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Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud’s Files

Dig into the personal files of your favorite critic.

Rough Notes From Sessions with Patients: PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL

Patient: Ida Bauer, a.k.a. "Dora"
Date: 1900

  • Met with Dora. What a head case. Oops, I mean professional opportunity. Dora is hysterical, but not as in an "I can't believe you cut me off on the freeway" way. I mean hysterical as in very disturbed.
  • Some may think the word "hysteria" applied to women is sexist, what with its antiquated reference to medical probs involving the uterus (a.k.a. lady woes). I challenge you try to come up with a better word. Suits Dora to a T. Definitely not an insult, but a justifiable subject of scientific study.
  • Dora's main symptom seems to be aphonia, or loss of voice due to incessant coughing (wish she'd do it into her elbow—much more sanitary).
  • What the heck happened? Father's friend (Herr K) made a move on her. Dad may be pimping her out because he was having an affair with Frau K. Yikes. Must dig deeper.
  • Dora doesn't feel safe with Dad. Duh. Who does?
  • She shared some of her dreams today (I love this stuff). Something about a house on fire and a jewel case. Definitely about sex.
  • I suggested that she own her own role in this scenario. She actually has the hots for Herr K., which of course is how she can manage her desire for her father.
  • Hey—might call this "transference," now that I think about it.
  • Dora got really hysterical about this suggestion. Just dumped me after eleven short weeks. Probably was falling in love with me… Sigh. I guess the ladies just find me irresistible.

Patient: Herbert Graf, a.k.a. "Little Hans"
Date: 1909 

  • May need to work on his pseudonym. Sounds a little too Dutch mafia for my taste.
  • Any hoot, potential for learning about infantile sexuality here. Very excited.
  • What's the deal with Little Hans? Afraid of horses.
  • Am a little irritated that his dad is being a blocker about letting me analyze him directly—the guy's a musicologist! Oh well, said he'd send his examination notes my way.
  • At the tender age of four, Little Hans saw a horse and cart tumble over. Formative moment alert.
  • From that point on, he didn't want to go into the street. Got all freaked out about accidents.
  • Dad says the kid is distressed about horse's penis—so big. (You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried.)
  • Looking at other possibilities. For one, he's got a new baby sister (possible sibling rivalry scenario). Maybe the kid's just wondering where babies come from.
  • Dad refuses to tell Little Hans about the Birds and the Bees. These bourgeois are so uptight.
  • Am going to entitle my own conclusions Analysis of a Phobia in a Five-year-old Boy.
  • The kid definitely wants to swap out his father (isn't that a given?).
  • Fear of horse falling = fear of the father. Thinks Dad's gonna get all crazy because he wants his mother (Who wouldn't? She's smokin' hot).
  • Just when I get this horse penis issue sorted, the kid reveals that he's fanatical about excrement ("poo"). Thinks it has something to do with babies being born. Beats me! Must dig deeper.
  • Keep reminding myself that he's a work in progress. Not about the end result. If I wanted to be a quick fixer, I should have been a mechanic.

Patient: Ernst Lanzer, a.k.a. "Rat Man"
Date: 1909 

  • This guy is a hot mess, I'll tell ya. I'm not gonna be covertly doing any crossword puzzles during his sessions.
  • Has fanatical daydreams about rats. Tons of gnarly symbolism. Also has a keen sense of smell. Wants to slit his throat with a razor. (All-around bad idea.)
  • Major procrastinator—a problem in itself.
  • All started when he lost his pince-nez. Got really upset about having to replace them. (May need a pair of neoprene eyeglass straps—but that's tough with the pince-nez.)
  • Turns out he connects losing his pince-nez with some story about a "cruel captain." Going on about a torture scheme in which rats eat away at the anus of their victims (I don't usually get disgusted, but this one got even me). Chock it up to anal erotic fantasies. Definitely must remember not to bring snacks to our sessions.
  • What does the pince-nez symbolize?
  • Some initial ideas: the Rat Man himself, his mother, his girlfriend, babies, anuses, genitalia, money, the acts of gambling, marrying, devouring, penetrating, containing. Perhaps nothing at all?
  • Starting to think torture may relate to father and fiancée. Which makes no sense, but that's why he's here, right?
  • Rat Man = loving + aggressive. Standard-issue human stuff.
  • Apparently his mother is upset because Rat Man's fiancée is poor.
  • Took it a little far today: wants to wed my daughter. Now it's personal. Claims that the only reason I curried favor was because I wanted to have him for a son-in-law. Wow/ick.
  • Clearly has a father complex (so textbook). At least his rat delirium has gone away.
  • Finally getting somewhere. This is all about his childhood sexuality and punishment for excessive masturbation.
  • Will publish findings as "Notes Upon A Case Of Obsessional Neurosis"
  • Have been invited to prevent findings at Vienna Society Psychoanalytic. They're going to eat this stuff up.
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