Talk:Josef Breuer

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I cut this out of the article. It is directly from [1]

Psychological processes and the studying thereof[edit]

Breuer's first important scientific work was published in 1868. With Ewald Hering, a physiology professor at the military medical school in Vienna, he demonstrated the reflex nature of respiration. It was one of the first examples of a feedback mechanism in the autonomic nervous system of a mammal. Their experiments changed the way scientists viewed the relationship of the lungs to the nervous system, and the mechanism is still known as the Hering-Breuer reflex.

In 1868, Breuer married Matilda Altmann, and they eventually had five children. Following Oppolzer's death in 1871, Breuer entered private practice. Still, he found time for scientific study. He worked in his home, with funds derived from his medical practice. Turning his attention to the physiology of the ear, he discovered the function of the semicircular canals. This work provided the foundation for our modern understanding of how sensory receptors detect position and movement. In all, Breuer published approximately 20 papers on physiology over a period of 40 years. Although he joined the faculty of internal medicine at the University of Vienna in 1875, his relationships there were strained; he resigned his position in 1885.

Anna O.[edit]

It was in 1880 that Breuer first observed the development of a severe mental illness in one of his patients, "Anna O" (Bertha Pappenheim). Breuer found that he could reduce the severity of Anna's symptoms by encouraging her to describe her fantasies and hallucinations. He began using hypnosis to facilitate these sessions. He found that when she recalled a series of memories back to a traumatic memory, one of her many symptoms would disappear, a process that Breuer called cathartic. Soon, Breuer was treating Anna with hypnosis twice a day and eventually all of her symptoms were gone. Breuer drew two important conclusions from his work with Anna: that her symptoms were the result of thoughts that were buried in her unconscious and that when these thoughts were spoken and became conscious, the symptoms disappeared. Breuer's treatment of Anna O. is the first example of "deep psychotherapy" carried out over an extended time period. In his earlier writings, Freud acknowledged Breuer as the founder of psychotherapy.

Breuer did not publish the results of Anna's treatment. However, he taught his methods to Sigmund Freud and, together, they began to develop this new form of psychotherapy. Breuer did not continue to treat patients such as Anna. Although he claimed that the demands of his busy medical practice prevented him from pursuing psychotherapy, Freud, who had been stung by Breuer's criticism of the emphasis on sexuality, spread the rumor that Breuer was upset by the strong attachment that Anna developed for her doctor towards the end of her treatment, a phenomenon that became known as transference. Freud's biographer Ernest Jones repeated this story, for which recent scholarship has found no evidence, and from there it passed into the lore of psychoanalysis.

When Freud began to use Breuer's methods of psychoanalysis, Breuer and Freud discussed Freud's patients and the techniques and results of their treatments. In 1893, they published an article on their work and, two years later, the book which marked the beginning of psychanalytic theory, Studien über Hysterie. At about the same time, their collaboration-and their friendship-came to an end. Apparently Breuer's ambivalence concerning the value of their work fueled their discord. However their final break came about over the question of childhood memories of seduction. At the time, Freud believed that most of his patients had actually been seduced as children. Only later did he realize that Breuer was correct in believing these to be memories of childhood fantasies.

Hey, come on! Most of this is seriously tendentious.

It is very likely Anna O suffered from tubercular meningitis. See E.M.Thornton 'The Freudian Fallacy'. Freud's so-called 'treatment' had no impact on her condition whatsoever, and this very courageous woman had to suffer both from her disease and from Freud's fumblings.

As for Freud 'realizing' that Breuer was correct in thinking that 'neurotic' women were reporting 'fantasies', it is much more likely that they were reporting the symptoms of real and serious sexual molestation - a theory that Freud himself initially espoused [21 April 1896, Society of Neurologists and Psychiatrists, Vienna]until he was cowed into submission by the social mores of his time.

Less Freudian idolatry, please. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:58, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

--i think the lead paragraphs reference to Anna O. should also refer to by her real name, Bertha Pappenheim. I'm going to add a link to her wiki page on that if thats ok. (talk) 14:36, 4 June 2016 (UTC)

The end[edit]

Breuer dropped his study of psychoanalysis, whereas Freud continued to develop his theories independently. However, among other concepts, Breuer usually is credited with having first suggested that perception and memory are different psychic processes and with having developed a theory of hallucinations. Breuer's background in physiology had a profound influence on the development of his theories and it is likely that his influence on the work of Sigmund Freud has been underestimated. Some physicians, the "Breuerians," continued for a time to use Breuer's original cathartic techniques without adopting Freud's modifications and amplifications.

Breuer was regarded as one of the finest physicians and scientists in Vienna. In 1894, he was elected to the Viennese Academy of Science. Breuer died in Vienna in 1925. His daughter Dora later committed suicide rather than be deported by the Nazis. Likewise, one of his granddaughters died at the hands of the Nazis. Other members of his family emigrated.

--Bookandcoffee(Leave msg.) 18:44, 15 November 2005 (UTC)


A series of meetings between Josef Breuer and Friedrich Nietzsche was fictionally recreated in the book When Nietzsche Wept by Irvin D. Yalom.

From the afterword of Yalom's book I understood that they never really met? 15:49, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

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