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What is Free Association

What is Free Association

Free association superseded hypnosis as Freud’s main therapeutic technique
around 1895. Freud may have abandoned hypnosis on account of his
perceptions that some patients could not be hypnotised to sufficient depth, that
others could not be hypnotised at all and that “cures” appeared in many cases to
be temporary. Some have also suggested that Freud’s own limitations in using
hypnosis was a factor. A short period of experimentation with the pressure
technique ensued, where Freud pressed his hand on the patients forehead and
asked questions. One particular patient, however, found that such questions
disturbed her train of thought and this pivotal event paved the way for a freer
approach with no physical contact.

The gist of free association is that the patient says whatever comes to mind, no
matter how fleeting, trivial, disagreeable, embarrassing or painful. he
fundamental rule is not to censor. he basic idea is that repressed material may
become increasingly accessible through a chain of associated ideas. In the
classic psychoanalytic scenario, the patient lies on a couch and spouts forth, with
the analyst, behind and out of sight, silent, piecing together the client’s utterances
with a view to making an interpretation of the underlying dynamics.

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