Background and Basic Principles Freud’s Early Clinical Work. Returning to Vienna in 1886 after his four-month visit to Charcot’s clinic in Paris, Freud started a private practice as a specialist in nervous diseases (Freud, 1925/1989). Few therapeutic techniques were available at that time. Physicians could evaluate patients and prescribe a visit to a hydropathic clinic, where baths were given for therapeutic purposes, or they could use electrotherapy for stimulating the nerves and improving the circulation (Bromberg, 1975). Though he studied electrotherapy carefully and exactly followed the instructions of Wilhelm Erb, the leading expert, Freud found it useless (Freud, 1925/1989). Interestingly, it was discovered much later that electrotherapy worked by suggestion when it worked it all. The other treatment technique available to Freud, hypnosis, was the only one believed at the time to operate through psychological, as opposed to physical, mechanisms.