Freud's Case Study of Little Hans

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  • At the age of 3, Hans developed a great interest in his 'widdler'. This made his mother cross and she threatened to send for a doctor to cut it off. This disturbed Hans and caused him to develop a fear of castration. At around this time he also saw a horse collapse and die in the street.  
  • I'm not coming back!
  • Aged 3 1/2, Hans developed a fear of baths, his baby sister Hanna, was born at this time. Freud concluded that this was because he had a death wish against his sister because he was jealous of her. 
  • Aged 4, Hans developed a fear of horses (specifically white horses with black blinkers who would bite him) His father thought this was to do with their large penis. Freud said this was because he had a fear of his father castrating him. 
  • Hans also feared carts, buses and his mother leaving him. Freud said this was because he feared the birth of another child due to jealousy and also his mothers desertion after she threatened to not come back when he was naughty. This was added to by the OC as he gained sexual arousal from being in bed with his mother for comfort. 
  • At the age of 5, Hans fears lessened and then disappeared as a result of dreams and fantasies he had (Freud stated that this helped to express the conflict). Firstly, being a father with his mother and his father was 'Grandaddy' as a fulfilment of growing up with his mother. Secondly, a plumber replacing his 'widdler' as Freud interpreted as I want to be like his father. 
  • During the case study Freud met with hans no more than once, carringout unstructured interviews and observations, where he discovered that Hans phobia of horses was due to him suffering for castration anxiety and going through the Oedipus Complex. This resolved his OC.
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