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This aim can contains several examples of patients supposedly recovering forgotten memories of incidents associated with disturbing ideas (e.g., Freud, 1895b, pp. Breuer and Freud (1895b) claimed that patients symptoms disappeared when we had succeeded in bringing clearly to light the memory of the event by which it was provoked and in arousing its accompanying affect . 1017) follows Freuds versions of events, writing that (with the exception of the case of Emmy von N.) painful emotional conflicts and dilemmas involving desire, guilt and shame (p. But for all Freuds confident assurances to the reader, it remains a fact that these are, for the most part, assumptions on his part that he has by no means demonstrated.
Before discussing details of Freuds early case histories in (1895b), Mollon addresses certain misconceptions of this book [that] have been propagated and recycled in the current debates about recovered memory, and he selects a passage from Daniel Schacters book (1996) as typifying what he calls the attempt to assimilate Freud into the category of recovered memory therapist (Mollon, 2000, pp. As Mollon reports, Schacter writes that Sigmund Freud and Josef Breuers classic studies of hysteria described patients who could not explicitly remember childhood sexual abuse, but experienced disabling fears, nagging anxieties, intrusive thoughts, or disturbing images that reflected implicit memory for the trauma. Schacters mentioning childhood sexual abuse is misleading to the extent that it seems to imply that such a trauma was frequently implicated throughout these years, rather than during the brief seduction theory episode (18951897).
Mollons propensity to take Freuds clinical claims at face value is apparent in his discussion of the instances of supposedly objective corroborations adduced in The Aetiology of Hysteria (1896c, p. He notes that Freud argued that there would be unassailable proof if there were confirmation from someone other than the person being analysed, praises him for having put forward the standard of proof requested by those who support todays false memory societies, and goes on to report Freuds examples.
In the first of these, Mollon writes, a brother confirmed his childhood sexual activity with his sister (p. If we turn to what Freud actually wrote, however, we find that he did not deliver what he had promised, for the brother of his own accord confirmednot, it is true, his earliest sexual experiences with his sister (who was the patient)but at least scenes of that kind from later childhood, and the fact that there had been sexual relations dating further back (1896c, p. So the crucial infantile sexual scene was confirmed by the brother.
(2000) gives a succinct account of Freuds early clinical experiences, and of his theories of repression and the nature of memory.
Mollons discussion of some of Freuds early cases enable the reader to gain an idea of the roots from which Freuds theories developed, and afford the present writer the opportunity to consider these in some detail.