"The hysterical attack corresponds to a memory from a patient's life." - Sigmund Freud, 1895
Jean-Martin Charcot teaching at the Salpêtrière.
Photo Courtesy David Monniaux
After completing his degree, Freud
began to conduct research on neurophysiology. He had earned a medical degree, but he was not particularly interested in the practice of medicine. While he was more concerned with science and research, he knew that he needed a steady career in order to marry his fiancé, Martha Bernays.
Charcot and Hypnotism
In 1885, Freud went to study with Jean-Martin Charcot at the Salpêtrière in Paris. Charcot was utilizing hypnosis to treat women suffering from what was then known as hysteria
. Symptoms of the illness included partial paralysis, hallucinations, and nervousness. Patients were also photographed, which made Charcot's results questionable. Many of his patients were eager to perform for the cameras and dramatically exaggerated their symptoms as well as the results of Charcot's treatment.
Anna O. and Talk Therapy
Freud would continue to research the use of hypnotism in treatment, but it was his friendship with colleague Josef Breuer that led to the development of his most famous therapeutic technique. Breuer described his treatment of a young woman, known in the case history as Anna O.
, whose symptoms of hysteria were relieved by talking about her traumatic experiences. Freud and Breuer collaborated on a book, Studies on Hysteria
, and Freud continued to develop his use of this "talk therapy