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Contemporary Freudian Society

Anxiety, Hysteria and Depression: A Clinical Re-View with Dr. David Taylor, Member of the British Psychoanalytic Society

One Session Program (2 Contact Hours)

Presenter: Dr. David Taylor
Date: Friday, September 22, 2017
Location: American University, School of International Services, Rm 300, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC
Time: 7:00-9:00pm

In this paper, David Taylor will present the analysis of a patient whose modes of functioning were characteristic of anxiety hysteria: fecund visual imagery and dreams, pseudo-hallucinations and urgent fears. He will describe how the patient’s use of predominantly visual modes of expression caused the analyst to respond with forms of understanding that amounted to a Quixotic pursuit of what were in effect mirages or illusions. Close observation of this tendency led to understandings that could help the patient tolerate more sustained contact with her psychic reality than might otherwise have been possible.  Eventually that permitted mental growth and development to resume.  Taylor goes on to suggest that observations like these raise questions about some of the mechanisms that Freud postulated in Studies on Hysteria to explain ‘pure’ hysteria which continue to be accepted as facts in some psychoanalytic theories. They may be more accurately regarded today as reactions to the disturbance induced in the analyst by the hysterical patient’s modes of emotional communication. More generally, David Taylor is arguing for a need to restore provisionality to psychoanalytic hypotheses in order that psychoanalysis can recover its capacity to further develop its theories about how the mind works.

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