Breuer and Psychoanalysis

Joseph Breuer was a famous German key-personality in the field of neuropsychology who influenced the development of Freudian psychoanalysis. His unique observations on his patient Anna O is a door-opening invention in the field of psychoanalysis which attempts to take the patient back to their former life through the application of ‘talking cure’ system to make him or her interact with the unexpected happenings in the past which play very vital roles to distort the patients’ mental conditions.

Psychoanalysis and its beginning

Bartha Puppenheim, popularly known as Anna O, was suffering from a severe disease with multiple issues. These included paralysis on her right part of the body, blurry vision, the problem with eating, drinking, and speaking. Moreover, she developed a tendency of speaking English though her mother tongue was German. In addition, she occasionally suffered from delirium which led her to behave wildly with the others. The conventional European treatment strategy failed as the doctors took her problem as hysteria. Fortunately, Anna was discovered by Joseph Breuer, one of Freud’s friends.

Breuer’s “Talking Cure”

Psychoanalysis can be referred back as the outcome of Breuer’s dealing with the mechanism of ‘talking cure’ in dealing with Anna’s problem. He attempted to apply the strategy of talking cure to bring Anna to normality. He used the mechanism of enabling her to speak her mind through hypnosis. He wanted to take her to her past in this process. This system worked tremendously in making her calm and peaceful and getting more sleep. He also discovered its therapeutic effects. Through this ‘talking cure’ process, he came to know about her past which was responsible for her physical and mental handicap. Freud also applied this system in his treatment of those patients who suffered from hysteria. He applied this method to a Viennese young girl who dreamt of a prince who would come one day to marry her. This obsessive thought made her neurotic which eventually, led her to mental distortion. Freud applied the method of talking cure on her so that he could take her to her past and gave her the rational idea that a prince would never come to marry her.

Abdur Rahim
Abdur Rahim

Assistant Professor, and Member of the Proctorial Body
Department of English Language and Literature (DELL), Premier University, Chattogram,
& Doctoral Fellow, English Department, Jahangirnagar University, Savar, Dhaka.

Phone: +8801715638298


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