Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 17.djvu/636

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PSYCHOANALYSIS 620 PSYCHOANALYSIS

unexplained, and there is offered an understanding easy. But a great difficulty confronts the physi- not only of a neurosis and the phenomena of con- cian, because since these memories have dropped duct but the product of the mmd as expressed in out of the field of consciousness they cannot be m3rths and reUgions/' The new world- view that recalled at will. The forgetting, moreover, in these grows out of psychoanalysis, it may easily be sur- cases, is not a mere passive process, it is rather an mised, follows the evolutionary and materialistic actual repression, which enhances the difficulty of trend of modem psychology and is very much at discovery. Only by the subtle methods of psycho- pains to establish man's biological relationship to analysis can the hidden springs be unearthed. For animal life. It strips man of everything that con- a proper understanding of the technique employed stitutes his unique dignit}^. in the search after the disturbing emotions, a pre-

HiSTORY. — Psychoanalysis is of recent date, vious knowledge of Freud's theory of the uncon-

Though its antecedents may be traced back to the scious is indispensable. This theory is not original

great French students of mental disturbances, with Freud, but has been taken from modern

notably Dr. J. M. Charcot of the Salp^triere, its psychology, though Freud has added to it a few

origin as a distinct method is associated with the touches of his own, notably the radical contention

name of Dr.Sigmund Freud of Vienna, who formu- that the imconscious is dominated by the sexual

lated his theory and gave it to the public for the instinct.

first time in 1895. He departed from previously Structure of the Mind. — ^The mind is the bat- adopted methods of treating nervous troubles by tleground of conflicting forces and tendencies. Its rejecting hypnotism and hypnotic suggestion as content is divided into the conscious and the un- factors in the cure and substituting for them lus conscious. To the former belong those experiences own newly developed method of mental anlysis. which are actually in the focus of attention or that To this he was led by the discovery of an older may easily be recalled (foreconscious). The latter colleague. Dr. Breuer, who while treating a case of comprises such experiences that have been utterly hysteria cnade the observation that the patient forgotten acd that cannot be brought back to our improved in the degree in which she disclosed her knowledge by the ordinary processes of introspec- life history. Freud saw the deeper significance of tion. It is, moreover, the realm of primitive this fact. It suggested to him that the first step instincts, selfish and antisocial tendencies, elemental towards a cure of the neurosis is the unburdening urges, brutal impulses and repressed desires. The of the mind which is oppressed by some unpleasant unconscious knows no higher moral law, it seeks emotional experience and cannot regain its equi- only self-gratification and is ruled by the pleasure librium until it has been relieved of the trouble- principle. Civilization and social life put a curb some idea. But in some instances it was difficult on those primitive egocentric impulses and require to gain access to the hidden memories and an elab- of the individual to hold them in check. From orate technique had to be developed to reach down early childhood days this repression goes on, and into the depths of the mind. This technique Dr. thus man becomes adjusted to his social environ- Freud called psychoanalysis. ment. But the primitive cravings remain ready to

Though first received with distrust, it gradually break through the barriers that have been erected

won its way into the medical world and at present against them.

enjoys considerable popularity. In 1908 it was in- Consciousness seeks adaptation to the social re-

troduced to the scientists of America and since has quirements and represses whatever would lead to

pained in vogue. The literature of psychoanalysis conflicts with the outer world. It is governed by

IS steadily growing and has already reached be- the reality principle. In the average human being

wildering proportions. Divergences of opinion the adjustment to the demands of civilization,

and method have sprung up among the followers though beset with difficulties, is accomplished

of Dr. Freud, and different schools have arisen, without any fatal consequences to physical and

but this is inevitable in a new science that is not mental health. Some t3n;>e8, however, are unequal

yet entirely sure of its ground. A certain body of to the formidable task; they break down under the

fundamental tenets, however, is universally ac- strain and morbid states result which manifest

cepted b^ the advocates of psychoanalysis. themselves by emotional instability, unreasonable

The Etiology of Neurosis. — ^The characteristic irritability, violent antipathies and other abnor-

assumption of psychoanalysis is that psychoneu- malities.

rotic symptoms are due to unfulfilled desires of un- The imconscious is dynamic and continually recognized tendencies that have been repressed strives for expression. It seeks to break into into the unconscious and now are entirely forgotten consciousness, but is prevented from doing so by in their original form. Though repressed, they are an inhibitive power that stands guard at the thresh- not obliterated and struggle to get expression. If old of consciouniess and repels these outlawed this psychic tension finds no outlet through legiti- desires unless they assume a guise that will make mate channels, it will express itself in unethical them acceptable to our socialized consciousness, behavior or in the form of psychoneuroses. The This inhibitive power is called the censor and neurosis betrays the existence of a dynamic idea in represents the restraining force of society. By dis- the unconscious which, though it cannot emerge guising itself the unconscious frequently determines into consciousness, may in some way influence our actions which we think have been performed emotional attitudes and produce certain motor im- from motives that are altogether different from pulses. As Dr. Freud says: "Neurotics suffer from the real ones. "Too much emphasis," says Dr reminiscences." The paradoxical phase of the Wilfrid Lay, "cannot be placed on the fact that the matter is that the memories that cause the disturb- read causes of what we do in our acts from hour ance are forgotten. Unpleasant forgotten memories to hour are hidden from us and that the majority of a strong affective nature are the roots of the of assigned reasons are mere pretexts, the real mo- neurotic symptoms. These memories are also tives being in the unconscious, and therefore abso- referred to as strangulated emotions. lutely inaccessible to us."

If those concealed memories are brought back The Complex. — Into the unconscious we represp

into consciousness they lose their evil power, the such wishes that shock our socialized consciousness

pent-up emotion in discharged and the symptoms and that have attached to them an unpleasant

disappear. The way to recovery then would seem emotional tone. Not always, however is the repres-