chapter  Two
30 Pages

Psychoanalysis’s neglect of the incest trauma

ByArnold W. Rachman, Susan A. Klett

Psychoanalysis has had a love–hate relationship with the seduction theory and the treatment of the incest trauma. The abused child had difficulty working through the trauma because parents, society, and the analytic community unwittingly collaborated in maintaining a veil of denial about the incidence of the incest trauma. A. Freud's monumental discovery of the seduction hypothesis was chronicled in the correspondence to Wilhelm Fliess. Freud's original seduction hypothesis was a pioneering attempt to bring into scientific study anecdotal reports of sexual abuse. Freud's emotional blindness to the possible psychological seduction of his daughter seems to be consistent with other behavior. The kind of thinking shut down any re-examination of the abandonment of the seduction theory for almost the psychoanalysis's history. The oedipal theory was considered a significant replacement for the seduction theory. The oedipal theory of neurosis became the cornerstone of psychoanalytic theory and the idea of fantasy replaced real experiences as the aetiology of neurosis.