A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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confined entirely to adulthood, but was present in the rich fantasy life of childhood. An unsuspected world opened up to his viewthe sexual life of the child.
Sexuality in childhood, repressed by watchful parents and proscribed by society's rules, underwent distortions which emerged as neurotic symptoms later on in life. In a small volume Freud73 described the development of the psychosexual life of man from infancy upwards. He had been forced to realize that sexuality was always related to the neurosis as cause to effect. The ' sexual theory of the neurosis ' formed the foundation of psychoanalysis.
A storm of protest was launched against these ideas. Even sympathizers thought he must have been influenced by having dealt with patients drawn from decadent sections of society. He insisted that what is true of the infantile love-life of the neurotic is true of every individual.
As a matter of fact, neurologists were not entirely unprepared for Freud's pronouncements on the relation between the sexual life and neurosis. Ancient Hippocrates had advised as a treatment for hysterical widows that ' it is better for them to become pregnant \ For young hysterics, ' one counsels them to get a husband '. For generations the axiom ' Nubat ilia et morbus efifugiet' (' Let her marry and the disease will disappear ') was passed down as the court of last resort for hysterical girls. And as early as 1884 Charcot recognized that hysteria pointed to some flaw in the sex life.
For the first few years of the twentieth century Freud continued to work quietly in Vienna. Soon a small group who appreciated his discoveries and sought to learn more of his methods joined him there, and in Switzerland, too, he found support and enthusiasm.