Philosophical Society of Washington

Freud, Scientist of the Mind

Eloise Agger
Retiring President


2098th Meeting Abstract
Friday, January 8, 1999 at 8:15 PM

Abstract:

Sigmund Freud, with more enemies than friends, was a man whose ideas have "disturbed the sleep of mankind." Though dead now for over 50 years, he is alive and well in the hearts and minds of thousands who never knew him, a true test of immortality.

What was Freud's science? Psychoanalytic concepts such as infant sexuality, instincts and their vicissitudes, narcissism, melancholia and mourning, symptoms, inhibitions and anxiety, repetition compulsion, the unconscious, repression, regression, the ego, and id, became the building blocks of current psychoanalytic theory. These concepts shape our understanding of neurotic conflict, the Oedipus complex, transference, disorders of the self, psychic determinism, and analytic cure. Psychoanalysis, the “talking cure,” is a powerful tool for treating not just the walking wounded and the worried well, but those of us with problems in living, troubled or shallow relationships, and blocks to creativity. Brief clinical illustrations will be provided.

Is Freudian theory science or sci-fi? It is up to you to decide.

About the Author:

Eloise Moore Agger practices psychoanalysis in Bethesda. She treats children, adolescents, adults, and couples. She received a doctorate in clinical social work in 1983 from the Catholic University and a certificate from the Washington School of Psychiatry in analytic psychotherapy in 1977. She is an advanced candidate in the child and adult training programs of the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute, where she also coordinates the Washington Psychoanalytic Clinic. She teaches a course on Freud at the Washington School of Psychiatry. She is on the editorial board of Psychoanalytic Inquiry and has edited three issues, “Sibling Relationships” and “How the Analytic Work Shapes the Analyst (I and II)”, and is now working on a fourth, “Hatred and its Rewards”.

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