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October 13, 2006

Laura's commentry of Freud

“I do not know what kind of help she wanted from me, but I promised to forgive her for having deprived me of the satisfaction of according her a far more radical cure for her troubles.” Dora: An Analysis of a case of Hysteria, Sigmund Freud (pg.112)

As this work is so titled “An Analysis of a Case of Hysteria,” the focus was not Dora, but analyzing the disease, hysteria, from which she and others suffer; the evidence of the analysis happens to be the particular case involving the girl Dora. Freud writes, “I don’t know what […] she wanted from me,” which underlies the fact that Dora was the only one who could receive a personal benefit of this treatment, and that Freud was strictly analyzer through whom the treatment was delivered. Though Freud does not intentionally make this parallel, his analysis of Dora is very similar to analysis completed by any scientific researcher. The researcher does not have any personal stakes in the matter other than their own satisfaction of discovery or understanding of their subject. This is exactly how Freud describes his interest in Dora, the “satisfaction of according her a […] cure…” And the fact that Dora “deprived” Freud of this satisfaction is analogous to a researcher feeling disgruntled at not being able to complete his research because his employer broke off his funding for the research.
So this case happens to be that of the girl named Dora, but the focus is on Freud as an analyst and his own report of his experience of his work and theory.

Posted by lacaga at October 13, 2006 01:19 PM


Notice also that the phrase "I do not know what kind of help she wanted from me" suggests that, in many ways, Dora (in spite of Freud's confidence that he knows Dora better than Dora knows herself) nevertheless remains an unknowable mystery to Freud. In this important respect ("what she wanted from me") Dora's "motives" remain unknowable.

Posted by: bhattach at October 14, 2006 01:51 AM

I think it is also important to remember that it was not ever actually Dora herself who wanted something from Freud. It was her father who brought her in and, at least as it appeared to me, Dora was sort of reluctantly along for the ride. In some respects, she appeased Freud's need to gain insight into what she was going through but typically she would just do what Freud told her to, answer his questions, and put up with treatment. I also think that Freud's use of the word "forgive" is rather interesting. Meaning "to pardon", "forgive" implies that Dora wronged Freud in some way. In my opinion, Dora did not owe Freud anything and he used the word "forgive" to imply how much it really did bother him that he was not able to get personal benefit from "solving" the case.

Posted by: samlily at October 17, 2006 12:37 AM

To me, it does seem that Freud had a stake in the matter; he knew it, and Dora also knew it. He promised to forgive Dora for discontinuing treatment because they both knew it would hinder Freud's ability to come to a conclusion. While Freud found "satisfaction" in helping Dora, he was also diving into uncharted territory as far as his psychological research was concerned and a greater satisfaction would have been a conclusive psychological breakthrough.

As far as the "help" that Dora wanted, it is clear that Dora did in fact want help. True, it was her father who brought her in, but she could have broken off treatment at a much earlier date. Her motives for seeking help remain unknown, but perhaps Dora was on a search for truth like Oedipus was, and it was too much. So, she took control and abandoned treatment of her own will.

Posted by: romie at October 18, 2006 03:10 PM

This quote also implies that Dora often felt guilty about things, be it her repressed thoughts for which she developed symptoms, or maybe not letting Frued complete his "scientific observation," since Frued had to promise to "forgive" her. In terms of what kind of help Dora wanted from Freud, it could be that while she did benefit from his help a little, she may have wanted him to form less denied by her conclusions , because it was probably intimidating and overwhelming to have someone inform her of who she feel attracted to. For instance, Freud's assumption that she was attracted to Herr K. could have been very wrong. Although Freud did emphasize listening to his patients, he did, perhaps, jump to too many abstract conclusions.

Posted by: monikade at October 18, 2006 04:49 PM

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