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Revista chilena de neuro-psiquiatría

On-line version ISSN 0717-9227


FIGUEROA C, Gustavo. Freud, Breuer and Aristotle: catharsis and the discovery of Oedipus. Rev. chil. neuro-psiquiatr. [online]. 2014, vol.52, n.4, pp.264-273. ISSN 0717-9227.

Psychoanalysis was originated from the cathartic method first practiced by Breuer and then by Freud. There are no hard data that can explain why Freud took so long in using it and why he associated it regularly with hypnosis rather than apply as the exclusive psychotherapeutic tool. It is argued that its creation was closely related to the concept of catharsis, as Aristotle understood it, that is to say, as the emotions that the audience discharge when attend a tragedy. The friendship and partnership between Breuer and Freud ended in a bitter breakup, delaying Freud's intellectual development. It is postulated that the breakdown was the result of an unresolved Oedipus complex of Freud in relation to an ambivalent father figure: a persecutory, tyrannical, angry one, that represented Breuer, and a good, sublimated, idealized one, that personified Freud's close friend Wilhelm Flieβ.

Keywords : Freud; Oedipus complex; Aristotle; cathartic method; Breuer; psychotherapy.

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