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  • Freud didn't actually work directly with little Hans, but instead worked through correspondence with Hans' father, who was familiar with Freud's theories, and wrote to him when he first suspected that Hans had become a case that Freud might be interested in.
  • The first reports of Hans are when he was 3 years old when he developed an active interest in his ‘widdler’ (penis), and also those of other people.
  • Freud’s theory of psychosexual development considers both nature. Nature is considered because the stages of psychosexual development occur with maturation at specific ages and because the individual reactions during these stages are affected by how the individual is treated.
  • When Hans was almost 5 Hans’ father described ‘He is afraid a horse will bite him in the street, and this fear seems somehow connected with his having been frightened by a large penis’.
  • Hans said that he was frightened that the horses would fall down and make a noise with their feet.
  • CONCLUSION Freud believed that the horse was a symbol for his father, and the black bits were a moustache.  After the interview, the father recorded an exchange with Hans where the boy said ‘Daddy don’t trot away from me!
  • Later on, Hans noted that he didn’t like horses with black bits around the mouth.
  • Freud concluded that the boy was afraid that his father would castrate him for desiring his mother. 
  • FANTASIES  Hans had several imaginary children.  When asked who their mother was, Hans replied 'Why, mummy, and you're their Granddaddy'.
  • In the second fantasy, which occurred the next day, Hans imagined that a plumber had come and first removed his bottom and widdler and then gave him another one of each, but larger.
  • CRITICAL EVALUATION The case study of Little Hans does appear to provide support for Freud's theory of the Oedipus complex.  However, there are difficulties with this type of evidence.
  • At age 19 Hans appeared at Freud’s consulting room after reading his case history.  He said that he had suffered no troubles when growing up and that he was fit and well.  He could not remember the discussions with his father, and said how when he read his case history it ‘came to him as something unknown’
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