Thursday, August 11, 2011

A new view of Freudian Theory: the unconscious mind and "hysteria"

This is a nice accessible summary of Freudian theory:

This mentions the "unconscious mind" as driving all human actions and choices. It also puts sexuality and the drive towards pleasure as the main influence on our desires and choices, and introduces the idea of "forgotten memories". Is the unconscious mind in fact the Dream of the Womb? There are many people who think so. They are so sure that the unconscious mind is formed in the womb that they have made a whole industry out of prenatal education for fetuses.

From the Institute for Pre and Perinatal Education web site:
William Emerson, a psychotherapist, began his exploration of prenatal and perinatal psychology through his own. Emerson studied with Frank Lake, and drawing on a number of different disciplines, both psychological and somatic, he has become one of the leading world authorities in this area, and particularly in the field of early trauma resolution.
There is a common perception that the prenatal period of development is an ideal time of life, when all needs are met and prenates are joyful, peaceful and quiet. Actually, prenates have a rich world of experiences beyond those that are currently recognised. Prenates experience whatever their parents experience, which can range from tragedy to ecstasy, and they also experience their own tragedies and ecstasies unrelated to those of their parents. In addition, because of the relative immaturity of their defensive systems, prenates and neonates are more vulnerable and susceptible to adversity than their adult counterparts and are so unprotected that the normal distresses of life can be traumatising or shocking. Prenates and infants are also subject to deep and permanent wounds from commonly occurring tragedies.  
Among those "commonly occurring tragedies" is the loss of a twin.  Willam Emerson's twin died shortly after birth. There is no doubt that this loss - far too early according to Freud  for any memory, or to have made any difference to his psychology as an adult - has impacted on William Emerson's life. He is president of APPPAH (the association for Pre and Perinatal Psychology and Health and gives a variey of seminars on this topic.

Evidently, people benefit greatly from being made aware and working to heal and grow from the prenatal origins of their impressions and beliefs. 

The idea of therapy to resolve these early traumas is now widespread. Here is just one example among many:
The Vital Importance of Intra-Uterine Life
M.C. Warmenbol
Therapy of Intra-Uterine Life is a method to unveil the roots of difficulties, from preconception to birth and early life. Dr. Claude Imbert, a physician and cancerologist from France, developed this method about 20 years ago, motivated by a personal crisis she went through. The method helps first to free emotions that were hidden for so long. Second to discover which limiting beliefs we drew for our lives in utero and birth to reprogram the negative beliefs and to find the resources we need in order to change. The intra-uterine relationships, including that of a twin who is lost during this early period, impact us lifelong, if no resolution occurs.
This may seem to be a long way from the Freudian theory of the unconscious, but today we still recognise, as he did, that the way to help people is to make the unconscious conscious so that it may be understood and resolved.

We heal the future by looking at the past - that is a sure thing. The only problem with Freud is he didn't dare go back far enough.  But that is perfectly understandable, bearing in mind the state of neuroscience a hundred years ago.

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