Freud's case study of Little Hans

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  • Freud's case study of Little Hans (1909)
    • Aimed to try and understand Little Hans' phobia of horses and to treat it.
    • Freud used a case study, including dream analysis to research the case of Little Hans. He used information from Hans' father as the father was a follower of Freud's work.
    • Freud only met Hans twice and the study arose from his mother and father documenting his development to test Freud's theories.
    • One theme of the case study is that Little Hans had an interest in his 'widdler' (penis). He dreamt about widdlers and about wiping childrens bottoms.
      • Hans denied this interest and said it was only in his dreams. when younger, Hans had played with his widdler and his mother had told him off for it.
    • Another theme was that Hans seemed to want his father to 'go away' on business and when the family moved house so that his father was away less often, Hans wanted his father dead.
      • Hans was also jealous of his younger sister who was born when he was three and a half, the father reported that Hans was afraid of falling under the water when in the bath.
        • Freud and Hans' father suggested to Hans that when watching his mother bath his sister, he wished she would let his sisters head go under the water. Hans agreed this was true
    • The phobia being treated is a third theme - Hans said he was afraid a white horse would bite him. It appeared that he had heard the father of a girl staying with them tell her not to 'put her finger on' the white horse that was drawing the cart to take them to the station.
      • Hans also said that he was afraid of black on horses' mouths and things in front of their eyes. Once, when walking with his mother, he had seen a horse fall down when drawing a bus.
    • When Hans denied interest in widdlers except in his dreams, this was evidence of repression, pushing unwanted desires into the unconscious.
      • Hans dreamt about wiping bottoms because he had enjoyed having this done to him, which showed pleasure at the anal stage.
        • Hans wanted his father to go away or die becausse he enjoyed being with his mother and having his mother's attention. His jealousy oof his sister was evidence of the same desire for his mother.
      • Hans' fear of a white horse represented a fear of his father. Freud thought that tthe black around the horses' moouths and of  things in front of their eyes represented adult men with moustaches and glasses on, reinforcing the idea of Hans being afraid of his father.
        • When the girl was told not to put her finger on the horse, this reminded Hans of when he was told off for playiing with his widdler, which Freud interpreted as castration fear.
      • when Hans said about the doll that mummy is the mother, Hans is the father and his own father the grandfather, it showed that Hans was now cured, as this was the resolution of the Oedipus complex.
    • It was concluded that his study of Little Hans offered evidence for his psychosexual stages and theory of how gender develops.
  • Hans also said that he was afraid of black on horses' mouths and things in front of their eyes. Once, when walking with his mother, he had seen a horse fall down when drawing a bus.

Comments

MrsMacLean

a really helpful resource, lots of detail. 

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