chapter  13
10 Pages

Nicholas Rand The Talking Cure: Origins of Psychoanalysis

This shift in the understanding of catharsis did not go unnoticed. Surely it is no accident that, in their "Preliminary Communication" of 1893, Josef Breuer and Freud used the very term "catharsis" (defined as abreaction: to reactivate and throw off) to designate the curative effect they achieved through verbal therapy in their patients suffering from hysteria. It is also significant in this context that Freud's own persistent vaciHation over the aims of psychoanalysis reached a dimax when his dosest friend, the Hungarian psychoanalyst Sandor Ferenczi, in 1929 revived, under the name of "neocatharsis," the systematic investigation and cure of psychological traumas. Originally introduced by Breuer and Freud, the treatment of traumas came to be soon and (apparently) definitively abandoned by Freud himself as the latter increasingly sought to see in psychoanalysis a universal anthropology, based on the vicissitudes of psychosexual drives, fantasies, and their repression.3