Introducing Freud at the Freud Museum: 12 week evening course

22 September 2016 - 8 December 2016

As Freud is so frequently referred to it is natural to assume that we already know everything about him, but the superficial manner in which his ideas are normally discussed – often intended to justify dismissing psychoanalysis out of hand – conceals the fact that his thinking is little understood, despite the controversy that has raged around his ideas since they first became internationally known. This course will offer the opportunity to engage directly with Freud’s writings, clarifying the meaning of his most important concepts and theories, as well as his views on the practice of psychoanalysis. We will place Freud accurately in his historical context – as well as bringing into focus the relevance of his work to debates that are taking place now. The course will be accessible to beginners but will also stimulate those who already have some knowledge of Freud and psychoanalysis. Each session will be based around selected passages from Freud’s writings (all the readings are taken from ‘The Freud Reader’ edited by Peter Gay).

Week 1: Introduction: The nature and status of psychoanalysis: perspectives and debates. (p3 – 17 & p783 – 796)

Week 2: Hysteria (1): What is (or was) ‘hysteria’? A ‘female malady’? The case of ‘Anna O’: dissociation, hypnosis and the ‘cathartic method’. Freud’s early practice as a psychotherapist. (p60 – 78)

Week 3: Hysteria (2): Symptoms and ‘defence’: from hypnosis to ‘free association’. From the ‘Lucy R’ case to the ‘seduction theory’. The reasons for Freud’s abandonment of the ‘seduction theory’ (p78 – 86 & p96 – 113)

Week 4: Dreams (1): The meaning of dreams and how Freud learned to interpret them. The dream of ‘Irma’s Injection’. Freud’s theory of dreams. (p129 – 172)

Week 5: Dreams (2): Freud’s use of his own dreams in his ‘self-analysis’. His reconstruction of his own early childhood. The limitations of self- analysis. The role of dreams in psychodynamic psychotherapy. (p111-126)

Week 6: Sexuality (1): The meaning of ‘Infantile sexuality’. Freud’s ‘stages’ of psychosexual development. The Oedipus complex. Freud on the sexual abuse of children. (p 239 – 293)

Week 7: Sexuality (2): Sexuality in adulthood. Perversion, heterosexuality and homosexuality. Freud’s view of ‘love’. His later theory of the neuroses. The nature and functions of human sexuality. (p387 – 400 & p443 – 481)

Week 8: The Principles of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy: The ‘Dora’ case and the importance of ‘transference’. Freud’s ‘Papers on Technique’. (p172 – 239 & p356 – 387)

Week 9: Narcissism and the Death instinct. (p545 – 562 & p601 – 617)

Week 10: Mourning and the structure of the psyche. (p584 – 589 & 626 – 645)

Week 11: Freud’s later views on the difference between the sexes. (p670 – 678)

Week 12: Society and human happiness. (p 722 – 772)


Phillips, A. ‘Becoming Freud: the making of a psychoanalyst’ (Yale U.P. 2014)

Thurschwell, P. ‘Sigmund Freud ( 2nd edition)’ (Routledge 2009)

Frosh, S. ‘A brief introduction to psychoanalytic theory' (Palgrave Macmillan 2012)

Zaretsky, E. ‘Secrets of the soul: a social and cultural history of psychoanalysis’ (Knopf 2004)

Breger, L. ‘Freud: Darkness in the midst of vision’ (Wiley 2000)

Micale, M. ‘Hysterical men: the hidden history of male nervous illness’ (Harvard U. P. 2008)

Rabate, J-M. ‘Literature and Psychoanalysis’ (Cambridge U.P. 2014)

Appignanesi, L. ‘Freud’s Women’ (Penguin 1997) & Forrester

J Grosz, S. ‘The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves’. (Vintage 2014)

Minsky, R. ‘Psychoanalysis and gender: an introductory reader’ (Routledge, 1996)

Bergman, M.,‘The anatomy of loving: The story of man’s quest to know what love is’ (Columbia U. P. 1987)

Malan, D. ‘Individual psychotherapy and the science of psychodynamics’ (Butterworths 1995)

More info here.

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