Saturday, August 13, 2011

Freud and hysteria - a new interpretation

 Hysteria is a word that is mostly used to describe extreme emotional outbursts, but is also has a special meaning in psychiatry. (See here)

A mental disorder characterized by emotional outbursts, susceptibility to autosuggestion, and, often, symptoms such as paralysis that mimic the effects of physical disorders.

In the early days of his practice as a doctor, Sigmund Freud became convinced that  patients who were displaying strange psychological conditions, such as strange pains or paralysis, were suffering from some kind of trauma, so that had the physical symptoms had psychological causes.
This is from a book about Freud
A large proportion of the patients whom Freud treated during his early years in private practice had initially sought medical advice because they were suffering from physical symptoms; they had enlisted the help of a physician for no other reason than that they believed themselves to be ill. Among their symptoms were headaches, muscular pain, neuralgia, gastric pain, tics, vomiting, clonic spasms, petit mal, epileptoid convulsions, and a host of other physical reactions. [1] It was Freud who, by either making or confirming a diagnosis of hysteria, came to the conclusion that the origin of these symptoms was to be found in his patients’ emotional lives – and specifically in the traumatic events which had supposedly given rise to their illnesses.
He created an idea, that hysteria was sexual in origin  and was related to  child or infant seduction. That the physical symptoms were a defence mechanism against the repressed memory of the seduction.

This seduction theory got him into trouble, as the film "Freud" makes very clear in this clip:

Abuse recovery is still based in this idea.
Present research on the long term effects of child sexual abuse confirms Freud's seduction theory as presented in The Etiology of Hysteria. The theory accurately describes the effects of infantile seduction and the role of repression as a defense mechanism. This study compares the findings presented in Freud's theory to current research on child sexual abuse. Therapists can provide appropriate treatment to adult survivors of child sexual abuse if they recognize the symptoms and understand the role of defense mechanisms.
But the loss of a twin can also produce physical symptoms, such as a feeling of coldness and deadness in the place, or along the side where the twin once was. Birth trauma damage is held in the body as a muscular spasm that can cause muscular pain and skeletal deformity.  Only when the original reason for this muscular spasm is known and fully understood, can healing begin.

I know this from my own experience.  I went to a chiropractor aged 55 with pains in my body and a  30 year limp.  There, in the muscular spasms that lay down my right side, I  found both my birth trauma and my lost twin.   It was the start of this whole Womb Twin project.

(Here is my story to download and read, if you wish to learn more.)

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