Little Hans
Updated: 3/31/2020
Little Hans
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Storyboard Text

  • Little Hans was a Jewish boy from Vienna in Austria. He was 5 years old at the start of the study although some events were recorded from years earlier. He was called Little Hans in the study but his real name was Herbert Graf.
  • When he was 3, his mother saw him touch his 'widdler' and threatened to have it cut off by a doctor. He developed a fear of castration, at the same time, he saw a horse collapse and die on the street.
  • At four years old, Hans had a fear of horses and suffered anxiety because of it, often not leaving the house. Hans' father was a fan of Freud's work and thought his son's case would be of interest.
  • When telling Freud, Hans' father said the fear of horses came from their large penises, reminding him of the dissatisfaction with his own. At the same time Hans' father objected to him getting into his parents bed.
  • Freud established the fear of horses with blinkers and a harness came from Hans' fathers moustache and glasses and Hans' anxiety was castration anxiety caused by his mothers threat and fathers banishing.
  • The end of the phobia was marked by a fantasy; Hans' imagining he had children with his mother and his dad was grandparent. This resolved the conflict and Hans had finally identified with his father
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