San Francisco State University

Questions to be answered while reading:

    1. What is the difference between the Salpetriere and the Nancy school of hypnotism?
    2. What was the relationship between hypnotism and hysteria as seen by Charcot?
    3. What were the major principles of Freudian psychology?
    4. Who are the major neo-Freudians and their differences from Freud?


Much of what we have examined so far has been concerned with how the mind develops – new ideas getting connected to and old ideas to form more complex new ideas.

The question of why behavior occurred was not considered of vital importance during much of the 20th century. Understanding the environment seemed to help in the understanding of behavior. The why is concerned with the causes. And in psychology the causes can be external pushes and pulls or internal forces initiating and sometimes directing behavior.

The history of the internal forces goes back to hedonistic doctrines – the belief that people do things because of the pleasure that it brings. Epicurus, we saw, suggested that everything was based on matter and that the pleasure principle directed activity. Augustine, as we have seen, was interested in the why as well as the what of the mind. And most of Catholic psychology, with it’s emphasis upon personal responsibility and choice, recognizes that motives are important. John Stuart Mill's utilitarian philosophy, extended hedonistic principles to explain economic and social theory on in the 19th century. Thorndike’s law of effect applied these principles to animal and human learning and stated that behavior that produces a satisfying state of affairs is "stamped in" and remembered as a habit. Freud’s pleasure principle is probably the most obvious and famous principle based upon a hedonistic doctrine.


But the field of motivation psychology is perhaps most closely linked to clinical psychology because drive, need, and want are closely tied up with frustration and conflict and emotion. And when the organism is blocked or the emotion becomes all powerful or when need is expressed in bizarre or unprincipled ways, then society makes judgments about whether restraints or reprisals are in order. the whole mental health field arose because of controversy about how to handle inappropriate social behavior.

One of the most prominent forms of mental illness had been a form of neurosis called hysteria. This is not to be confused with hysterical or agitated excitement. The medical classification of hysteria referred to the apparent loss of some physical function, sensory or motor. Individuals appeared to be blind, or deaf, or lacking in cutaneous feelings. Or, they lacked the capacity to move certain body parts (paralysis of arms or limbs). Upon neurological examination, such individuals appeared to be physiological healthy. Further, the symptoms appeared not to follow any rational physiological pattern. For example, one might lose sensation in the hand but not the arm. Yet from a physiological standpoint, this was impossible since the same afferent fibers serving the hand also served the forearm.


Commemorative French Charcot stamp

One of the great neurologists of the 19th century, known for his work with hysterics, was Jean Martin Charcot (1825-1893). Charcot worked at the Salpetriere, a famous mental hospital in Paris. To this clinic came neurologists from all over Europe to learn about his techniques for diagnosing and treating hysterical patients. During these workshops, Charcot demonstrated how hysterical patients, unable to walk, could be placed under hypnosis and then with post hypnotic suggestion, told to get up and walk across the room -- which they did, to the amazement of all concerned. Or, others who were presumably deaf might be placed under hypnosis and then observed to react in a startled fashion when a loud noise was made from behind them. These demonstrations convinced the medical profession that something besides physiological factors were at play.

Charcot believed that the phenomenon was essentially a female disease, since the word "hysteria," came from the Greek word meaning uterus. In fact, the known cases of hysteria appeared to be only among women. Hypnotism worked with hysterics; and conversely, hysterics (and therefore women) must be hypnotizable. It was not until Freud discovered a man with hysteria that the tide changed, though people thought that was impossible, since men had no uterus. Freud went in 1885-86 to study with Charcot. While there he heard Charcot claim over and over that in these cases it was always something genital.

 But Charcot's theory about the reason for this phenomenon was in conflict with an opposing point of view advanced by Bernheim and Liebeault and others.The opposing point of view was held by Liebeault and Bernheim in the town of Nancy, east of Paris and which came to be known as the "Nancy school" of thought. They were on the track that eventually proved correct -- that hypnosis was based on a psychological form of attention or mental concentration. Freud went to observe their methods.

The man who took over from Charcot was Pierre Janet, the dean of French psychology. He became convinced that there were unknown causes for these hysterical symptoms, and attempted to bring together the clinic and the academic side of psychology and believed that he actually proposed the idea of the unconscious prior to Freud.


Freud reading a paper

After visiting Nancy, Freud became convinced that this hysterical phenomenon had both a sexual (Charcot) and an unconscious (Nancy) component. He and Joseph Breuer began treating hysterical patients near the end of the century and wrote a book on the subject in 1895. But Freud soon became convinced that while the symptoms could be cured by hypnosis, they were not permanently removed. They kept coming back. Further, what seemed to produce a permanent cure was what one of his patients (the first person to become a social worker) called her "talking cure." This became a substitute for hypnosis and, of course, the main method of psychotherapy existing to the present day.

This talking cure occurred when the patient recalled past -- especially those events that occurred when the paralysis or the amnesthesia first happened. In an attempt to probe further into this hidden source of unconscious motivation, Freud had patients recall slips of the tongue or dreams or any other phenomena that might be related to this unconscious world.

this became known as catharsis , a releasing of repressed memories -- but not necessarily a release of emotion (e.g hatred), as is now commonly held. Part of the therapeutic method involves transference, the placing upon the therapist those feelings (usually positive) that the client feels towards others and creates a bonding relationship with the therapist.

His method then expanded into an elaborate theory of personality. This theory involved a structure: the id (basic biological drives yielding to a "pleasure principle" (sex, eating, etc.), ego (obeying a relaity principle -- connecting with the outside world); and superego (repressed societal and family values). And functions: repression, transference, projection and the various complexes of Oedipus and Electra.

Dynamic Psychology These ideas of Charcot and Freud were based on the notion that there were internal tensions or pressures -- ideas borrowed partly from physics (force and activity) and partly from philosophy. We have seen how Leibnitz and his monadology believed in unconscious physical (spiritual) centers of activity that were in a continual state of flux and change. And then Herbart, who explained mind in terms of ideas that were above or below the limen of consciousness, and how ideas with more tension were able to push through and fit into the apperceptive mass of consciousness.

Fechner had tried to show how "awareness" or "sensation" (non-cognitive factors) could be measured by having subjects report what stimuli produced just noticeable differences. 

It was obvious that psychology was beginning to take note of not only external but internal pressures.  Freud tried to base these pressures in childhood sexuality; innate biological needs and urges which gave rise to mental energy.  But many of his disciples disagreed.

Neo-Freudians.  In order to gain support for his ideas, Freud, had to contend with the anti-semitism in Viennese society, and asked his colleague Carl Jung, the son of a Protestant minister, to be the spokesman for the group.  Jung was the only Christian among the group.  And he agreed to serve as President of the Psychoanalytic Association, the group that furthered Freud’s ideas. 

Jung’s ideas were perhaps the most divergent of any of the psychoanalysts.  First, he objected strongly to the sexual connotations in Freud’s theory.  Second, he believed that some dreams represented inherited memories, what he called the collective unconscious. a phenomenon he believed accounted for similar dreams being reported by   similar racial and national groups. Third, he had a highly elaborate theory about the structure of personality.  His theory was filled with dichotomous branches.  Personality was either introverted or extroverted. the two major dimensions wre introversion-extroversion.

Alfred Adler

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Alfred Adler, another colleague of Freud, had a theory called "individual Psychology" and maintained that children, when born, observe adults as being so much bigger and powerful.  As a result, they develop an inferiority complex which gets converted into a superiority complex.  This would explain a “Hitler,” who presumably had feelings of inferiority which got expressed by a controlling and authoritative manner. Check out Biography of Adler provided by the San Francisco Alfred Adler Institute.

Karen Horney, one of the few lay (and women) analysts developed a popular theory that was not too complicated.   She observed many patients as trying to deal with various conflicts in their life.  She identified ways in which people resolved those conflicts by “moving toward” moving “against” and moving “away” from other people.

Subsequently, and more broadly, dynamic psychology has included a whole host of personality theorists who have emphasized the internal forces of humans rather than the external forces that account for action and movement. Most of these were from main-stream experimental psychology, not from the medical field represented by the Freudians. McDougall and his hormic psychology; Tolman and purposive behaviorism; Woodworth and his dynamic psychology; Lewin and his Gestalt psychology, (a "field theory" recognizing that inner tensions and outside pressures both are part of one's "psychological field."); most of the Gestaltists who, though calling into play perception rather than motivation have had to give some credence to the drive forces that account for perception, and Murray's work on psychological needs and the TAT, a diagnostic tool for assessing personality..


Progress Check 1


1.     Hedonism was:

a.      An old theory going back to Epicurus

b.     The basis for Freudian theory

c.      Part of the utilitarianism of British Empiricism

d.     All of the above


2.     Charcot was a neurologist that worked at:

a.      Nancy, France

b.     Paris, France

c.      The Salpetriere

d.     A psychiatric clinic

3.      Charcot believed that hysteria:

a.      was a psychotic condition

b.     could be cured by hypnosis

c.      responded to “talking out” the problems

d.     always indicated the presence of hypnotic suggestibility

4.     Which of the following were true of Jung:

a.      He believed that sex was an integral part of any psychological theory

b.     Freud and he were similar in their views

c.      He was the accepted head of the psychoanalytic association

d.     Had a theory of inferiority/superiority complexes

5.     Adler maintained that there were:

a.      Two directions for psychic energy to flow – inward and outward

b.     Two basic complexes (inferiority-superiority) that were interrelated

c.      Had a theory of “life space.”

d.     Internal and external bases for psychic energy                       

    6. Freud's theory held that an individual's superego represented:
    1. basic biological drives
    2. pleasure principle
    3. societal values
    4. Oedipus complex

    7. Lewin's theory held that behvior can be predicted by understanding a person's "life space," which, included:

    1. the geographical environment
    2. person's needs
    3. individual's perception of the world
    4. all of the above

    Now check the Answers

    April 1, 2006