Little Hans (1909)

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  • Little Hans (1909)
    • Aim
      • To treat a five year old boy for his fear of horses
    • Procedure
      • Freud used a case study- dream analysis- for Little Hans.
      • Freud met Hans once/twice, Hans's mother and father documents Hans's developments.
      • Hans's father followed Freud's work, wanted to test his theory.
      • Freud gave Hans's father directions based on his interpretations on how to deal with situations
    • Description of Themes and Interpretation
      • Widdler (penis)- interest in his and others widdlers in dreams, mother said not to touch widdler or the doctor will cut it off.
        • Hans in phallic stage, focus on genitals, in denial, repressed desires to unconscious mind.
      • Fear Of Horses- father thought connected with fear of large penis. developed after Hans experienced anxiety dreams about loosing his mother
        • Oedipus Complex + Castration Anxiety. Horse symbol of father (black bits=moustache, blinkers=glasses), feared father (horse) would castrate (bite) him, as punishment for desires
      • Giraffe Fantasy- big giraffe (unhappy) + crumpled one (Hans take away), when calling stops, Hans sits on crumpled one
        • Oedipus Complex. Symbolise Hans's morning routine, father objected to him getting in their bed, repressed longing for mother, focus libido on her
      • Lumf- interested in bottoms and wiping them, and toilet functions. Hans denies thinking about it, its only in his dreams
        • Unresolved conflict from anal stage (under-gratification)
      • Wishing Father Dead- Hans father away a lot, close relationship with mother, family moved, dad at home more, Hans wished him dead. Jealous of little sister.
        • Oedipus Complex. Wanting to possess mother and kill his father, jealousy for sister due to desire for mother
      • Plumber Fantasy- plumber removed his bottom and widdler, gave him larger ones, fear of horses also dissapeared
        • Oedipus Complex. resolving conflicts/anxieties. wants to be like his father
      • Marriage Fantasy- Hans married to mother, playing with his own children, given his father the grandfather role, fear of horses also disappeared
        • Oedipus Complex. resolve confilcts/anxieties. doesn't want father dead, identified with him.
    • Evaluation
      • High Validity: Lots of in-depth, qualitative data produced.
      • Low Generalisability: Unique case study- can't generalise the findings to the target population.
      • Subjective: Freud's interpretations of Hans's fathers interpretations, Freud only met Hans once/twice, Hans's father a fan of Freud's
      • Other explanation: Classical conditioning, to fear horses, saw a horse fall over
      • Low reliability: no standardised procedure, study cant be repeated to get similar results.


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