Title

On the necessity of developing a phenomenological research methodology for exploring the subjectivity of historical (defunct) patients

Location

1049

Format Type

Event

Format Type

Paper

Start Date

January 2018

End Date

January 2018

Abstract

This paper addresses the patient-shaped gap in medical history identified by Roy Porter (1985). It references my MA in Creative Writing, for which I produced a novel (Reilly, 2012) about the case of Bertha Pappenheim, aka ‘Anna O’, “the founding patient” of psychoanalysis.

Pappenheim was diagnosed as hysterical and her treatment developed as a prototype of the Freudian ‘talking cure’. The sole primary sources on the case were written by her doctor, Josef Breuer (Breuer and Freud, 1974; Breuer, 1989).

I bring into question the historical validity of those reports and demonstrate how an exclusively physician-based perspective can give rise to tendentious reporting and to dubious theories based thereon. I then examine how the novelist as qualitative researcher can respond to Porter’s “real challenges [which] lie in reconstructing patterns of consciousness and action” and provide a much needed counterbalance to the medical account.

The motivation for my research lay in my own experience of regressive transference in psychoanalysis and in my empathic encounters with other analysands, as described in my autobiographical illness narrative (Alexander, 1995).

Finally I show how the above studies led me to my current PhD research, in which I use Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to explore the subjectivity of Freud’s patient Anna von Lieben through her autobiographical poetry.

REFERENCES

Alexander, Rosie, Folie a Deux: An Experience of One-to-One Therapy (London: Free Association Books, 1995)

Breuer, Josef and Sigmund Freud, Studies on Hysteria, trans. James and Alix Strachey (London: Pelican, 1974)

Breuer, Josef, ‘The Case History of Bertha Pappenheim (Anna O)’, in Albrecht Hirschmuller, The Life and Work of Josef Breuer: Physiology and Psychoanalysis (New York: New York University Press, 1989), pp. 276-292

Porter, Roy, ‘The Patient’s View: Doing Medical History from Below’, Theory and Society 14 (March, 1985), 175-198

Reilly, Hilda, Guises of Desire: The Story of Freud’s Anna O (Dicatur, 2012)

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Jan 13th, 1:10 PM Jan 13th, 1:30 PM

On the necessity of developing a phenomenological research methodology for exploring the subjectivity of historical (defunct) patients

1049

This paper addresses the patient-shaped gap in medical history identified by Roy Porter (1985). It references my MA in Creative Writing, for which I produced a novel (Reilly, 2012) about the case of Bertha Pappenheim, aka ‘Anna O’, “the founding patient” of psychoanalysis.

Pappenheim was diagnosed as hysterical and her treatment developed as a prototype of the Freudian ‘talking cure’. The sole primary sources on the case were written by her doctor, Josef Breuer (Breuer and Freud, 1974; Breuer, 1989).

I bring into question the historical validity of those reports and demonstrate how an exclusively physician-based perspective can give rise to tendentious reporting and to dubious theories based thereon. I then examine how the novelist as qualitative researcher can respond to Porter’s “real challenges [which] lie in reconstructing patterns of consciousness and action” and provide a much needed counterbalance to the medical account.

The motivation for my research lay in my own experience of regressive transference in psychoanalysis and in my empathic encounters with other analysands, as described in my autobiographical illness narrative (Alexander, 1995).

Finally I show how the above studies led me to my current PhD research, in which I use Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to explore the subjectivity of Freud’s patient Anna von Lieben through her autobiographical poetry.

REFERENCES

Alexander, Rosie, Folie a Deux: An Experience of One-to-One Therapy (London: Free Association Books, 1995)

Breuer, Josef and Sigmund Freud, Studies on Hysteria, trans. James and Alix Strachey (London: Pelican, 1974)

Breuer, Josef, ‘The Case History of Bertha Pappenheim (Anna O)’, in Albrecht Hirschmuller, The Life and Work of Josef Breuer: Physiology and Psychoanalysis (New York: New York University Press, 1989), pp. 276-292

Porter, Roy, ‘The Patient’s View: Doing Medical History from Below’, Theory and Society 14 (March, 1985), 175-198

Reilly, Hilda, Guises of Desire: The Story of Freud’s Anna O (Dicatur, 2012)