What are Defense Neuropsychoses according to Freud?

Defense neuropsychoses is a nosological category identified by Freud in 1894, and includes neurotic and psychotic disorders characterized by conflicts between affects and ideas : hysteria, obsessions, phobias and hallucinatory psychoses . Two years later, the notion of defenses became more central to Freud’s theories (1896b).

Charcot demonstrating hypnosis in a “hysterical” patient from Salpêtrière, “Blanche” (Blanche Wittmann), who is supported by Dr. Joseph Babinski (rear) – the same one from Babinski’s reflex

It is likely that even after reading the text “ The defense neuropsychoses ” (Freud, 1884) you were left wondering:

“But after all, what are the defense neropsicosis ?”

The answer is already in the “alternative title” of Volume III of Imago’s Complete Works by Freud:

THE DEFENSE neuropsychoses (formulation ATTEMPT OF A THEORY
OF HYSTERIA ACQUIRED, OF MANY PHOBIAS And OBSESSIONS AND CERTAIN PSYCHOSES
hallucinatory ).

In “ The Defense Neuropsychoses ” (1894a), Freud reported his “detailed study of several nervous patients who suffer from phobias and obsessions” (p. 26). He saw in this study a contribution to “the theory of hysteria, or rather, a change in it, which seems to take into account an important characteristic that is common to hysteria and neurosis” (p. 26). He isolated the defense, which is characteristic of hysteria and established possible connections between it and phobias and obsessions. Above all, the article was one of the first discussions about the conflict between affection and ideas and the consequences that such a conflict could have on the functioning of the ego .

In “ Additional observations on defense neuropsychoses ” (1896b), Freud returned to his discussion of the different forms of neurosis, emphasizing that his observations in the past two years had reinforced his view of “ defense as a core point in the psychic mechanism of neuroses. in question ”(p 162.) – a view he maintains in his subsequent writings

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