Freud 1909

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  • The study was conducted by Sigmund Freud in 1909, the analysis of a 5 year old boy. The participant was a boy named Hans, who was cheerful and straightforward, and became 'ill' due to a phobia. Freud thought that this was due to the unconscious mind. He was refered to Freud by his father, where he studied Hans during the phallic stage with his dreams and fantasies.
  • Freud used the study to support his ideas about the origins of phobias, his ideas of infantile sexuality, the oedipus complex, and his belief in the effectiveness from the psychodynamic theory. This was a CASE STUDY due to Freud following Hans over a long period of time so it was very detailed. Hans was used for all the elements of the study so the study used independent measures. 
  • Hans' father produced all of the data from a diary he wrote in about Hans. Freud only met Hans a few times, so the data could not be completely accurate. 
  • Just before Hans turned 3, he developed an interest with his 'widdler', and noticed the absence of one in others. He had a tendency to masturbate, and so his mother threatened to castrate him. At 3.5 years old, his baby sister Hanna was born. He resented her and wanted her to drown in a bath. 
  • Hans developed a fear of being bitten by a white horse after he overheard his father saying 'Don't put your finger to the white horse or it will bite you.'  It also linked to seeing a horse fall from its carriage and kicking about. This generalised to carts and buses. 
  • Before and after the development of his phobias, he was afraid that his mother would leave him, and so he would experience fantasies and daydreams. This included the fantasy about giraffes, the plumber and the parenting fantasy. Having received help from his father and Freud, he was reassured and his phobia came to an end. 
  • The fear of horses resembled his father, and this occurred due to Hans' experience of the Oedipus complex. The blinkers and reins on the horse represented his father's moustache and glasses. Theory of psychosexual development is proven, boys in the phallic stage experience the oedipus complex and the nature of phobias is a result of the unconscious  mind.
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