality, everything preceding was but 
the fore-stage to which no real sexual character can be imputed. 
In this way, the impossible phenomenon of the latent period is 
very simply explained. This theory of the latent sexual period 
is a striking instance of the incorrectness of the conception of the 
early infantile sexuality. But there has been no error of obser- 
vation. On the contrary, the hypothesis of the latent sexual 
period proves how exactly Freud noticed the apparent recom- 
mencement of sexuality. The error lies in the conception. As 
we saw before, the first mistake consists in a somewhat old- 
fashioned conception of the multiplicity of instincts. If we ac- 
cept the idea of two or more instincts existing side by side, we 
must naturally conclude that, if one instinct has not yet become 
manifest, it is present in nuce in accordance with the theory of 
pre-formation. In the physical sphere we should perhaps have 
to say that, when a piece of iron passes from the condition of 
heat to the condition of light, the light was already existent in 
nuce (latent) in the heat. Such assumptions are arbitrary pro- 


jections of human ideas into transcendental regions, contravening 
the prescription of the theory of cognition. 

We have thus no right to speak of a sexual instinct existing 
in nuce, as we then give an arbitrary explanation of phenomena 
which can be explained otherwise, and in a more adequate 
manner. We can speak of the manifestations of a nutrition in- 
stinct, of the manifestations of a sexual instinct, etc., but we have 
only the right to do so when the function has quite clearly reached 
the surface. We only speak of light when the iron is visibly 
luminous, but not when the iron is merely hot. Freud, as an 
observer, sees clearly that the sexuality of neurotic people is not 
entirely comparable with infantile sexuality, for there is a great 
difference, for instance, between the uncleanliness of a child of 
two years old and the uncleanliness of a katatonic patient of 
forty. The former is a psychological and normal phenomenon; 
the latter is extraordinarily pathological. Freud inserted a short 
passage in his " Three Contributions " saying that the infantile 
form of neurotic sexuality is either wholly, or at any rate partly, 
due to a regression. That is, even in those cases where we might 
say, these are still the same by-paths, we find that the function of 
the by-paths is still increased by regression. Freud thus recog- 
nizes that the infantile sexuality of neurotic people is -for the 
greater part a regressive phenomenon. That this must be so is 
also shown through the further insight obtained from the investi- 
gations of recent years, that the observations concerning the psy- 
chology of the childhood of neurotic people hold equally good 
for normal people. At any rate we can say that the history of 
the development of infantile sexuality in persons with neurosis 
differs but by a hair's breadth from that of normal beings who 
have escaped the attention of the expert appraiser. Striking 
differences are exceptional. 


The more we penetrate into the heart of infantile develop- 
ment, the more we receive the impression that as little can be 
found there of etiological significance, as in the infantile shock. 
Even with the acutest ferreting into history, we shall never dis- 
cover why people living on German soil had just such a fate, and 


why the Gauls another. The further we get away, in analytical 
investigations from the epoch of the manifest neurosis, the less 
can we expect to find the real motive of the neurosis, since the 
dynamic disproportions grow fainter and fainter the further we 
go back into the past. In constructing our theory so as to deduce 
the neurosis from causes in the distant past, we are first and 
foremost obeying the impulse of our patients to withdraw them- 
selves as far as possible from the critical present. The patho- 
genic conflict exists only in the present moment. It is just as if 
a nation wanted to regard its miserable political conditions at the 
actual moment as due to the past ; as if the Germany of the iQth 
century had attributed its political dismemberment and incapacity 
to its suppression by the Romans, instead of having sought the 
actual sources of her difficulties in the present. Only in the 
actual present are the effective causes, and only here are the pos- 
sibilities of removing them. 


A greater part of the psychoanalytic school is under the spell 
of the conception that the conflicts of childhood are conditio sine 
qua non for the neuroses. It is not only the theorist, who studies 
the psychology of childhood from scientific interest, but the prac- 
tical man also, who believes that he has to turn the history of 
infancy inside out to find there the dynamic source of the actual 
neurosis it were a fruitless enterprise if done under this pre- 
sumption. In the meantime, the most important factor escapes 
the analyst, namely, the conflict and the claims of the present 
time. In the case before us, we should not understand any of 
the motives which produced the hysterical attacks if we looked 
for them in earliest childhood. It is the form alone which those 
reminiscences determine to a large extent, but the dynamic 
originates from the present time. The insight into the actual 
meaning of these motives is real understanding. 

We can now understand why that moment was pathogenic, 
as well as why it chose those particular symbols. Through the 
conception of regression, the theory is freed from the narrow 
formula of the importance of the events in childhood, and the 
actual conflict thus gets that significance which, from an empirical 
standpoint, belongs to it implicitly. Freud himself introduced 


the conception of regression in his " Three Contributions," ac- 
knowledging rightly that our observations do not permit us to 
seek the cause of neurosis exclusively in the past. If it is true, 
then, that reminiscent matter becomes active again as a rule by 
regression, we have to consider the following question : Have, per- 
haps, the apparent effective results of reminiscences to be re- 
ferred in general to a regression of the libido? As I said before, 
Freud suggested in his " Three Contributions," that the infantil- 
ism of neurotic sexuality was, for the greater part, due to the 
regression of the libido. This statement deserves greater prom- 
inence than it there received. Freud did give it this prominence 
in his later works to a somewhat greater extent. 

The recognition of the regression of the libido very largely 
reduces the etiological significance of the events of childhood. 
It has already seemed to us rather astonishing that the CEdipus- 
or the Electra-complex should have a determining value in regard 
to the onset of a neurosis, since these complexes exist in every- 
one. They exist even with those persons who have never known 
their own father and mother, but have been educated by their 
step-parents. I have analyzed cases of this kind, and found that 
the incest-complex was as well developed as in other patients. It 
seems to us that this is good proof that the incest-complex is 
much more a purely regressive production of phantasies than a 
reality. From this standpoint, the events in childhood are only 
significant for the neuroses in so far as they are revived later 
through a regression of the libido. That this must be true to a 
great extent is also shown by the fact that the infantile sexual 
shock never causes hysteria, nor does the incest-complex, which 
is common to everyone. The neurosis only begins as soon as 
the incest-complex becomes actuated by regression. 

So we come to the question, why does the libido make a 
regression? To answer it we must study carefully under what 
circumstances regression arises. In treating this problem with 
my patients, I generally give the following example: While a 
.mountain climber is attempting the ascent of a certain peak, he 
happens to meet with an insurmountable obstacle, let us say, some 
precipitous rocky wall which cannot be surmounted. After hav- 
ing vainly sought for another path, he will have to return and 
regretfully abandon the climbing of that peak. He will say to 


himself : " It is not in my power to surmount this difficulty, so 
I will climb another easier mountain." In this case, we find 
there is a normal utilization of the libido. The man returns, 
when he finds an insurmountable difficulty, and uses his libido, 
which could not attain its original aim, for the ascent of another 
mountain. Now let us imagine that this rocky wall was not 
really unclimbable so far as his physique was concerned, but that 
from mere nervousness he withdrew from this somewhat difficult 
enterprise. In this case, there are two possibilities : I. The man 
will be annoyed by his own cowardice, and will wish to prove 
himself less timid on another occasion, or perhaps will even 
admit that with his timidity he ought never to undertake such a 
difficult ascent. At any rate, he will acknowledge that he has not 
sufficient moral capacity for these difficulties. He therefore uses 
that libido, which did not attain its original aim, for a useful 
self-criticism, and for sketching a plan by which he may be able, 
with due regard to his moral capacity, to realize his wish to 
climb. II. The possibility is, that the man does not realize his 
own cowardice, and declares off-hand that this mountain is 
physically unattainable, although he is quite able to see that, with 
sufficient courage, the obstacle could have been overcome. But 
he prefers to deceive himself. Thus the psychological situation 
which is of importance for our problem is created. 


Probably this man knows very well that it would have been 
physically possible to overcome the difficulty, that he was only 
morally incapable of doing so. He rejects this idea on account 
of its painful nature. He is so conceited that he cannot admit to 
himself his cowardice. He brags of his courage and prefers to 
declare things impossible rather than his own courage inadequate. 
But through this behavior he comes into opposition with his own 
self: on the one hand he has a right view of the situation, on 
the other he hides this knowledge from himself, behind the illusion 
of his infallible courage. He represses the proper view, and 
forcibly tries to impress his subjective, illusive opinion upon 
reality. The result of this contradiction is that the libido is 
divided, and that the two parts are directed against one another. 
He opposes his wish to climb a mountain by his artificial self- 


created opinion, that its ascent is impossible. He does not turn 
to the real impossibility, but to an artificial one, to a self-given 
limitation ; thus he is in disharmony with himself, and from this 
moment has an internal conflict. Now insight into his cowardice 
will get the upper hand ; now obstinacy and pride. In either case 
the libido is engaged in a useless civil war. Thus the man be- 
comes incapable of any enterprise. He will never realize his 
wish to climb a mountain, and he goes perfectly astray as to his 
moral qualities. He is therefore less capable of performing his 
work, he is not fully adapted, he can be compared to a neurotic 
patient. The libido which withdrew from before this difficulty 
has neither led to honest self-criticism, nor to a desperate struggle 
to overcome the obstacle; it has only been used to maintain his 
cheap pretence that the ascent was really impossible, even heroic 
courage could have availed nothing. Such a reaction is called 
an infantile reaction. It is very characteristic of children, and 
of naive minds, not to find the fault in their own shortcomings, 
but in external circumstances, and to impute to these their own 
subjective judgment. This man solves his problem in an infan- 
tile way, that is, he replaces the suitable mode of adaptation of 
our former case by a mode of adaptation belonging to the infan- 
tile mind. This is regression. His libido withdraws from an 
obstacle which cannot be surmounted, and replaces a real action 
by an infantile illusion. These cases are very commonly met 
with in practice among neurotics. I will remind you here of 
those well-known cases in which young girls become hysterical 
with curious suddenness just when they are called upon to 
decide about their engagements. As an instance, I should like 
to describe to you the case of two sisters, separated only by one 
year in age. They were similar in capacities and characters ; their 
education was the same ; they grew up in the same surroundings, 
and under the influence of their parents. Both were healthy; 
neither the one nor the other showed any nervous symptoms. 
An attentive observer might have discovered that the elder 
daughter was the more beloved by the parents. This affection 
depended on a certain sensitiveness which this daughter showed. 
She asked for more affection than the younger one, was also 
somewhat precocious and more serious. Besides, she showed 
some charming childish traits, just those things which, through 


their slightly capricious and unbalanced character, make a per- 
sonality especially charming. No wonder that father and 
mother had a great joy in their elder daughter. As both sisters 
became of marriageable age, almost at the same time they became 
intimately acquainted with two young men, and the possibility 
of their marriages soon approached. As is generally the case, 
certain difficulties existed. Both girls were young and had very 
little experience of the world. Both men were relatively young 
too, and in positions which might have been better; they were 
only at the beginning of a career, but nevertheless, both were 
capable young men. Both girls lived in a social atmosphere which 
gave them the right to certain social expectations. It was a 
situation in which a certain doubt as to the suitability of either 
marriage was permissible. Moreover, both girls were insuffi- 
ciently acquainted with their prospective husbands, and were 
therefore not quite sure of their love. There were many hesita- 
tions and doubts. Here it was noticed that the elder girl always 
showed greater waverings in her decisions. From these hesita- 
tions some painful moments arose between the girls and the 
young men, who naturally longed for more certainty. At such 
moments the elder sister was much more excited than the younger 
one. Several times she went weeping to her mother, complaining 
of her own hesitation. The younger one was somewhat more 
decided, and put an end to the unsettled situation by accepting 
her suitor. She thus got over her difficulty and the further 
events ran smoothly. As soon as the admirer of the elder sister 
became aware that the younger one had put matters on a surer 
footing, he rushed to his lady and begged in a somewhat passion- 
ate way for her acceptance. His passion irritated and frightened 
her a little, although she was really inclined to follow her sister's 
example. She answered in a somewhat haughty and offhand way. 
He replied with sharp reproaches, causing her to get still more 
excited. The end was a scene with tears, and he went away in 
an angry mood. At home, he told the story to his mother, who 
expressed the opinion that this girl was really unsuitable for him, 
and that it would be perhaps better to choose some one else. The 
girl, for her part, doubted very much if she really loved this man. 
It suddenly seemed to her impossible to follow him to an unknown 
destiny, and to be obliged to leave her beloved parents. From 


that moment, she was depressed ; she showed unmistakable signs 
of the greatest jealousy towards her sister, but would neither see 
nor admit that she was jealous. The former affectionate rela- 
tions with her parents changed also. Instead of her earlier 
childlike affection, she betrayed a lamentable state of mind, which 
increased sometimes to pronounced irritability ; weeks of depres- 
sion ensued. Whilst the younger sister celebrated her wedding, 
the elder went to a distant health-resort for a nervous intestinal 
trouble. I shall not continue the history of the disease ; it ended 
in an ordinary hysteria. 

In analyzing this case, great resistance to the sexual problem 
was found. The resistance depended on many perverse phan- 
tasies, the existence of which would not be admitted by the 
patient. The question, whence arose such perverse phantasies, 
so unexpected in a young girl, brought us to the discovery that 
once as a child, eight years old, she had found herself suddenly 
confronted in the street by an exhibitionist. She was rooted to 
the spot by fright, and even much later ugly images persecuted 
her in her dreams. Her younger sister was with her a.t the time. 
The night after the patient told me this, she dreamed of a man 
in a gray suit, who seemed about to do in front of her what the 
exhibitionist had done. She awoke with a cry of terror. The 
first association to the gray suit was a suit of her father's, which 
he had been wearing on an excursion which she made with him 
when she was about six years old. This dream connects the 
father, without any doubt, with the exhibitionist. This must be 
done for some reason. Did something happen with the father, 
which could possibly call forth this association? This problem 
met with great resistance from the patient. But she could not 
get rid of it. At the next sitting she reproduced some early 
reminiscences, when she had noticed her father undressing him- 
self. Again, she came one day excited and terribly shaken, and 
told me that she had had an abominable vision, absolutely distinct. 
In bed at night, she felt herself again a child of two or three years 
old, and she saw her father standing by her bed in an obscene 
attitude. The story was gasped out piece by piece, obviously with 
the greatest internal struggle. This was followed by violent 
reproaches, of how dreadful it is that a father should ever behave 
to his child in such a terrible manner. 


Nothing is less probable than that the father really did this. 
It is only a phantasy, probably first constructed in the course of 
the analysis from that same need of discovering a cause which 
once induced the physician to form the theory that hysteria was 
only caused by such impressions. This case seemed to me suit- 
able to demonstrate the meaning of the theory of regression, and 
to show at the same time the source of the theoretical mistakes 
so far. We saw that both sisters were originally only slightly 
different. From the moment of the engagement their ways were 
totally separated. They seemed now to have quite different char- 
acters. The one, vigorous in health, and enjoying life, was a 
good and courageous woman, willing to undertake the natural 
demands of life; the other was sad, ill-tempered, full of bitterness 
and malice, disinclined to make any effort towards a reasonable 
life, egotistical, quibbling, and a nuisance to all about her. This 
striking difference was only brought out when the one sister 
happily passed through the difficulties of her engagement, whilst 
the other did not. For both, it hung to a certain extent only on a 
hair, whether the affair would be broken off or not. The 
younger one, somewhat calmer, was therefore more deliberate, 
and able to find the right word at the right moment. The elder 
one was more spoiled and more sensitive, consequently more in- 
fluenced by her emotions, and could not find the right word, nor 
had she the courage to sacrifice her pride to put things straight 
afterwards. This little circumstance had a very important effect. 
Originally the conditions were much the same for both sisters. 
The greater sensitiveness of the elder produced the difference. 
The question now is: Whence arose this sensitiveness with its 
unfortunate results? The analysis demonstrated the existence of 
an extraordinarily developed sexuality of infantile phantastic 
character ; in addition, an incestuous phantasy towards the father. 
We have a quick and easy solution of the problem of this sensi- 
tiveness, if we admit that these phantasies had a lively, and there- 
fore effective existence. We might thus readily understand why 
this girl was so sensitive. She was shut up in her own phantasies 
and strongly attached to her father. Under these circumstances, 
it would have been really a wonder had she been willing to love 
and marry another man. The more we pursue our need for a 
causation, and pursue the development of these phantasies back 


to their beginning, the greater grow the difficulties of the analysis, 
that is to say, the resistances as we call them. At the end we 
should find that impressive scene, that obscene act, whose im- 
probability has already been established. This scene has exactly 
the character of a subsequent phantastic formation. Therefore, 
we have to conceive these difficulties, which we called " resist- 
ances," at least in this part of the analysis, as an opposition of 
the patient against the formation of such phantasies, and not 
as a resistance against the conscious admittance of a painful 

You will ask with astonishment, to what aim the patient con- 
trives such a phantasy ? You will even be inclined to suggest that 
the physician forced the patient to invent it, otherwise she would 
probably never have produced such an absurd idea. I do not 
venture to doubt that there have been cases in which, by dint of 
the physician's desire to find a cause, especially under the influence 
of the shock-theory, the patient has been brought to contrive 
such phantasies. But the physician would never have come to 
this theory, had he not followed the patient's line of thought, thus 
taking part in this retrograde movement of the libido which we 
call regression. The physician, consequently, only carried right 
through to its consequence what the patient was afraid to carry 
out, namely, a regression, a falling back of the libido to its former 
desires. The analysis, in following the libido-regression, does 
not always follow the exact way marked by its historical develop- 
ment, but very often rather a later phantasy, which only partly 
depends on former realities. In our case, only some of the cir- 
cumstances are real, and it is but much later that they get their 
-great importance, namely, at the moment when the libido re- 
gresses. Wherever the libido takes hold of a reminiscence, we 
may expect that this reminiscence will be elaborated and altered, 
as everything that is touched by the libido revives, takes on 
jdramatic form, and becomes systematized. We have to admit 
that, in our case, almost the greater part of these phantasies be- 
came significant subsequently, after the libido had made a regres- 
sion, after it had taken hold of everything that could be suitable, 
and had made out of all this a phantasy. Then that phantasy, 
keeping pace with the retrograde movement of the libido, came 
back at last to the father and put upon him all the infantile 


sexual desires. Even so it was thought in ancient times that the 
golden age of Paradise lay in the past! In the case before us we 
know that all the phantasies brought out by analysis did become 
subsequently of importance. From this standpoint only, we are 
not able to explain the beginning of the neurosis ; we should con- 
stantly move in a circle. The critical moment for this neurosis 
was that in which the girl and man were inclined to love one 
another, but in which an inopportune sensitiveness on the part of 
the patient caused the opportunity to slip by. 

The Conception of Sensitiveness. We might say, and the 
psychoanalytical conception inclines in this direction, that this 
critical sensitiveness arises from some peculiar psychological per- 
sonal history, which determined this end. We know that such 
sensitiveness in a psychogenic neurosis is always a symptom of a 
discord within the subject's self, a symptom of a struggle between 
two divergent tendencies. Both tendencies have their own pre- 
vious psychological story. In this case, we are able to show that 
this special resistance, the content of that critical sensitiveness, 
is, as a matter of fact, connected in the patient's previous history, 
with certain infantile sexual manifestations, and also with that 
so-called traumatic event all things which are capable of casting 
a shadow on sexuality. This would be so far plausible if the 
sister of the patient had not lived more or less the same life, with- 
out experiencing all these consequences. I mean, she did not 
develop a neurosis. So we have to agree that the patient ex- 
perienced these things in a special way, perhaps more intensely 
than the younger one. Perhaps also, the events of her earlier 
childhood were to her of a disproportionate importance. But if 
it had been the case to such a marked extent, something of it 
would surely have been noticed earlier. In later youth, the 
earlier events of childhood were as much forgotten by the patient 
as by her sister. Another supposition is therefore possible. This 
critical sensitiveness is not the consequence of the special pre- 
vious past history, but springs from something that had existed 
all along. A careful observer of small children can notice, even 
in early infancy, any unusual sensitiveness. I once analyzed a 
hysterical patient who showed me a letter written by her mother 
when this patient was two and a half years old. Her mother 
wrote about her and her sister. The elder was always good- 


tempered and enterprising, but the other was always in difficul- 
ties with both people and things. The first one became in later 
life hysterical, the other one katatonic. These far-reaching dif- 
ferences, which go back into earliest childhood, cannot depend 
on the more or less accidental events of life, but have to be con- 
sidered as being innate differences. From this point of view, 
we cannot any longer pretend that her special previous psycho- 
logical history caused this sensitiveness at that critical moment; 
it would be more correct to say: This innate sensitiveness is 
manifested most distinctly in uncommon situations. 

This surplus of sensitiveness is found very often as an enrich- 
ment of a personality contributing even more to the charm of the 
character than to its detriment. But in difficult and uncommon 
situations the advantage very often turns into a disadvantage, as 
the inopportunely excited emotion renders calm consideration im- 
posible. Nothing could be more incorrect than to consider this 
sensitiveness as eo ipso a morbid constituent of a character. If 
it really were so, we should have to regard at least one third of 
humanity as pathological. Only if the consequences of this sen- 
sitiveness are destructive to the individual have we a right to 
consider this quality as abnormal. 

Primary Sensitiveness and Regression. We come to this diffi- 
culty when we crudely oppose the two conceptions as to the sig- 
nificance of the previous psychological history as we have done 
here; in reality, the two are not mutually exclusive. A certain 
innate sensitiveness leads to a special psychological history, to 
special reactions to infantile events, which are not without their 
own influence on the development of the childish conception of 
life. Events bound up with powerful impressions can never pass 
without leaving some trace on sensitive people. Some of these 
often remain effective throughout life, and such events can exert 
an apparently determining influence on the whole mental develop- 
ment. Dirty and disillusional experiences in the domain of 
sexuality are specially apt to frighten a sensitive person for years 
and years. Under these conditions, the mere thought of sexu- 
ality raises the greatest resistances. As the creation of the 
shock-theory proved, we are too much inclined, in consequence of 
our knowledge of such cases, to attribute the emotional develop- 
ment of a person more or less to accidents. The earlier shock- 


theory went too far in this respect. We must never forget that 
the world is, in the first place, a subjective phenomenon. The 
impressions we receive -from these happenings are also our own 
doing. It is not the case that the impressions are forced on us 
unconditionally, but our disposition gives the value to the impres- 
sions. A man with stored-up libido will as a rule have quite 
different impressions, much more vivid impressions, than one 
who organizes his libido into a rich activity. Such a sensitive 
person will have a more profound impression from certain events 
which might harmlessly pass over a less sensitive subject. There- 
fore, in conjunction with the accidental impression, we have to 
consider seriously the subjective conditions. Our former con- 
siderations, and the observation of the concrete case especially, 
show us that the important subjective condition is the regression. 
It is shown by experience in practice, that the effect of regression / 
is so enormous, so important and so impressive, that we might 
perhaps be inclined to attribute the effect of accidental events to 
the mechanism of regression only. Without any doubt, there are 
cases in which everything is dramatized, where even the trau- 
matic events are artefacts of the imagination, and in which the 
few real events are subsequently entirely distorted through phan- 
tastic elaboration. We can simply say, that there is not a single 
case of neurosis, in which the emotional value of the preceding 
event is not considerably aggravated through the regression of 
libido, and even where great parts of the infantile development 
seem to be of extraordinary importance, they only gain this 
through regression. 

As is always the case, truth is found in the middle. The 
previous history has certainly a determining historic value, which 
is reinforced by the regression. Sometimes the traumatic sig- 
nificance of the previous history comes more into the foreground ; 
sometimes only the regressive meaning. These observations have 
naturally to be applied to the infantile sexual events too. Obvi- 
ously there are cases in which brutal sexual accidents justify the 
shadow thrown on sexuality, and explain thoroughly the later 
resistance of the individual towards sexuality. Dreadful im- 
pressions other than sexual can also sometimes leave behind a 
permanent feeling of insecurity, which may determine the indi- 
vidual in a hesitating attitude towards reality. Where real events 


of undoubted traumatic potentiality are wanting as is generally 
the case with neurosis there the mechanism of regression pre- 
vails. Of course, you could object that we have no criterion for 
the potential effect of the trauma or shock, as this is a highly 
relative conception. It is not quite so ; we have in the standard 
of the average normal a criterion for the potential effect of a 
shock. Whatever is capable of making a strong and persistent 
impression upon a normal person must be considered as having 
a determining influence for neurotics also. But we may not 
straightway attribute any importance, even in neurosis, to im- 
pressions which in a normal case would disappear and be for- 
gotten. In most of the cases where any event has an unexpected 
traumatic influence, we shall find in all probability a regression, 
that is to say, a secondary phantastic dramatization. The earlier 
in childhood an impression is said to have arisen, the more suspi- 
cious is its reality. Animals and primitive people have not that 
readiness in reproducing memories from a single impression which 
we find among civilized people. Very young children have by no 
means that impressionability which we find in older children. A 
certain higher development of the mental faculties is a necessary 
condition for impressionability. Therefore we may agree that 
the earlier a patient places some significant event in his child- 
hood, the more likely it will be a phantastic and regressive one. 
Important impressions are only to be expected from later youth. 
At any rate, we have generally to attribute to the events of 
earliest childhood, that is, from the fifth year backwards, but a 
regressive importance. Sometimes the regression does play an 
overwhelming part in later years, but even then one must not 
ascribe too little importance to accidental experiences. It is well 
known that, in the later course of a neurosis, the accidental events 
and the regression together form a vicious circle. The with- 
drawal from the experiences of life leads to regression, and the 
regression aggravates the resistances towards life. 

In the conception of regression psychoanalysis has made one 
of the most important discoveries which have been made in this 
sphere. Not only has the earlier exposition of the genesis of 
neurosis been already subverted, or at least widely modified, but, 
at the same time, the actual conflict has received its proper 



In the case I have described, we saw that we could understand 
the symptomatological dramatization as soon as it could be con- 
ceived as an expression of the actual conflict. Here the psycho- 
analytic theory agrees with the results of the association-experi- 
ments, of which I spoke in my lectures 10 at Clark University. 
The association-experiment, with a neurotic person, gives us a 
series of references to certain conflicts of the actual life, which 
we call complexes. These complexes contain those problems and 
difficulties which have brought the patient into opposition with 
himself. Generally we find a love-conflict of an obvious charac- 
ter. From the standpoint of the association-experiment, neurosis 
seems to be something quite different from what it appeared 
from the standpoint of the earlier psychoanalytic theory. Con- 
sidered from the standpoint of the latter theory, neurosis seemed 
to be a growth which had its roots in earliest childhood, and over- 
grew the normal structure. Considered from the standpoint of 
the association-experiment, neurosis seems to be a reaction from 
an actual conflict, which is naturally found also among normal 
people, but among them the conflict is solved without too great 
difficulty. The neurotic remains in the grip of his conflict, and 
his neurosis seems, more or less, to be the consequence of this 
stagnation. So we may say that the result of the association- 
experiments tell in favor of the theory of regression. 

With the former historical conception of neurosis, we thought 
we understood clearly why a neurotic person, with his powerful 
parent-complex, had such great difficulty in adapting himself to 
life. Now that we know that normal persons have the same 
complex, and in principle have to pass through just the same 
psychological development as a neurotic, we can no longer explain 
neurosis as a certain development of phantasy-systems. The 
really illuminating way to put the problem is a prospective one. 
We do not ask any longer if the patient has a father- or a mother- 
complex, or unconscious incest-phantasies which worry him. 
To-day, we know that every one has such things. The belief 
that only neurotics had these complexes was an error. We ask 
now : What is the task which the patient does not wish to fulfil ? 

10 Am. Journ. Psych., April, 1910. 


From which necessary difficulties of life does the patient try to 
withdraw himself? 

When people try always to adapt themselves to the condi- 
tions of life, the libido is employed rightly and adequately. When 
this is not the case, the libido is stored up and produces regressive 
symptoms. The inadequate adaptation, that is to say, the ab- 
normal indecision of neurotics in face of difficulties, is easily 
accounted for by their strong subjection to their phantasies, in 
consequence of which reality seems to them, wholly or partly, 
more unreal, valueless and uninteresting than to normal people. 
These heightened phantasies are the results of innumerable 
regressions. The ultimate and deepest root is the innate sensi- 
tiveness, which causes difficulties even to the infant at the 
mother's breast, in the form of unnecessary irritation and resist- 
ances. Call it sensitiveness or whatever you like, this unknown 
element of predisposition is in every case of neurosis. 


The apparent etiological development of neurosis, discovered 
by psychoanalysis, is in reality only the work of causally con- 
nected phantasies, which the patient has created from that libido 
which at times he did not employ in the biological adaptation. 
Thus, these apparently etiological phantasies seem to be forms 
of compensation, disguises, for an unfulfilled adaptation to reality. 
The vicious circle previously mentioned between the withdrawing 
in the face of difficulties and the regression into the world of 
phantasies, is naturally well-suited to give the illusion of an 
apparent striking causal relationship, so that both the patient and 
the physician believe in it. In such a development accidental 
experiences are only " extenuating circumstances." I feel I 
must make allowance for those critics who, on reading the his- 
tory of 'psychoanalytic patients, get the impression of phantastic 
elaboration. Only they make the mistake of attributing the 
phantastic artefacts and far-fetched arbitrary symbolism to the 
suggestion and to the awful phantasy of the physician, instead of 
to the unequalled fertility of phantasy on the part of the patient. 
Of a truth, there is a good deal of artificial elaboration in the 
phantasies of a psychoanalytic case. There are generally sig- 


nificant signs of the patient's active imagination. The critics are 
not so wrong when they say that their neurotic patients have no 
such phantasies. I have no doubt that patients are unconscious 
of the greater part of their own phantasies. A phantasy only ' 
"really" exists in the unconscious, when it has some notable I 
effect upon the conscious, e. g., in the form of a dream ; otherwise, ' 
we may say with a clear conscience that it is not real. Every ' 
one who overlooks the frequently nearly imperceptible effects of 
unconscious phantasies upon the conscious, or renounces the 
fundamental, and technically incontestable analysis of dreams, 
can easily overlook the phantasies of his patients altogether. We 
are, therefore, inclined to smile when we hear this repeated objec- 
tion. But we must admit that there is some truth in it. The 
regressive tendency of the patient is strengthened by the atten- 
tion bestowed on it, and directed to the unconscious, that is to 
say, to the phantasies he discovers and forms during analysis. 
We might even perhaps go so far as to say that, during the time 
of analysis, this phantasy-production is greatly increased, as the 
patient is strengthened in his regressive tendency, by the interest 
taken by the physician and originates even more phantasies than 
he did before. Hence, our critics have repeatedly stated that a 
conscientious therapy of the neurosis should go in exactly the 
opposite direction to that taken by psychoanalysis ; in other words, 
it has been the chief endeavor of therapy, hitherto, to extricate 
the patient from his unhealthy phantasies and bring him back 
again to real life. 


While the psychoanalyst, of course, knows of this therapeutic 
tendency to extricate the patient from his unhealthy phantasies, he 
also knows just how far this mere extricating of neurotic patients 
from their phantasies goes. As physicians, we should never think 
of preferring a difficult and complicated method, assailed by all 
authorities, to a simple, clear and easy one without good reason. 
I am perfectly well-acquainted with hypnotic suggestion, and 
with Dubois' method of persuasion, but I do not use these 
methods, on account of their relative inadequacy. For the same 
reason, I do not use the direct " re-education de la volonte " as 
the psychoanalytic method gives me better results. 

In applying psychoanalysis we must grant the regressive 
phantasies of the patient, for psychoanalysis has a much broader 
outlook, as regards the valuation of symptoms, than have the 
above psychotherapeutic methods. These all emanate from the 
assertion that a neurosis is an absolute morbid formation. 

The reigning school of neurology has never thought of con- 
sidering neurosis as a healing process also, and of attributing to 
the neurotic formations a quite special teleological meaning. 
Neurosis, like every other disease, is a compromise between the 
morbid tendencies, and the normal function. Modern medicine 
no longer considers fever as the illness itself, but a purposeful 
reaction of the organism. Psychoanalysis, likewise, no longer 
conceives a neurosis as eo ipso morbid, but as also having a 
-meaning and a purpose. From this there follows the more 
reserved and expectant attitude of psychoanalysis towards 
neurosis. Psychoanalysis does not judge the value of the symp- 
toms, but first tries to understand what tendencies lie beneath 
these symptoms. If we were able to abolish a neurosis in the 
same way, for instance, as a cancer is destroyed, then at the same 
time there would be destroyed a great amount of available energy 
also. We save this energy, that is, we make it serve the purposes 



of the instinct "for health, as soon as we can trace the meaning 
of these symptoms; by taking part in the regressive movement of 
the patient. Those unfamiliar with the essentials of psycho- 
analysis will have some difficulty in understanding how a thera- 
peutic effect can come to pass when the physician takes part in 
the pernicious phantasies of the patient. Not only critics, but 
the patients also, doubt the therapeutic value of such a method, 
which concentrates attention upon phantasies which the patient 
rejects as worthless and reprehensible. The patients will often 
tell you that their former physicians forbade them to occupy 
themselves with their phantasies, and told them that they must 
only consider that it is well with them,. when they are free, if 
but momentarily, from their awful torments. So, it seems strange 
enough that it should be of any use to them, when the treatment 
brings them back to the very thing from which they have tried 
constantly to escape. The following answer may be made: all 
depends upon the position which the patient takes up towards 
his own phantasies. These phantasies have been hitherto, for the 
patient, an absolutely passive and involuntary manifestation. As 
we say, he was lost in his dreams. The patient's so-called brood- 
ing is an involuntary kind of dreaming too. What psychoanalysis 
demands from a patient is only apparently the same. Only a 
man who has a very superficial knowledge of psychoanalysis can 
confuse this passive dreaming with the position taken up in 
analysis. What psychoanalysis asks from the patient is just the 
contrary of what the patient has always done. The patient can 
be compared to a person who, unintentionally, has fallen into the 
water and sunk, whilst psychoanalysis wants him to dive in, as 
it was no mere chance which led him to fall in at just that spot. 
There lies a sunken treasure, and only a diver can raise it. 

The patient, judging his phantasies from the standpoint of 
his reason, regards them as valueless and senseless; but, in 
reality, the phantasies have their great influence on the patient 
because they are of great importance. They are old, sunken 
treasures, which can only be recovered by a diver, that is, the 
patients, contrary to their wont, must now pay an active atten- 
tion to their inner life. Where they formerly dreamed, they 
must now think, consciously and intentionally. This new way of 
thinking about himself has about as much resemblance to the 


patient's former mental condition as a diver has to a drowning 
man. The earlier joy in indulgence has now become a purpose 
and an aim that is, has become work. The patient, assisted by 
the physician, occupies himself with his phantasies, not to lose 
himself therein, but to uproot them, piece by piece, and to bring 
them into daylight. He thus reaches an objective standpoint 
towards his inner life, and everything he formerly loathed and 
feared is now considered consciously. This contains the basis of 
the whole psychoanalytic therapy. In consequence of his illness, 
the patient stood, partially or totally, outside of real life. Con- 
sequently he neglected many of his life's duties, either in regard 
to social work or to the ordinary daily tasks. If he wishes to be 
well, he must return to the fulfilment of his particular obligations. 
Let me say, by way of caution, that we are not to understand by 
such " duties," some general ethical postulates, but duties towards 
himself. Nor does this mean that they are eo ipso egoistic inter- 
ests, since we are social beings as well, a matter too easily for- 
gotten by individualists. An ordinary person will feel very much 
more comfortable sharing a common virtue than possessing an 
individual vice, even if the latter is a very seductive one. They 
must be already neurotic, or otherwise extraordinary people who 
can be deluded by such particular interests. /The neurotic fled 
from his duties and his libido withdrew, at least partly, from the 
tasks imposed by real life. In consequence, the libido became 
introverted and directed towards an inner life. The libido fol- 
lowed the path of regression: to a large extent phantasies re- 
placed reality, because the patient refused to overcome certain 
real difficulties. Unconsciously the neurotic patient prefers and 
very often consciously too his dreams and phantasies to reality. 
To bring him back to real life and to the fulfilment of its neces- 
sary duties, the analysis proceeds along the same false path of 
regression which has been taken by his libido; so that the begin- 
ning of psychoanalysis looks as if it were supporting the morbid 
tendencies of the patient. But psychoanalysis follows these 
phantasies, these wrong paths, in order to restore the libido, which 
is the valuable part of the phantasies, to the conscious self and 
to the duties of the moment. This can only be done by bringing 
the phantasies into the light of day, and along with them the 
libido bound up with them. We might leave these unconscious 


phantasies to their shadowy existence, if no libido were attached 
to them. It is unavoidable that the patient, feeling himself at 
the beginning of analysis confirmed in his regressive tendencies, 
leads his analytical interest, amid increasing resistances, down 
to the depths of the shadowy world. We can easily understand 
that any physician who is a normal person experiences the great- 
est resistance towards the thoroughly morbid, regressive tend- 
ency of the patient, since he feels quite certain that this tendency 
is pathological. And this all the more because, as physician, he 
believes he is right in refusing to give heed to his patient's phan- 
tasies. It is quite conceivable that the physician feels a repulsion 
towards this tendency; it is undoubtedly repugnant to see how 
a person is completely given up to such phantasies, finding only 
himself of any importance and never ceasing to admire or despise 
himself. The esthetic sense of normal people has, as a rule, little 
pleasure in neurotic phantasies, even if it does not find them abso- 
lutely repulsive. The psychoanalyst must put aside such esthetic 
judgment, just as every physician must, who really tries to help 
his patients. He may not fear any dirty work. Of course there 
are a great many patients physically ill, who, without undergoing 
an exact examination or local treatment, do recover by the use 
of general physical, dietetic, or suggestive means. Severe cases 
can, however, only be helped by a more exact examination and 
therapy, based on a profound knowledge of the illness. Our 
psychotherapeutic methods hitherto have been like these general 
measures. In slight cases they did no harm; on the contrary, 
they were often of great service. But for a great many patients 
these measures have proved inadequate. If they really can be 
helped, it will be by psychoanalysis, which is not to say that 
psychoanalysis is a universal panacea. Such a sneer proceeds 
only from ill-natured criticism. We know very well that psycho- 
analysis fails in many cases. As everybody knows, we shall never 
be able to cure all illnesses. 

This " diving " work of analysis brings dirty matter piecemeal 
out of the slime, which must then be cleansed before we can tell 
its value. The dirty phantasies are valueless and are thrown 
aside, but the libido actuating them is of value and this, after 
cleansing, becomes serviceable again. To the psychoanalyst, as 
to every specialist, it will sometimes seem that the phantasies have 


also a value of their own, and not only by reason of the libido 
linked with them. But their value is not, in the first instance, for 
the patient. For the physician, these phantasies have a scien- 
tific value, just as it is of special interest to the surgeon to know 
whether the pus contained staphylococci or streptococci. To the 
patient it is all the same, and for him, it is better that the doctor 
conceal his scientific interest, in order not to tempt him to have 
greater pleasure than necessary in his phantasies. The etiolog- 
ical importance which is attached to these phantasies, incorrectly, 
to my mind, explains why so much room is given up in psycho- 
analytic literature to the extensive discussion of the various 
sexual phantasies. Once it is known that absolutely nothing is 
impossible in the sphere of sexual phantasy, the former estimate 
of these phantasies will disappear, and therewith the endeavor to 
discover in them an etiological import. Nor will the most ex- 
tended discussion of these cases ever be able to exhaust this 

Every case is theoretically inexhaustible. But in general the 
production of phantasies ceases after a time. Naturally, we must 
not conclude from this that the possibility of creating phantasies 
is exhausted, but the cessation in their production only means 
that there is then no more libido on the path of regression. The 
end of the regressive movement is reached as soon as the libido 
takes hold of the present real duties of life, and is used to solve 
those problems. But there are cases, and these not a few, where 
the patient continues longer than usual to produce endless phan- 
tastic manifestations, either from his own pleasure in them or 
from certain false expectations on the part of the doctor. Such 
a mistake is especially easy for beginners, since, blinded by the 
present psychoanalytical discussion, they keep their interest fixed 
on these phantasies, because they seem to possess etiological sig- 
nificance. They are therefore constantly at pains to fish up 
phantasies of early childhood, vainly hoping to find thus the solu- 
tion of the neurotic difficulties. They do not see that the solution 
lies in action, and in the fulfilment of certain necessary duties of 
life. It will be objected that the neurosis is entirely due to the 
incapacity of the patient to carry out these very demands of life, 
and that therapy by the analysis of the unconscious ought to 
enable him to do so, or at least, give him means to do so. The 


objection put in this way is perfectly valid, but we have to add 
that it is only so when the patient is really conscious of the duties 
he has to fulfil, not only academically, in their general theoretical 
outlines but in their most minute details. It is characteristic for 
neurotic people to be wanting in this knowledge, although, because 
of their intelligence, they are well aware of the general duties of 
life, and struggle, perhaps only too hard, to fulfil the prescriptions 
of current morality. But the much more important duties which 
he ought to fulfil towards himself are to a great extent unknown 
to the neurotic ; sometimes even they are not known at all. It is 
not enough, therefore, to follow the patient blindfold on the path 
of regression, and to push him by an inopportune etiological in- 
terest back into his infantile phantasies. I have often heard 
from patients, with whom the psychoanalytic treatment has come 
to a standstill : " The doctor believes I must have somewhere some 
infantile trauma, or an infantile phantasy which I am still repress- 
ing." Apart from the cases where this supposition was really 
true, I have seen cases in which the stoppage was caused by the 
fact that the libido, hauled up by the analysis, sank back into the 
depths again for want of employment. This was due to the 
physician's attention being directed entirely to the infantile phan- 
tasies, and his failing therefore to see what duties of the moment 
the patient had to fulfil. The consequence was that the libido 
brought forth by analysis always sank back again, as no oppor- 
tunity for further activity was found. 

There are many patients who, on their own account, discover 
their life-tasks and abandon the production of regressive phan- 
tasies pretty soon, because they prefer to live in reality, rather \ 
than in their phantasies. It is a pity that this cannot be said of 
all patients. A good many of them forsake for a long time, or 
even forever, the fulfilment of their life-tasks, and prefer their 
idle neurotic dreaming. I must again emphasize that we do not 
understand by "dreaming" always a conscious phenomenon. 

In accordance with these facts and these views, the character 
of psychoanalysis has changed during the course of time. If the 
first stage of psychoanalysis was perhaps a kind of surgery, which 
would remove from the mind of the patient the foreign body, 
the " blocked " affect, the later form has been a kind of historical 
method, which tries to investigate carefully the genesis of the 


neurosis, down to its smallest details, and to reduce it to its 
earliest origins. 


This last method has unmistakably been due to strong scien- 
tific interest, the traces of which are clearly seen in the delinea- 
tions of cases so far. Thanks to this, Freud was also able to dis- 
cover wherein lay the therapeutical effect of psychoanalysis. 
Whilst formerly this was sought in the discharge of the trau- 
matic affect, it was now seen that the phantasies produced 
were especially associated with the personality of the physician. 
Freud calls this process transference ("Uebertragung"), owing 
to the fact that the images of the parents ("imagines") are 
henceforth transferred to the physician, along with the infantile 
attitude of mind adopted towards the parents. The transference 
does not arise solely in the intellectual sphere, but the libido 
bound up with the phantasy is transferred, together with the 
phantasy itself, to the personality of the physician, so that the 
physician replaces the parents to a certain extent. All the ap- 
parently sexual phantasies which have been connected with the 
parents are now connected with the physician, and the less this is 
realized by the patient, the more he will be unconsciously bound 
to his physician. This recognition is in many ways of prime 

This process has an important biological value for the patient. 
The less libido he gives to reality, the more exaggerated will be 
his phantasies, and the more he will be cut off from the world. 
Typical of neurotic people is their attitude of disharmony towards 
reality, that is, their diminished capacity for adaptation. Through 
the transference to the physician, a bridge is built, across which 
the patient can get away from his family, into reality. In other 
words, he can emerge from his infantile environment into the 
world of grown-up people, for here the physician stands for a 
part of the extra-familial world. But on the other hand, this 
transference is a powerful hindrance to the progress of treatment, 
for the patient assimilates the personality of the physician as if 
he did stand for father or mother, and not for a part of the 
extra-familial world. If the patient could acquire the image of 
the physician as a part of the non-infantile world, he would gain 


a considerable advantage. But transference has the opposite 
effect; hence the whole advantage of the new acquisition is neu- 
tralized. The more the patient succeeds in regarding his doctor 
as he does any other individual, the more he is able to consider 
himself objectively, the greater becomes the advantage of trans- 
ference. The less he is able to consider his doctor in this way, 
the more the physician is assimilated with the father, the less is 
the advantage of the transference and the greater will be its harm. 
The familial environment of the patient has only become in- 
creased by an additional personality assimilated to his parents. 
The patient himself is, as before, still in his childish surround- 
ings, and therefore maintains his infantile attitude of mind. In 
this manner, all the advantages of transference can be lost. 

There are patients who follow the analysis with the greatest 
interest without making the slightest improvement, remaining 
extraordinarily productive in phantasies, although the whole de- 
velopment of their neurosis, even to the smallest details, has been 
brought to light. A physician under the influence of the his- 
torical view might be thus easily thrown into confusion, and 
would have to ask himself: What is there in this case still to be 
analyzed? Those are just the cases of which I spoke before, 
where it is no longer a matter of the analysis of the historical 
material, but we have now to face a practical problem, the over- 
coming of the inadequate infantile attitude of mind. Of course, 
the historical analysis would show repeatedly that the patient had 
a childish attitude towards his physician, but it would not bring 
us any solution of the question how that attitude could be changed. 
To a certain extent, this serious disadvantage of transference is 
found in every case. Gradually it has been proved that this part 
of psychoanalysis is, considered from a scientific standpoint, 
extraordinarily interesting and of great value, but in its practical 
aspect, of less importance than that which has now to follow, 
namely, the analysis of the transference. 


Before we enter into a more detailed consideration of this 
practical part of psychoanalysis, I should like to mention a 
parallelism between the first part of psychoanalysis and a his- 
torical institution of our civilization. It is not difficult to guess 


this parallelism. We find it in the religious institution called 
confession. By nothing are people more cut off from fellowship 
with others than by a secret borne about within them. It is not 
that a secret actually cuts off a oerson from communicating with 
his fellows, yet somehow personal secrets which are zealously 
guarded do have this effect. " Sinful " deeds and thoughts, for 
instance, are the secrets which separate one person from another. 
Great relief is therefore gained by confessing them. This relief 
is due to the re-admission of the individual to the community. 
His loneliness, which was so difficult to bear, ceases. Herein lies 
the essential value of the confession. But this confession means 
at the same time, through the phenomenon of transference and its 
unconscious phantasies, that the individual becomes tied to his 
confessor. This was probably instinctively intended by the 
Church. The fact that perhaps the greater part of humanity 
wants to be guided, justifies the moral value attributed to this 
institution by the Church. The priest is furnished with all the 
attributes of paternal authority, and upon him rests the obligation 
to guide his congregation, just as a father guides his children. 
Thus the priest replaces the parents and to a certain extent frees 
his people from their infantile bonds. In so far as the priest is a 
highly moral personality, with a nobility of soul, and an adequate 
culture, this institution may be commended as a splendid instance 
of social control and education, which served humanity during 
the space of two thousand years. So long as the Christian 
Church of the Middle Ages was capable of being the guardian of 
culture and science, in which role her success was, in part, due to 
her wide toleration of the secular element, confession was an 
admirable method for the education of the people. But confes- 
sion lost its greatest value, at least for the more educated, as 
soon as the Church was unable to maintain her leadership over 
the more emancipated portion of the community and became in- 
capable, through her rigidity, of following the intellectual life of 
the nations. 

The more highly educated men of to-day do not want to be 
guided by a belief or a rigid dogma; they want to understand. 
Therefore, they put aside everything that they do not understand, 
and the religious symbol is very little accessible for general under- 
standing. The sacrificium intellectus is an act of violence, to 


which the moral conscience of the highly developed man is 
opposed. But in a large number of cases, transference to, and 
dependence upon the analyst could be considered as a sufficient 
end, with a definite therapeutic effect, if the analyst were in every 
respect a great personality, capable and competent to guide the 
patients given into his charge and to be a father of his people. 
But a modern, mentally-developed person desires to guide him- 
self, and to stand on his own feet. He wants to take the helm in 
his own hands; the steering has too long been done by others. 
He wants to understand; in other words, he wants to be a 
grown-up person. It is much easier to be guided, but this no 
longer suits the well-educated of the present time, for they feel 
the necessity of the moral independence demanded by the spirit 
of our time. Modern humanity demands moral autonomy. * 
Psychoanalysis has to allow this claim, and refuses to guide and 
to advise. The psychoanalytic physician knows his own short- 
comings too well, and therefore cannot believe that he can be 
father and leader. His highest ambition must only consist in < 
educating his patients to become independent personalities, and in 
freeing them from their unconscious dependency within infantile 
limitations. Psychoanalysis has therefore to analyze the trans- 
ference, a task left untouched by the priest. In so doing, the 
unconscious dependence upon the physician is cut off, and the 
patient is put upon his own feet ; this at least is the end at which 
the physician aims. 


We have already seen that the transference brings about diffi- 
culties, because the personality of the physician is assimilated 
with the image of the patient's parents. The first part of the 
analysis, the investigation of the patient's complexes, is rather 
easy, chiefly because a man is relieved by ridding himself of his 
secrets, difficulties and pains. In the second place, he experiences 
a peculiar satisfaction from at last finding some one who shows 
interest in all those things to which nobody hitherto would listen. 
It is very agreeable to find a person, who tries to understand him, 
and does not shrink back. In the third place, the expressed in- 
tention of the physician, to understand him and to follow him 
through all his erring ways, pathetically affects the patient. The 


feeling of being understood is especially sweet to the solitary 
souls who are forever longing for " understanding." In this they 
are insatiable. The beginning of the analysis is for these reasons 
fairly easy and simple. The improvement so easily gained, and 
the sometimes striking change in the patient's condition of health 
are a great temptation to the psychoanalytic beginner to slip into 
a therapeutic optimism and an analytical superficiality, neither of 
which would correspond to the seriousness and the difficulties of 
the situation. The trumpeting of therapeutic successes is no- 
where more contemptible than in psychoanalysis, for no one is 
better able to understand than a psychoanalyst how the so-called 
result of the therapy depends on the cooperation of nature and 
the patient himself. The psychoanalyst may rest content with 
possessing an advanced scientific insight. The prevailing psycho- 
analytic literature cannot be spared reproach that some of its 
works do give a false impression as to its real nature. There are 
therapeutical publications from which the uninitiated receive the 
impression that psychoanalysis is more or less a clever trick, with 
astonishing effects. The first part of analysis, where we try to 
understand, and which, as we have seen before, offers much 
relief to the patient's feelings, is responsible for these illusions. 
These incidental benefits help the phenomenon of transference. 
The patient has long felt the need of help to free him from his 
inward isolation and his lack of self-understanding. So he gives 
way to his transference, after first struggling against it. For a 
neurotic person, the transference is an ideal situation. He him- 
self makes no effort, and nevertheless another person meets him 
halfway, with an apparent affectionate understanding; does not 
even get annoyed or leave off his patient endeavors, although he 
himself is sometimes stubborn and makes childish resistances. 
By this means the strongest resistances are melted away, for the 
interest of the physician meets the need of a better adaptation to 
-i extra-familial reality. The patient obtains, through the transfer- 
ence, not only his parents, who used to bestow great attention 
upon him, but in addition he gets a relationship outside the family, 
and thus fulfils a necessary duty of life. The therapeutical suc- 
cess so often to be seen at the same time fortifies the patient's 
belief that this new-gained situation is an excellent one. Here we 
can easily understand that the patient is not in the least inclined 


to abandon this newly- found advantage. If it depended upon 
him, he would be forever associated with his physician. In con- 
sequence, he begins to produce all kinds of phantasies, in order to 
find possible ways of maintaining the association with his phy- 
sician. He makes the greatest resistances towards his physician, 
when the latter tries to dissolve the transference. At the same 
time, we must not forget that for our patients the acquisition of a 
relationship outside the family is one of the most important 
duties of life, and one, moreover, which up to this moment they 
had failed or but very imperfectly succeeded in accomplishing. 
I must oppose myself energetically to the view that we always 
mean by this relationship outside the family, a sexual relation in 
its popular sense. This is the misunderstanding fallen into by so 
many neurotic people, who believe that a right attitude toward 
reality is only to be found by way of concrete sexuality. There 
are even physicians, not psychoanalysts, who are of the same con- 
viction. But this is the primitive adaptation which we find among 
uncivilized people under primitive conditions. If we lend un- 
critical support to this tendency of neurotic people to adapt them- 
selves in an infantile way, we just encourage them in the infantil- 
ism from which they are suffering. The neurotic patient has to 
learn that higher adaptation which is demanded by life from 
civilized and grown-up people. Whoever has a tendency to sink 
lower, will proceed to do so ; for this end he does not need psy- 
choanalysis. But we must be careful not to fall into the opposite 
extreme and believe that we can create by analysis great person- 
alities. Psychoanalysis stands above traditional morality. It 
follows no arbitrary moral standard. It is only a means to bring 
to light the individual trends, and to develop and harmonize them 
as perfectly as possible. 

Analysis must be a biological method, that is, a method which 
tries to connect the highest subjective well-being with the most 
valuable biological activity. The best result for a person who 
passes through analysis, is that he becomes at the end what he 
really is, in harmony with himself, neither bad nor good, but an 
ordinary human being. Psychoanalysis cannot be considered 
a method of education, if by education is understood the possi- 
bility of shaping a tree to a highly artificial form. But who- 
ever has the higher conception of education will most prize that 


educational method which can cultivate a tree so that it shall 
fulfil to perfection its own natural conditions of growth. We 
yield too much to the ridiculous fear that we are at bottom quite 
impossible beings, and that if everyone were to appear as he 
really is a dreadful social catastrophe would result. The in- 
dividualistic thinkers of our day insist on understanding by 
"people as they really are," only the discontented, anarchistic 
and egotistic element in humanity; they quite forget that this 
same humanity has created those well-established forms of our 
civilization which possess greater strength and solidity than all 
the anarchistic under-currents. 

When we try to dissolve the transference we have to fight 
against powers which have not only neurotic value, but also 
universal normal significance. When we try to bring the patient 
to the dissolution of his transference, we are asking more from 
him than is generally asked of the average man ; we ask that he 
should subdue himself wholly. Only certain religions have made 
such a claim on humanity, and it is this demand which makes the 
second part of analysis so difficult. 

The technique that we have to employ for the analysis of the 
transference is exactly the same as that before described. 
Naturally the problem as to what the patient must do with the 
libido which is now withdrawn from the physician comes to the 
fore. Here again, there is great danger for the beginner, as he 
will be inclined to suggest, or to give suggestive advice. This 
would be extremely pleasant for the patient in every respect, and 
therefore fatal. 


I think here is the place to say something about the indis- 
pensable conditions of the psychology of the psychoanalyst him- 
self. Psychoanalysis is by no means an instrument applied to the 
patient only; it is self-evident that it must be applied to the 
psychoanalyst first. I believe that it is not only a moral, but a 
professional duty also, for the physician to submit himself to the 
psychoanalytic process, in order to clean his mind from his own 
unconscious interferences. Even if he is entitled to trust to his 
own personal honesty, that will not suffice to save him from the 
misleading influences of his own unconscious. The unconscious 


is unknown, even to the most frank and honest person. Without 
analysis the physician will inevitably be blindfolded in all those 
places where he meets his own complexes ; this is a situation of 
dangerous importance in the analysis of transference. Do not 
forget that the complexes of a neurotic are only the complexes of 
all human beings, the psychoanalyst included. Through the inter- 
ference of your own hidden wishes you will do the greatest harm 
to your patients. The psychoanalyst must never forget that the 
final aim of psychoanalysis is the personal freedom and moral 
independence of the patient. 


Here, as everywhere in analysis, we have to follow the patient 
along the line of his own impulses, even if the path seems to be a 
wrong one. Error is just as important a condition of mental 
progress as truth. In this second step of analysis, with all its 
hidden precipices and sand-banks, we owe a great deal to dreams. 
At the beginning of analysis dreams chiefly helped in discovering 
phantasies; here they guide us, in a most valuable way, to the 
application of the libido. Freud's work laid the foundation of an 
immense increase in our knowledge in regard to the interpreta- 
tion of the dream's content, through its historical material and 
its tendency to express wishes. He showed us how dreams open 
the way to the acquisition of unconscious material. In accord- 
ance with his genius for the purely historical method, he apprises 
us chiefly of the analytical relations. Although this method is 
incontestably of the greatest importance, we ought not to take up 
this standpoint exclusively, as such an historical conception does 
not sufficiently take account of the teleological meaning of dreams. 

Conscious thinking would be quite insufficiently characterized, 
if we considered it only from its historical determinants. For its 
complete valuation, we have unquestionably to consider its teleo- 
logical or prospective meaning as well. If we pursued the history 
of the English Parliament back to its first origin, we should cer- 
tainly arrive at a perfect understanding of its development, and 
the determination of its present form. But we should know 
nothing about its prospective function, that is, about the work 
which it has to accomplish now, and in the future. The same 


thing is to be said about dreams. Their prospective function has 
been valued only by superstitious peoples and times, but probably 
there is much truth in their view. Not that we pretend that 
dreams have any prophetic foreboding, but we suggest, that there 
might be a possibility of discovering in their unconscious material 
those future combinations which are subliminal just because they 
have not reached the distinctiveness or the intensity which con- 
sciousness requires. Here I am thinking of those indistinct 
presentments of the future which we sometimes have, which are 
nothing else than subliminal combinations, the objective value of 
which we are not able to apperceive. The future tendencies of 
the patient are elaborated by this indirect analysis, and, if this 
work is successful, the convalescent passes out of treatment and 
out of his half -infantile state of transference into life, which has 
been inwardly carefully prepared for, which has been chosen by 
himself, and to which, after many deliberations, he has at last 
made up his mind. 


As may easily be understood, psychoanalysis will never do for 
polyclinic work, and will therefore always remain in the hands of 
those few who, because of their innate and trained psychological 
faculties, are particularly apt and have a special liking for this 
profession. Just as not every physician makes a good surgeon, 
so neither will every one make a good psychoanalyst. The pre- 
dominant psychological character of psychoanalytic work will 
make it difficult for doctors to monopolize it. Sooner or later 
other faculties will master it, either for practical uses or for its 
theoretical interest. Of course the treatment must remain con- 
fined entirely to the hands of responsible scientific people. 

So long as official science excludes psychoanalysis from gen- 
eral discussion, as pure nonsense, we cannot be astonished if those 
belonging to other faculties master this material even before the 
medical profession. And this will occur the more because psy- 
choanalysis is a general psychological method of investigation, 
as well as a heuristic principle of the first rank in all departments 
of mental science ("Geisteswissenschaften"). Chiefly through 
the work of the Zurich School, the possibility of applying psycho- 
analysis to the domain of the mental diseases has been demon- 
strated. Psychoanalytical investigation of dementia praecox, for 
instance, brought us the most valuable insight into the psycho- 
logical structure of this remarkable disease. It would lead me too 
far were I to demonstrate to you the results of those investiga- 
tions. The theory of the psychological determinants of this 
disease is already in itself a vast territory. Even if I had to treat 
but the symbolic problems of dementia praecox I should be obliged 
to lay before you so much material, that I could not possibly 
master it within the limits of these lectures, which must give a 
general survey. 

The question of dementia praecox has become so extraor- 
dinarily complicated because of the quite recent incursion on the 



part of psychoanalysis into the domains of mythology and com- 
parative religion, whence we have derived a deeper insight into 
ethical psychological symbolism. Those who are well-acquainted 
with the symbolism of dreams and of dementia praecox have been 
greatly impressed by the striking parallelism between modern 
individual symbols and those found in folk-lore. The extra- 
ordinary parallelism between ethnic symbolism and that of 
dementia prsecox is remarkably clear. This fact induced me to 
make an extended comparative investigation of individual and 
ethnic symbolism, the results of which have been recently pub- 
lished. 11 This complication of psychology with the problem of 
mythology makes it impossible for me to demonstrate to you my 
conception of dementia prascox. For the same reasons, I must 
forego the discussion of the results of psychoanalytic investiga- 
tion in the domain of mythology and comparative religions. It 
would be impossible to do this without setting forth all the 
material belonging to it. The main result of these investigations 
is, for the moment, the knowledge of the far-reaching parallelisms 
between the ethnical and the individual symbolisms. From the 
present position of this work, we can scarcely conceive what a 
vast perspective may result from this comparative ethnopsychol- 
ogy. Through the study of mythology, the psychoanalytical 
knowledge of the nature of the unconscious processes we may 
expect to be enormously enriched and deepened. 

I must limit myself, if I am to give you in the course of my 
lectures a more or less general presentation of the psychoanalytic 
school. A detailed elaboration of this method and its theory 
would have demanded an enormous display of cases, whose 
delineation would have detracted from a comprehensive view of 
the whole. But to give you an insight into the concrete proceed- 
ings of psychoanalytic treatment, I decided to bring before you 
a short analysis of a girl of eleven years of age. The case was 
analyzed by my assistant, Miss Mary Moltzer. In the first place, 
I must mention that this case is by no means typical, either in the 
length of its time, or in the course of its general analysis; it is 
just as little so as an individual is characteristic for all other 
people. Nowhere is the abstraction of universal rules more diffi- 
cult than in psychoanalysis, for which reason it is better to abstain 

11 " Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido," Wien, 1912. 


from too many rules. We must never forget that, notwithstand- 
ing the great uniformity of complexes and conflicts, every case 
is unique. For every individual is unique. Every case demands 
from the physician an individual interest, and in every case you 
will find the course of analysis different. In describing this case, 
I offer you a small section of the vast diverse psychological 
world, showing all those apparently bizarre and arbitrary pecu- 
liarities scattered over human life by the whims of so-called 
chance. I have no intention of withholding any of the minute 
psychoanalytic details, as I do not want to make you believe that 
psychoanalysis is a method with rigid laws. The scientific inter- 
est of the investigator inclines him to find rules and categories, in 
which the most living of all things alive can be included. But 
the physician as well as the observer, free from all formulas, 
ought to have an open eye for the whole lawless wealth of living 
reality. In this way I will endeavor to present to you this case, 
and I hope also to succeed in demonstrating to you how differ- 
ently an analysis develops from what might have been expected 
from purely theoretical considerations. 


The case in question is that of an intelligent girl of eleven 
years of age, of good family. The history of the disease is as. 
follows : 


She had to leave school several times on account of sudden 
sickness and headache, and was obliged to go to bed. In the 
morning she sometimes refused to get up and go to school. She 
suffered from bad dreams, was capricious and not to be counted 

I informed the mother, who came to consult me, that these 
things were neurotic signs, and that some special circumstance 
must be hidden there, necessitating an interrogation of the child. 
This supposition was not arbitrary, for every attentive observer 
knows that if children are restless or in bad temper, there is 
always something painful worrying them. If it were not painful, 
they would tell it, and they would not be worried over it. Of 
course, I am only speaking of those cases having a psychogenic 


cause. The child confessed to her mother the following story: 
She had a favorite teacher, of whom she was very fond. During 
this last term she had fallen back somewhat, through working 
insufficiently, and she believed she had rather fallen in the 
estimation of her teacher. She then began to feel sick during 
his lessons. She felt not only estranged from her teacher, but 
even somewhat hostile. She directed all her friendly feelings to 
a poor boy with whom she usually shared the bread which she 
took to school. Later on she gave him money, so that he could 
buy bread for himself. In a conversation with this boy she made 
fun of her teacher and called him a goat. The boy attached 
himself more and more to her, and considered that he had the 
right to levy a tax on her occasionally in the form of a little 
present of money. She now became greatly alarmed lest the boy 
might tell her teacher that she turned him into ridicule and called 
him a " goat," and she promised him two francs if he would give 
his solemn word never to tell anything to her teacher. From that 
moment the boy began to exploit her; he demanded money with 
threats and persecuted her with his demands on the way to school. 
This made her perfectly miserable. Her attacks of sickness are 
closely connected with all this story. But after the affair had 
been disposed of by this confession, her peace of mind was not 
restored as might have been expected. 

We very often see, as I have said, that the mere relation of a 
painful affair can have an important therapeutical effect. Gen- 
erally this does not last very long, although on occasion such a 
favorable effect can maintain itself for a long time. Such a con- 
fession is naturally a long way from being an analysis. But 
there are nerve-specialists nowadays who believe that an analysis 
is only a somewhat more extensive anamnesis or confession. 

A little while later the child had an attack of coughing and 
missed school for one day. After that she went to school for 
one day and felt perfectly well. On the third day, a renewed 
.attack of coughing came on, with pains on the left side, fever and 
vomiting. Her temperature, accurately taken, showed 39.4 C., 
about 103 F. The doctor feared pneumonia. But the next day 
everything had passed away. She felt quite well and not the 
slightest sign of fever or sickness was to be noted. 

But still our little patient wept the whole time and did not wish 


to get up. From this strange course of events I suspected some 
serious neurosis, and I therefore advised treatment by analysis. 

Analytic Treatment 

First interview : The little girl seemed to be nervous and con- 
strained, having a disagreeable forced laugh. Miss Moltzer, who 
analyzed her, gave her first of all an opportunity of talking about 
her staying in bed. We learn that she liked it immensely, as she 
always had some society. Everybody came to see her; also her 
mother read to her out of a book which contained the story of 
a prince who was ill, but who recovered when his wish was ful- 
filled, the wish being that his little friend, a poor boy, might be 
allowed to stay with him. 

The obvious relation between this story and her own little 
love-story, as well as its connection with her own illness, was 
pointed out to her, whereupon she began to cry and say she would 
prefer to go to the other children and play with them, otherwise 
they would run off. This was at once allowed, and away she 
ran, but came back again, after a short while, somewhat embar- 
rassed. It was explained to her that she did not run away be- 
cause she was afraid her playmates would go, but that she her- 
self wanted to get off because of resistances. 

At the second interview she was less anxious and repressed. 
They happened to speak about the teacher, but then she was 
embarrassed. She seemed to be ashamed at the end, and she 
timidly confessed that she liked her teacher very much. It was 
then explained to her that she need not be ashamed of that; on 
the contrary, her love for him could be a valuable stimulus to 
make her do her very best in his lessons. " So I may love him?" 
asked the little patient with a happier face. 

This explanation justified the child in the choice of the object 
of her affection. It seems as if she had been ashamed of admit- 
ting her feelings for her teacher. It is not easy to explain why 
this should be so. Our present conception tells us that the libido 
has great difficulty in taking hold of a personality outside the 
family, because it still finds itself in incestuous bonds, a very 
plausible view indeed, from which it is difficult to withdraw. 
But we must point out here that her libido was placed with much 


intensity upon the poor boy, who was also someone outside the 
family; whence we must conclude that the difficulty was not to 
be found in the transference of the libido outside the family, but 
in some other circumstance. The love of the teacher betokens 
a difficult task ; it demands much more than her love for the little 
boy, which does not require any moral effort on her part. This 
indication in the analysis that her love for her teacher would 
enable her to do her utmost brings the child back to her real 
duty, namely, her adaptation to her teacher. 

The libido retires from before such a necessary task, for the 
very human reason of indolence, which is highly developed, not 
only in children, but also in primitive people. Primitive laziness 
and indolence are the first resistances to the efforts towards 
adaptation. The libido which is not used for this purpose be- 
comes stagnant and will make the inevitable regression to former 
objects or modes of employment. It is thus that the incest- 
complex is revived in such a striking way. The libido avoids 
the object which is so difficult to attain and demands such great 
efforts, and turns towards the easier ones, and finally to the 
easiest of all, namely, the infantile phantasies, which thus become 
real incest-phantasies. The fact that, wherever there is present 
a disturbance of psychological adaptation, one finds an exagger- 
ated development of incest-pjiantasies. must be conceived, as I 
have pointed out, as a regressive phenomenon. That is to say, 
the incest-phantasy is of secondary and not of causal significance, 
while the primary cause is the resistance of human nature against 
any kind of exertion. The drawing back from certain duties is 
not to be explained by saying that man prefers the incestuous 
condition, but he has to fall back into it, because he shuns exer- 
tion; otherwise it would have to be said that the aversion from 
conscious effort must be taken as identical with the preference 
for incestuous relations. This would be obvious nonsense, for 
not only primitive man, but animals too, have a pronounced dis- 
like for all intentional efforts, and pay homage to absolute lazi- 
ness, until circumstances force them into action. We cannot 
pretend, either in very primitive people or in animals, that their 
preference for incestuous relations causes aversion towards 
efforts of adaptation, as in those cases there can be no question 


of " incestuous " relations. This would presuppose a differentia- 
tion of parents and non-parents. 

Characteristically, the child expressed her joy at being 
allowed to love her teacher, but not at being allowed to do her 
utmost for him. That she might love her teacher is what she 
understood at once, because it suited her best. Her relief was 
caused by the information that she was right in loving him, even 
though she did not especially exert herself before. 

The conversation ran on to the story of the extortion, which 
is now again told in details. We hear further that she had tried 
to force open her savings-bank, and as she could not succeed in 
doing so, she wanted to steal the key from her mother. She 
expressed herself thus about the whole matter: she ridiculed her 
teacher because he was much kinder to the other girls than to 
her. But it was true that she did not do very well in his lessons, 
especially at arithmetic. Once she did not understand something, 
was afraid to ask, for fear she might lose his esteem, and conse- 
quently she made many mistakes and did really lose it. It is 
pretty clear that her position towards her teacher became conse- 
quently very unsatisfactory. About this time it happened that a 
young girl in her class was sent home because she was sick. Soon 
after, the same thing happened to herself. In this way, she tried 
to get away from the school which had become uncongenial to 
her. The loss of her teacher's respect led her on the one hand 
to insult him and on the other into the affair with the little boy, 
obviously as a compensation for the lost relationship with the 
teacher. The explanation which was given here was a simple 
hint: she would be rendering a service to her teacher if she took 
pains to understand the lessons by sensible questions. 

I can add here that this hint, given in the analysis, had a good 
effect; from that moment the little girl became one of the best of 
pupils, and missed no more arithmetic lessons. 

We must call attention to the fact that the story of the boy's 
extortion shows constraint and a lack of freedom. This phe- 
nomenon exactly follows the rule. As soon as anyone permits 
his libido to draw back from necessary tasks, it becomes autono- 
mous and chooses, without regard to the protests of the subject, 
its own way, and pursues it obstinately. It is a general fact, that 
a lazy and inactive life is highly susceptible to the coercion of the 


libido, that is to say, to all kinds of terrors and involuntary obli- 
gations. The anxieties and superstitions of savages furnish us 
with the best illustrations; but our own history of civilization, 
especially the civilization and customs of the ancients, abounds 
with confirmations. Non-employment of the libido makes it 
autonomous, but we must not believe either that we are able to 
save ourselves permanently from the coercion of the libido by 
making forced efforts. To a certain limited extent we are able 
to set conscious tasks to our libido, but other natural tasks are 
chosen by the libido itself, and that is what the libido exists for. 
If we avoid those tasks, the most active life can become useless, 
for we have to deal with the whole of the conditions of our human 
nature. Innumerable cases of neurasthenia from overwork can 
be traced back to this cause, for work done amid internal con- 
flicts creates nervous exhaustion. 

At the third interview the little girl related a dream she had 
had when she was five years old, and by which she was greatly 
impressed. She says, " I'll never forget this dream." The dream 
runs as follows : " / am in a wood with my little brother and we 
are looking for strawberries. Then a wolf came and jumped at 
me. I took to a staircase, the wolf after me. I fall down and 
the wolf bites my leg. I awoke in terror." 

Before we go into the associations given by our little patient, 
I will try to form an arbitrary opinion about the possible content 
of the dream, and then compare our result afterwards with the 
associations given by the child. The beginning of the dream 
reminds us of the well-known German fairy-tale of Little Red- 
Ridinghood, which is, of course, known to the child. The wolf 
ate the grandmother first, then took her shape, and afterwards 
ate Little Red-Ridinghood. But the hunter killed the wolf, cut 
open the belly and Little Red-Ridinghood sprang out safe and 
sound. This motive is found in a great many fairy-tales, wide- 
spread over the whole world, and it is the motive of the biblical 
story of Jonah. The original significance is astro-mythological: 
the sun is swallowed up by the sea, and in the morning is born 
again out of the water. Of course, the whole of astro-mythology 
is at the root but psychology, unconscious psychology, projected on 
to the heavens, for myths have never been and are never made con- 
sciously, but arise from man's unconscious. For this reason, we 


sometimes find that marvellous, striking similarity or identity in 
the forms of myths, even among races that have been separated 
from each other since eternity as it were. This explains the 
universal dissemination of the symbol of the cross, perfectly 
independent of Christianity, of which America, as is well known, 
furnishes us especially interesting instances. It is impossible to 
agree, that myths have been made to explain meteorological or 
astronomical processes. Myths are, first of all, manifestations 
of unconscious currents, similar to dreams. 12 These currents are 
caused by the libido in its unconscious forms. The material 
which comes to the surface is infantile material, hence, phan- 
tasies connected with the incest-complex. Without difficulty we 
can find in all the so-called sun-myths infantile theories about 
generation, childbirth and incestuous relations. In the fairy-tale 
of Little Red-Ridinghood, we find the phantasy that the mother 
has to eat something which is similar to a child, and that the child 
is born by cutting open the mother's body. This phantasy is one 
of the most universal, to be found everywhere. 

We can conclude, from these universal psychological observa- 
tions, that the child, in its dream, elaborates the problem of 
generation and childbirth. As to the wolf, the father probably 
has to be put in its place, for the child unconsciously assigns to 
the father any act of violence towards the mother. This antici- 
pation can be based on innumerable myths which deal with the 
problem of any act of violence towards the mother. In reference 
to the mythological parallelism, let me direct your attention to 
Boas's collection, where you will find a beautiful set of Indian 
legends; also to the work of Frobenius, "Das Zeitaltes Sonnen- 
gottes"; and, finally, to the works of Abraham, Rank, Riklin, 
Jones, Freud, Spielrein, and my own investigations in my 
" Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido." 

After having made these general observations for theoretical 
reasons, which, of course, were not made in the concrete case, 
we will go back to see what the child has to tell in regard to her 
dream. Of course the child speaks of her dream just as she 
likes, without being influenced in any way whatever. The little 
girl begins with the bite in her leg, and relates, that she had once 
been told by a woman who had had a baby, that she could still 

12 Abraham, " Dreams and Myths," No. 15 of the Monograph Series. 


show the place where the stork had bitten her. This mode of 
expression is, in Switzerland, a universally known variant of the 
symbolism of generation and birth. Here we find a perfect 
parallelism between our interpretation and the associations of the 
child. The first associations which have been brought by the 
child, without being influenced in any way, are connected with 
the problem which, for theoretical reasons, was suggested by our- 
selves. I know well that the innumerable cases, published in our 
psychoanalytic literature, where the patients have certainly not 
been influenced, have not prevented the critics' contention, that we 
suggest our own interpretations to our patients. This case will 
not, therefore, convince anyone who is determined to find crude 
mistakes or, much worse still fabrications. 

After our little patient had finished her first association, she 
was asked, "What did the wolf suggest?" She answered, "I 
think of my father, when he is angry." This association also 
coincides with our theoretical observations. It might be objected 
that the observation was made just for this purpose and for 
nothing else, and has therefore no general validity. I believe 
that this objection vanishes of itself as soon as the corresponding 
psychoanalytic and mythological knowledge has been acquired. 
The validity of an hypothesis can only be confirmed by positive 
knowledge; otherwise it is impossible to confirm it. We have 
seen by the first association that the wolf has been replaced by 
the stork. The associations given to the wolf bring the father. 
In the common myth, the stork stands for the father, as the 
father brings children. The apparent contradiction, which could 
be noticed here between the fairy-tale, where the wolf represents 
the mother, and the dream, in which the wolf stands for the 
father, is of no importance for the dream. I must renounce here 
any attempt at a detailed explanation. I have treated this prob- 
lem of bisexual symbols in the work already referred to. You 
know that in the legend of Romulus and Remus, both animals 
were raised to the rank of parents, the bird Picus and the wolf. 

The fear of the wolf in the dream is therefore fear of her 
father. The little patient explains her fear of her father by his 
severity towards her. He had also told her that we only have 
bad dreams when we have been doing wrong. Later, she once 
asked her father, " But what does Mamma do wrong? " She has 
very often frightful dreams." 


The father once slapped her fingers because she was sucking 
them. Was this her naughtiness ? Scarcely, because sucking the 
fingers is an anachronistic infantile habit, of little interest at her 
age. It only seems to annoy her father, for which he will punish 
and hit her. In this way, she relieves her conscience of the un- 
confessed and much more serious sin. It comes out, that she has 
induced a number of other girls to perform mutual masturbation. 

These sexual tendencies have caused the fear of the father. 
Still, we must not forget that she had this dream in her fifth year. 
At that time these sins had not been committed. Hence we must 
regard this affair with the other girls as a reason for her present 
fear of her father; but that does not explain the earlier fear. 
But still, we may expect it was something of a similar nature, 
some unconscious sexual wish, corresponding to the psychology 
of the forbidden action previously mentioned. The moral value 
and character of this wish is even more unconscious with the child 
than with adults. To understand what had made an impression 
on the child, we have to ask what happened in her fifth year. 
Her youngest brother was born at that time. Even then her 
father had made her nervous. The associations previously re- 
ferred to give us an undoubted connection between her sexual 
inclinations and her anxiety. The sexual problem, which nature 
connects with positive feelings of delight, is in the dream brought 
to the surface in the form of fear, apparently on account of the 
bad father, who represents moral education. This dream illus- 
trates the first impressive appearance of the sexual problem, 
obviously suggested by the recent birth of the little brother, just 
such an occasion when experience teaches us that these questions 
become vital. 

Just because the sexual problem is closely connected with cer- 
tain pleasurable physical sensations, which education tries to 
reduce and break off, it can apparently only manifest itself hidden 
under the cloak of moral anxiety as to sin. This explanation cer- 
tainly seems rather plausible, but it is superficial, it is insufficient. 
It attributes the difficulties to the moral education, on the un- 
proved assumption that education can cause such a neurosis. 
We hereby leave out of consideration the fact that there are 
people who have become neurotic and suffer from morbid fears 
without having had a trace of moral education. Moreover, the 


moral law is not merely an evil, which has to be resisted, but a 
necessity, born out of the utmost needs of humanity. The moral 
law is only an outward manifestation of the innate human impulse 
to dominate and tame oneself. The origin of the impulse towards 
domestication or civilization is lost in the unfathomable depths of 
the history of evolution, and can never be conceived as the conse- 
quence of certain laws imposed from without. Man himself, 
obeying his instincts, created laws. Therefore, we shall never 
understand the reasons for the repression of sexuality in the child 
if we only take into account the moral influences of education. 
The main reasons are to be found much deeper, in human nature 
itself, in its perhaps tragic contradiction between civilization and 
nature, or between individual consciousness and the general con- 
science of the community. I cannot enter into these questions 
now; in my other work, I have tried to do so. Naturally, it 
would be of no value to give a child a notion of the higher philo- 
sophical aspects of the problem ; that would probably not have the 
slightest effect. 

The child wants, first of all, to be relieved from the idea that 
she is doing wrong in being interested in the generation of life. 
By the analytic explanation of this complex it is made clear to 
the child how much pleasure and curiosity she really takes in the 
problem of generation, and how her groundless fear is the inver- 
sion of her repressed desire. The affair of her masturbation 
meets with a tolerant understanding and the discussion is limited 
to drawing the child's attention to the aimlessness of her action. 
At the same time it is explained to her that her sexual actions are 
mainly the consequences of her curiosity, which might be satisfied 
in a better way. Her great fear of her father corresponds, prob- 
ably, with as great an expectation, which, in consequence of the 
birth of her little brother, is closely connected with the problem 
of generation. Through this explanation, the child is declared to 
be justified in her curiosity and the greater part of her moral con- 
flict is eliminated. 

Fourth Interview. The little girl is now much nicer and much 
more confiding. Her former unnatural and constrained manner 
has vanished. She brings a dream which she dreamed after the 
last sitting. It runs: "/ am as tall as a church-tower and can 
see into every house. At my feet are very small children, as 


small as flowers are. A policeman comes. I say to him, "If 
you dare to make any remark, I shall take your sword and cut 
off your head." 

In the analysis of this dream she makes the following remarks : 
" I would like to be taller than my father, for then he will have to 
obey me." The first association with policeman was father. He 
is a military man and has, of course, a sword. The dream clearly 
fulfils her wish. In the form of a tower, she is much bigger than 
her father, and if he dares to make a remark, he will be de- 
capitated. The dream fulfils the natural wish of the child to be 
a grown-up person, and to have children playing at her feet, 
symbolized in the dream by the small children. With this dream 
she overcomes her great fear of her father; that means an im- 
portant improvement with regard to her personal freedom, and 
her certainty of feeling. 

But incidentally there is here also a theoretical gain ; we may 
consider this dream to be a clear example of the compensating and 
teleological function of dreams which was especially pointed out 
by Maeder. Such a dream must leave with the dreamer an in- 
creased sense of the value of her own personality, which is of 
much importance for personal well-being. It does not matter 
that the symbols of the dream are not perceived by the conscious- 
ness of the child, as conscious perception is not necessary to 
derive from symbols their corresponding emotional effect. We 
have to do here with knowledge derived from intuition ; in other 
words, it is that kind of perception on which at all times the effect 
produced by religious symbols has depended. Here no conscious 
understanding has been needed ; the feelings are affected by means 
of emotional intuition. 

Fifth Interview. In the fifth sitting, the child brings a dream 
which she had dreamt meanwhile. " / am with my whole family 
on the roof. The windows of the houses on the other side of the 
valley radiate like fire. The rising sun is reflected. Suddenly I 
notice that the house at the corner of our street is, as a fact, on 
fire. The fire comes nearer and nearer; at last our house is also 
on fire. I take flight into the street and my mother throws several 
things to me. I hold out my apron, and among other things my 
doll is thrown to me. I notice that the stones of our house are 
burning, but the wood remains untouched." 


The analysis of this dream presents peculiar difficulties and 
therefore required two sittings. It would lead me too far to 
sketch to you all the material this dream brought forth. I have 
to limit myself to what is most necessary. The associations 
which deal with the real meaning of the dream belong to the 
remarkable image which tells us that the stones of the house are 
on fire, while the wood remains untouched. It is sometimes 
worth while, especially with longer dreams, to take out the most 
striking parts and to analyze them first. This proceeding is not 
the typical one, but it is justified by the practical desire to shorten 
matters. The little patient makes the observation that this part 
of the dream is like a fairy-tale. Through examples it was made 
plain to her that fairy-tales always have a meaning. She objects: 
" But not all fairy-tales have one. For instance, the tale of the 
Sleeping Beauty. What could that mean?" The explanation 
was as follows : " The Sleeping Beauty had to wait for one hun- 
dred years in an enchanted sleep until she could be freed. Only 
he who was able to overcome all the difficulties through love, and 
had the courage to break through the thorny hedge, was able to 
deliver her. So one must often wait a long while to obtain what 
one longs for." 

This explanation is as much in harmony with the capacity of 
childish understanding, as it is perfectly consonant with the his- 
tory of the motive of this fairy-tale. The motive of the Sleeping 
Beauty shows clearly its relation to an ancient myth of Spring 
and fertility, and contains at the same time a problem which has 
a remarkably close affinity to the psychological situation of the 
precocious girl of eleven. 

This motive of the Sleeping Beauty belongs to a whole cycle 
of legends in which a virgin, closely guarded by a dragon, is de- 
livered by a hero. Without entering into the interpretation of 
this myth, I want to bring into prominence the astronomical or 
meteorological components which are very clearly demonstrated 
in the Edda. In the form of a virgin, the Earth is kept prisoner 
by the winter, covered in ice and snow. The young Spring-Sun, 
in the form of a hero, delivers her out of her frosty prison, where 
she has been longing for her deliverer. 

The association given by the little girl was chosen by her 
simply to give an example of a fairy-tale without a meaning, and 


was not, in the first place, conceived as having any relation with 
the house on fire. To this part of the dream, she only made the 
observation : " It is quite marvellous, just like a fairy-tale." She 
meant to say it was impossible, as the idea of burning stones is to 
her something impossible, some nonsense, or something like a 
fairy-tale. The observation made a propos of this shows her that 
an impossibility and a fairy-tale are only partly identical, since 
a fairy-tale certainly has much meaning. Although this particular 
fairy-tale, from the casual way in which it was mentioned, seemed 
to have no apparent relation to the dream, we have to pay special 
attention to it, as it was given spontaneously in the course of the 
interpretation of the dream. The unconscious suggested this 
example, which cannot be accidental, but must be in some way 
significant for the present situation. In interpreting dreams we 
have to pay attention to such apparent accidents, since in psychol- 
ogy we find no blind chances, much as we are inclined to think 
these things accidental. From the critics, you may hear this ob- 
jection as often as you like, but for a really scientific mind there 
are only causal relationships and no accidents. From the fact 
that the little girl chose the example of the Sleeping Beauty we 
may conclude that there was some fundamental reason underlying 
this in the psychology of the' child. This reason is a comparison, 
or partial identification, of herself with the Sleeping Beauty; in 
other words, there is in the soul of the child a complex, which 
manifests itself in the form of the motive of the Sleeping Beauty. 
The explanation, which I mentioned before, which was given to 
the child, was in harmony with this conclusion. 

Notwithstanding she is not quite satisfied, and doubts that all 
fairy-tales have a meaning. She brings another instance of a 
fairy-tale, that cannot be understood. She brings the story of 
little Snow-White, who, in the sleep of death, lies enclosed in a 
coffin of glass. It is not difficult to see that this fairy-tale belongs 
to the same kind of myths to which the Sleeping Beauty belongs. 
The story of little Snow-White in her glass-coffin is at the same 
time very remarkable in regard to the myth of the seasons. This 
mythical material chosen by the little girl has reference to an 
intuitive comparison with the earth, held fast by the winter's cold, 
awaiting the liberating sun of spring. 

This second example affirms the first one and its explanation. 


It would be difficult to pretend here that this second example, 
which accentuates the meaning of the first, has been suggested by 
the explanation given. The fact that the little girl brought up the 
story of little Snow- White, as another example of the senseless- 
ness of fairy-tales, proves that she did not understand her identi- 
fication with little Snow- White and the Sleeping Beauty. There- 
fore we may expect that little Snow-White arose from the same 
unconscious sources as the Sleeping Beauty, that is, a complex 
consisting of the expectation of coming events, which are 
altogether comparable with the deliverance of the earth from the 
prison of winter and its fertilization through the sunbeams of 

As may, perhaps, be known, the symbol of the bull has been 
given from time immemorial to the fertile spring sun, as the bull 
embodies the mightiest procreative power. Although without 
further consideration, it is not easy to find any relation between 
the insight indirectly gained and the dream, we will hold to what 
we have found and proceed with the dream. The next part de- 
scribed by the little girl is receiving the doll in her apron. The 
first association given tells us that her attitude and the whole 
situation in the dream is like a picture very well known to her, 
representing a stork flying above a village; children are in the 
street, holding their aprons, looking up and shouting to him ; the 
stork must bring them a little baby. The little patient adds the 
observation that several times she wished to have a little brother 
or sister herself. This material, given spontaneously by the child, 
stands in a clear and valuable relationship to the motive of the 
myths. We notice here that the dream is indeed concerned with 
the problem of the awakening instinct of generation. Nothing of 
this has been said to the little girl. After a little pause, she 
brings, abruptly, this association : " Once, when I was five years 
old, I thought I was in the street and that a bicyclist passed over 
my stomach." This highly improbable story proved to be, as it 
might be expected, a phantasy, which had become a paramnesia. 
Nothing of this kind had ever happened, but we came to know 
that at school the little girls lay cross-wise over each other's 
bodies, and trampled with their legs. 

Whoever has read the analyses of children published by 
Freud and myself will observe the same " leit-motif " of tramp- 


ling ; to this must be attributed a sexual undercurrent. This con- 
ception demonstrated in our former work agrees with the next 
association of our little patient : " I should prefer a real child to 
a doll." 

This most remarkable material brought by the child in con- 
nection with the phantasy of the stork, refers to typical childish 
attempts at the sexual theory, and betrays where we have to look 
for the actual phantasies of the child. 

It is of interest to know, that this " motive of trampling " can 
be illustrated through mythology. I have brought together the 
proofs in my work on the libido theory. The utilization of these 
early infantile phantasies in the dream, the existence of the 
paramnesia of the bicyclist, and the expectation expressed by the 
motive of the Sleeping Beauty show that the interests of the 
child dwell chiefly on certain problems which must be solved. 
Probably the fact that the libido has been attracted by the prob- 
lem of generation has been the reason of her lack of attention at 
school, through which she fell behind. This problem is very 
often seen in girls between the ages of twelve and thirteen. I 
could demonstrate this to you by some special cases published 
under the title of " Beitrag zur Psychologic des Geruchtes " in the 
Zentralblatt fur Psychoanalyse. The frequent occurrence of the 
problem at this age is the cause of the indecent talk among all 
sorts of children and the attempts at mutual enlightenment, which 
are naturally far from beautiful, and which so very often spoil 
the child's imagination. Not the most careful protection can 
prevent children from some day discovering the great secret, and 
then probably in the dirtiest way. Therefore it would be much 
better if children could learn about certain important secrets of 
life in a clean way and at suitable times, so that they would not 
need to be enlightened by their playmates, too often in very 
ugly ways. 

In the eighth interview the little girl began by remarking that 
she had understood perfectly why it was still impossible for her to 
have a child and therefore she had renounced all idea of it. But 
she does not make a good impression this time. We get to know 
that she has told her teacher a falsehood. She had been late to 
school, and told her teacher that she was late because she was 
obliged to accompany her father. But in reality, she had been 


lazy, got up too late and was thus late for school. She told a lie, 
and was afraid of losing the teacher's favor by telling the truth. 
This sudden moral defect in our little patient requires an explana- 
tion. According to the fundamentals of psychoanalysis, this 
sudden and striking weakness can only follow from the patient's 
not drawing the logical consequences from the analysis but rather 
looking for other easier possibilities. 

In other words, we have to do here with a case in which the 
analysis brought the libido apparently to the surface, so that an 
improvement of the personality could have occurred. But for 
some reason or other, the adaptation was not made, and the 
libido returned to its former regressive paths. 

The ninth interview proved that this was indeed the case. Our 
patient withheld an important piece of evidence in her ideas of 
sexuality, and one which contradicted the psychoanalytic explana- 
tion of sexual maturity. She suppressed the rumor current in 
the school that a girl of eleven had a baby with a boy of the same 
age. This rumor was proved to be based on no facts, but was a 
phantasy, fulfiling the secret wishes of this age. Rumors appear 
often to originate in this kind of way, as I tried to show in the 
above-mentioned demonstration of such a case. They serve to 
give vent to the unconscious phantasies, and in fulfiling this 
function correspond to dreams as well as to myths. This rumor 
keeps another way open : she need not wait so long, it is possible 
to have a child even at eleven. The contradiction between the 
accepted rumor and the analytic explanation creates resistances 
towards the analysis, so that it is forthwith depreciated. All the 
other statements and information fall to the ground at the same 
time ; for the time being, doubt and a feeling of uncertainty have 
taken their place. The libido has again taken possession of its 
former ways, it has made a regression. This is the moment of 
the replapse. 

The tenth sitting added important details to the story of her 
sexual problem. First came a remarkable fragment of a dream : 
"/ am with other children in an open field in the wood, sur- 
rounded by beautiful pine trees. It begins to rain, to lighten 
and to thunder. It is growing dark. Suddenly I see a stork in 
the air." 

Before I enter into an analysis of this dream, I should like to 


point out its beautiful parallel with certain mythological presenta- 
tions. This astonishing coincidence of thunderstorm and stork 
has, of course, to those acquainted with the works of Adalbert 
Kuhn and Steinthal nothing remarkable. The thunderstorm has 
had, from ancient times, the meaning of the fertilizing of the 
earth, the cohabitation of the father Heaven and the mother 
Earth, to which Abraham 13 has recently again called attention, in 
which the lightning takes the place of the winged phallus. The 
stork is just the same thing, a winged phallus, the psychosexual 
meaning of which is known to every child. But the psychosexual 
meaning of the thunderstorm is not known to everyone. In view 
of the psychological situation just described, we must attribute to 
the stork a psychosexual meaning. That the thunderstorm is con- 
nected with the stork and has also a psychosexual meaning, seems 
at first scarcely acceptable. But when we remember that psycho- 
analytic observation has shown an enormous number of mytho- 
logical associations with the unconscious mental images, we may 
suppose that some psychosexual meaning is also present in this 
case. We know from other experiences that those unconscious 
strata which, in former times, produced mythological forms, are 
still in action among modern people and are still incessantly 
productive. But this production is limited to the realm of 
dreams and the symptomatology of the neuroses and the psy- 
choses, for the correction, through reality, is so much increased 
in the modern mind that it prevents their projection into reality. 

We will return to the dream analysis. The associations which 
lead us to the heart of this image begin with the idea of rain 
during the thunderstorm. Her actual words were : " I think of 
water. My uncle was drowned in water it must be dreadful to 
be kept under water, so in the dark. But the child must be also 
drowned in the water. Does it drink the water that is in the 
stomach? It is very strange, when I was ill Mamma sent my 
water to the doctor. I thought perhaps he would mix something 
with it, perhaps some syrup, out of which children grow. I think 
one has to drink it." 

With unquestionable clearness we see from this set of associa- 
tions that even the child associates psychosexual, and even typical 
ideas of fructification with the rain during the thunderstorm. 

13 " Dreams and Myths," No. 15 of the Monograph Series. 


Here again, we see that marvellous parallelism between 
mythology and the individual phantasies of our own day. This 
series of associations contains such an abundance of symbolic 
relationships, that we could easily write a whole dissertation about 
it. The child herself splendidly interpreted the symbolism of 
drowning as a pregnancy-phantasy, an explanation given long ago 
in psychoanalytic literature. 

Eleventh interview. The next sitting was occupied with the 
spontaneous infantile theories about fructification and child-birth. 
The child thought that the urine of the man went into the body 
of the woman, and from this the embryo would grow. Hence the 
child was in the water from the beginning, that is to say, in urine. 
Another version was, the urine was drunk in the doctor's syrup, 
so that the child would grow in the head. The head had then to 
be split open, to help the growth of the child, and one wore hats 
to cover this up. She illustrated this by a little drawing, repre- 
senting a child-birth through the head. The child again had still 
a smaller child on the head, and so on. This is an archaic idea 
and highly mythological. I would remind you of the birth of 
Pallas, who came out of the father's head. 

We find striking mythological proofs of the fertilizing sig- 
nificance of the urine in the songs of Rudra in the Rigveda. 
Here should be mentioned something the mother added, that 
once the little girl, before analysis, suggested she saw a puppet 
on the head of her little brother, a phantasy with which the origin 
of this theory of child-birth might be connected. The little illus- 
tration made by the patient has remarkable affinity with certain 
pictures found among the Bataks of Dutch India. They are the 
so-called magic wands or ancestral statues, on which the members 
of families are represented, one standing on the top of the other. 
The explanation of these wands, given by the Bataks themselves, 
and regarded as nonsense, has a marvellous analogy with the 
infantile mental attitude. Schultz, who wrote about these wands, 
says: "The assertion, that these figures represent the members 
of a family who have committed incest, were bitten by a snake, 
entwined with another, and met a common death in their criminal 
embrace, is widely disseminated and obviously due to the position 
of the figures." 

The explanation has a parallel in our presuppositions as to our 


little patient. We saw from the first dream that her sexual phan- 
tasy centers round the father ; the psychological condition is here 
the same as with the Bataks, being found in the idea of incestuous 

Still a third version is the growth of the child in the intestinal 
canal. The child tried several times to provoke nausea and 
vomiting, in accordance with her phantasy that the child is born 
through vomiting. In the closet she had arranged also pressure- 
exercises, in order to press out the child. Under these circum- 
stances, we cannot be astonished that the first and principal symp- 
toms of the manifest neurosis were nausea-symptoms. 

We have come so far with our analysis that we are now able 
to throw a glance over the case as a whole. 

We found, behind the neurotic symptoms, complicated emo- 
tional processes, which were undoubtedly connected with the 
symptoms. If it may be allowed to draw some general conclu- 
sions from this limited material, we could construct the course 
of the neurosis in the following way. 

At the gradual approach of puberty, the libido of the child 
assumed rather an emotional than a practical attitude towards 
reality. She began to be very much taken with her teacher, but 
the sentimental self-indulgence, evinced in her riotous phantasies, 
played a greater part than the thought of the increased endeavors 
which such love ought really to have demanded of her. For this 
reason, her attention and her work left much to be desired. The 
former pleasant relationship with her favorite teacher was 
troubled. The teacher was annoyed, and the little girl, who had 
been made somewhat conceited by her home-conditions, was 
resentful, instead of trying to improve in her work. In conse- 
quence her libido withdrew from her teacher, as well as from her 
work, and fell into the characteristic forced dependence on the 
little boy, who on his side made the most of the situation. Then 
the resistances against school seized the first opportunity, which 
was suggested by the case of the little girl who had to be sent 
home on account of sickness. Our little patient followed this 
child's example. Once away from school, the way was open to 
her phantasies. By the regression of the libido, these symptom- 
making phantasies became awakened to a real activity, and were 
given an importance they had never had before, for they had 


never previously played such an important part. Now they 
become apparently of much importance and seemed to be the very 
reason why the libido regressed to them. It might be said that 
the child, in consequence of its essentially phantasy-building 
nature, saw her father too much in her teacher, and thus devel- 
oped incestuous resistances towards the latter. As I have already 
stated, I hold that it is simpler and more probable to accept the 
view that, during a certain period, it was convenient for her to 
see the teacher as the father. As she preferred to follow the 
hidden presentiments of puberty rather than her duties towards 
the school and her teacher, she allowed her libido to fall on the 
little boy, from whom, as we saw, she awaited some mysterious 
advantages. Even if analysis had demonstrated it as a fact that 
she had had incestuous resistances against her teacher on account 
of the transference of the father-image, those resistances would 
only have been secondary phantasies, that had become inflated. 
At any rate, indolence would still have been the primum movens. 
In the analysis she learned about the two ways of life, the way 
of phantasy, of regression, and the way of reality, wherein lay her 
present child's duties. In her the two were dissociated, and 
consequently she was at strife with herself. As the analysis was 
adapted to the regressive tendency of the libido, the existence of 
an extreme sexual curiosity, connected with certain very definite 
problems, was discovered. The libido, imprisoned in this phan- 
tastical labyrinth, was brought back into useful application by 
means of the psychological explanation of the incorrect infantile 
phantasies. The child thus got an insight into her own attitude 
towards reality with all its possibilities. The result was that she 
was able to take an objective-critical attitude towards her imma- 
ture puberty-desires, and was able to give up these and all other 
impossibilities in favor of the use of her libido in possible direc- 
tions, in her work and in obtaining the good-will of her teacher, 
In this case, analysis brought great peace of mind, as well as a 
pronounced intellectual improvement. After a short time her 
teacher himself stated that the little girl was one of the best 
pupils in her class. 

I hope that by the exposition of this brief instance of the 
course of an analysis, I have succeeded in giving you an insight 
not only into the concrete procedure of treatment, and into the 


technical difficulties, but no less into the beauty of the human 
mind and its endless problems. I intentionally brought into 
prominence the parallelism with mythology, to indicate the uni- 
versally possible applications of psychoanalysis. At the same 
time, I should like to refer to the further importance of this posi- 
tion. We may see in the predominance of the mythological in the 
mind of a child, a distinct hint of the gradual development of the 
individual mind out of the collective knowledge or the collective 
feeling of earliest childhood, which gave rise to the old theory of 
a condition of perfect knowledge before and after individual 

In the same way we might see, in the marvellous analogy be- 
tween the phantasies of dementia prsecox and mythological sym- 
bolisms, a reason for the widespread superstition that an insane 
person is possessed of a demon, and has some divine knowledge. 

With these hints, I have reached the present standpoint of in- 
vestigation, and I have at least sketched those facts and working 
hypotheses which are characteristic for my present and future 


Abreagieren, 5 
Actual conflict, 92, 93 
Actual present, 81 
Adaptation, failure of, 83 
Amnesia, infantile, 78 
Analysis of dreams, 60, 109 
Analysis of transference, 105 
Association-experiment, 66 

Breuer, 5 

Cathartic method, 6 

Change in the theory of psycho- 
analysis, 5 

Charcot, 5 

Child, neurosis in, 113 

Childhood, sexual trauma in, 10 

Complex, Electra, 69 

Complex, Oedipus, 67 

Complex, incest, 70 

Complex of the parents, 50 

Conception of libido, 27 

Conception of sensitiveness, 89 

Conception of sexuality, 19 

Conception of transference, 102 

Confession and psychoanalysis, 103 

Conflict, actual, 92, 93 

Content of the unconscious, 67 

Criticism, I 

Criticized, infantile sexual etiology, 

Dementia praecox, in 
Dementia praecox, libido in, 35 
Dream analysis, 60, 109 
Dream, the, 60 

Dreams, teleological meaning of, 

Early hypothesis, 4 
Electra-complex, 69 

Energic theory of libido, 28 
Environment and predisposition, 9 
Etiology of the neuroses, 72, 80 

Failure of adaptation, 83 
Finger, sucking of, 22 
Freud, 5 

Genetic conception of libido, 38 
Hypothesis, early, 4 

Incest-complex, 70 

Infancy, the polymorphic sexuality 

of, 24 

Infantile amnesia, 78 
Infantile mental attitude, 53 
Infantile perversity, 43 
Infantile reaction, 84 
Infantile sexuality, 17 
Infantile sexual etiology criticized, 


Infantile sexual phantasy, 15 
Introversion, 49 

Latent sexual period, 79 
Libido, 26, 27 

Libido in dementia praecox, 35 
Libido, energic theory of, 28 
Libido, genetic conception of, 38 
Libido, regression of, 76 
Libido, the sexual definition, 34 
Life, three phases of, 33 
Little Red-Ridinghood, 119 

Masturbation, 22 
Method, cathartic, 6 

Naughtiness, 121 
Neurosis in a child, 113 




Neuroses, etiology of, 72, 80 
Nucleus-complex, 50 

Objections to the sexual hypothesis, 

Oedipus-complex, 67 

Perversity, infantile, 43 
Phantasy criticized, 94 
Phantasy, infantile sexual, 17 
Phantasy, unconscious, 29, 53 
Polymorphic perverse sexuality of 

infancy, 24 
Pragmatic rule, 2 
Predisposition and environment, 9 
Predisposition for the trauma, 12 
Present, actual, 81 
Problem of self-analysis, 108 
Psychoanalysis and confession, 103 
Psychoanalysis, remarks on, in 
Psychoanalysis, therapeutic prin- 
ciples of, 96 

Psychopathology of everyday life, 

Regression of the libido, 76 
Regression and sensitiveness, 90 
Remarks on psychoanalysis, in 
Repression, 8 
Robert Mayer, 28 
Romulus and Remus, 120 

Schopenhauer's will, 39 
Self-analysis, problem of, 108 
Sensitiveness, conception of, 89 
Sensitiveness and regression, 90 
Sexual definition of libido, 34 
Sexual element in the trauma, 14 

Sexual period, latent, 79 

Sexual hypothesis, objections to, 18 

Sexual trauma in childhood, 10 

Sexuality, the conception of, 19 

Sexuality, infantile, 17 

Sexuality of the suckling, 21 

Sexual terminology, 30 

Sleeping Beauty, 124 

Snow-White, 125 

Spring-Sun, 124 

Stork, 129 

Sucking the finger, 22 

Suckling, sexuality of, 21 

Symbolism, 112 

Teleological meaning of dreams, 109 

Terminology, sexual, 30 

The dream, 60 

Theory, change in, 5 

Theory criticized, traumatic, 7 

Theory, traumatic, 5, 48 

Therapeutic principles of psycho- 
analysis, 96 

Three contributions to the sexual 
theory, 17 

Three phases of life, 33 

Thunderstorm, 129 

Transference, analysis of, 105 

Transference, conception of, 102 

Trauma, predisposition for, 12 

Trauma, sexual element in, 14 

Traumatic theory, 5, 48 

Traumatic theory criticized, 7 

Unconscious, 55 
Unconscious, content of, 67 
Unconscious phantasy, 29, 53 


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