Freud 1909

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Freud, S. (1909) Analysis of a phobia of a five year old boy.

Created by katherine.crick over 5 years ago
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Freud 1909
1 Method
1.1 Case Study method
1.1.1 Carried out by the boy’s father (Max Graf) a friend and supporter of Freud. He reported to Freud via correspondence and Freud gave him directions based on his interpretations of Graf’s reports.
1.1.2 The first reports of Hans are when he was 3 years old.
1.2 Aim: to report the findings of the treatment of a five-year-old boy for his phobia of horses.
1.2.1 Little Hans [Herbert Graf]- a 5 year old boy with a horse phobia
2 Background
2.1 Oedipus Complex- the young boy develops an intense sexual love for his mother and because of this, he sees his father as a rival and wants to get rid of him.
3 Findings/Results
3.1 The first reports of Hans are when he was 3 years old when he developed an active interest in his 'widdler' (penis), and all those of other people. He associated widdlers with living beings. For example he asked "Mummy, have you got a widdler too?" When he was three years and six months old his mother told him not to touch his widdler or else she would call the doctor to come and cut it off.
3.2 When Hans was almost 5, his father wrote to Freud explaining that Hans was afraid that a horse would bite him in the street, and how this fear seemed somehow connected with his being frightened by a large penis. When he was young, Little Hans apparently saw a horse collapse and die in the street, this may have been the actual reason for his phobia.
3.3 Hans' phobia continued until he was afraid to leave the house. Hans told his father of a dream/fantasy: "In the night there was a big giraffe in the room and a crumpled one: and the big one called out because I took the crumpled one away from it. Then it stopped calling out and I sat down on top of the crumpled one".
3.4 Freud believed that the horse was a symbol for his father: the black marks around the eyes and mouth as his glasses and moustache. Graf recorded an exchange with Hans where he said "Daddy don't trot away from me!".
3.5 Hans had described a fantasy where he was married to his mother and was playing with his own children. In this fantasy his father was the grandfather.
3.6 In another fantasy, he described how a plumber came and first removed his bottom and widdler and then gave him another one of each, but larger. Freud interpreted this as Hans identifying with his father.
4 Evaluation
4.1 Strengths
4.1.1 Case study- rich in-depth qual data
4.2 Weaknesses
4.2.1 Researcher Bias- all data was sent to Freud via Little Hans' dad.
4.2.2 Can't be generalised- only one boy, phobias are rare and unique.
4.2.3 Lack of objective or scientific data- qual data open to interpretation and subjective.
4.2.4 Ethnocentric- doesnt apply to all families and cultures.
5 Conclusions
5.1 The case study provided support for his theory of Oedipus Complex. Freud believed that Hans’ problem came from the conflict caused by this. The fantasy of being married to his mother supported this idea.
5.2 Freud thought the cause of Little Hans’ phobia was related to his Oedipus complex. Little Hans’ was afraid of horses because the horse was a symbol for his father, e.g. the black bits around the horses face were his father's moustache, and the blinkers his father's glasses. Freud believed that Little Hans feared his father’s retaliation for having sexual fantasies about his mother and so placed his fear of him onto horses.
5.3 Hans' fear of the horses started to decline and Freud believed that two final fantasies marked a change in Hans and lead to a resolution of his conflicts and anxieties.