From Neurology to Psychoanalysis: Sigmund Freuds Neurological Drawings and Diagrams of the Mind

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Figures from this paper. Citations Publications citing this paper. Perspectives on human regeneration James F. Pat Thane. References Publications referenced by this paper. Allgemeine Neurosenlehre. R Brun. The organism as ontological go-between: hybridity, boundaries and degrees of reality in its conceptual history. About years ago, the neurologist Sigmund Freud created a new clinical method for psychological treatment, the psychoanalysis.

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Initially, the method was used only to treat neurotic individuals. Only in the s psychoanalysis started to open up its application scope, with the works by Sandor Ferenczi about the war neurosis; Karl Abraham and Carl Gustav Jung on dementia praecox; Anna Freud and especially Melanie Klein on child psychoanalysis.

Those psychoanalysts broke up with Freud's idea that psychoanalysis should be constrained to neurotic adults. After the s, Winnicott extended the application of psychoanalysis to antisocial disorders and juvenile delinquency; as well as Lacan developed a theory that provided support to the clinic of psychosis and perversions.

Each psychoanalyst mentioned above developed new theories and techniques in their own fields of work. After completing years, psychoanalysis is still widening its scope. With the most recent advances of the neuropsychoanalytical method, which derives from the neuropsychological method by Luria, psychoanalysis once more is enlarging its clinical capacity to treat patients with neurological lesions.

This clinical research method has been developed by researchers such as the South-African Mark Solms and the Indian S. Curiously, neuropsychoanalysis has been developed by scientists of historically marginalized countries.


In Freud times, psychoanalysis also had a marginal status, it was almost constrained to European Jews. Yet, neuropsychoanalysis represents a return to the neurologist Freud, the pioneer of the current neuroscience.


As Faust, psychoanalysis is in debt with its Mephisto. Even being distant from science over the last years, today, with neuroscience, psychoanalysis, such as Mephisto, enlightens the historic debt with the current disciples of Freud, our Faust. Neuropsychoanalysis allows for psychoanalysis coming to terms with science. Neuropsychoanalysis has been the topic of many discussions lately, however, little is known about this new interdisciplinary proposal. In the following lines we will briefly outline the origin of neuropsychoanalysis while a research method and interdisciplinary movement.

Then, we will try to analyze the objectives proposed by this new knowledge area and make some comments and suggestions, considering that neuropsychoanalysis could be a new paradigm for the 21 st century psychoanalysis. In , Eric Kandel, a prominent neuroscientist, published the article entitled Biology and the future of psychoanalysis: a new intellectual framework for Psychiatry , 1 in which he points out some suggestions for psychoanalysis in the 21 st century.

Among other ideas, Kandel proposed an approximation between psychoanalysis and neuroscience, with the objective of developing new studies and theories in the field of psychoanalysis. According to this author, neuroscience could provide more concrete empirical and conceptual basis to psychoanalysis. Yet, in , the 1 st International Congress of Neuropsychoanalysis took place in London, when the International Neuropsychoanalysis Society was founded. Mark Solms, president of the Society, has published some works since the late s, in which he presents a new method of research in neuroscience.

Sigmund Freud's Psychoanalytic Theory Explained

This nucleus displayed move- ment in both neucleoli. Portion of a cell with process as in Fig. In the nucleus a large number of delicate, forked and bent rods. This paved the way for the neuron doctrine. Nevertheless, in R.

Freud was a pioneering neuroscientist | Science | The Guardian

Field, H. Magoun, H. Hall and V. Hall eds. A decade after Freud published these drawings, when he built an In the legend to one the drawings shown here Fig. His new technique enabled him to directly observe the internal workings of the living cell.

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A host of structures and pro- cesses which had previously been invisible thus suddenly appeared before him. Triarho and M. Band 5 Schema of the restiform body at the lower levels of the audi- tory nerve. Head of the primary restiform body. Tail of the primary restiform body. Poorly myelinated fringe secondary restiform body.

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Head of the primary restiform body in which small particles of grey substance appear drawn as visualized in deeper planes. Its tail. Secondary restiform body olivary system beginning to separate.

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Ascending trigeminal root. Ascending root of the vagal system. The numbering is the same as in Fig. The place of the head has been occupied by nucleus 1. Schematic representation of the posterior column nucleus and its connexions. Comment: He simulta- neously shifted from the animal to the human nervous system. In these drawings Freud and his co-author, L. It is hard to imagine nowadays, when medical students simply learn the anatomy of the brainstem from textbooks, that barely years ago pioneers like Freud were laboriously identifying structures and connections in this tiny but highly complex part of the nervous system.

Then, he methodically traced the later developments across increasingly more mature specimens. Neue Folge vol. XX, no. Section through the most inferior level of the origin of the acusticus from a human foetus of 6 months. Higher section from the same series. VIII2 denotes the sec- ond portion of the acusticus, running around and through the resti- form body; O is the upper olive. The remainder of the legend as in Fig. All markings as before. Section through the level of the fourth portion of the acus- ticus and of the nucleus of the n[ervus] abducens 6.

VI is the n[ervus] abducens, hL the posterior longitudinal tracts, VIIk the genu of the facialis, Ctrp the part of the corpus trapezoides which proceeds to the ipsilateral upper olive, OST stem of the upper olive. Other markings as before. Comment: In these drawings, Freud traced the origin and connections of the auditory nerve in the human medulla oblongata. Again, he studied fetal specimens see legend to Fig.

He thus brought simple order to a once-chaotic and opaque region of the brain. From this point onward, his anatomical writings become increasingly We are told that the medulla oblongata is stimulated, and the patient learns that he is suffering from a neurosis of the vagus nerve. The medulla oblongata is a very serious and lovely object. I remember quite clearly how much time and trouble I devoted to its study many years ago. Today, however, I must remark that I know of nothing that could be of less interest to me for the psychological understanding of anxiety than knowledge of the path of the nerves along which its ex- citations pass.

Einleitung in die Nervenpathologie Introduction to Neuropa- thology c. They were sketched for an unpublished manuscript that he wrote shortly after his period of study in Paris with Jean- Martin Charcot. In this manuscript, Freud provided a succinct over- view of the general structure of the human nervous system. The overview included novel concepts which laid the foundations for his later work.

In other words, the relationship between body and cortex is not topological but functional. They contain the body periphery in the same way as a poem contains the alphabet, in a complete rearrangement, serving different purposes, with manifold links between the individu- al elements, whereby some of them may be rendered several times, others not at all. The concept is explicitly re- Psychological diagram of the word presentation.

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The word presentation is shown as a closed complex of presenta- tions, whereas the object presentation is shown as an open one. The word presentation is not linked to the object presentation by all its constituent elements, but only by its sound image. Among the ob- ject associations, it is the visual ones which stand for the object, in the same way as the sound image stands for the word.

The connec- tions linking the word sound image with object associations other than the visual ones are not indicated. He started with Fig. The visual components of word-presentations. In essence a word is after all the mnemic residue of a word that has been heard. Freud also accorded a special role to the auditory element of language in his conceptualization of the genesis of the superego The Ego and the Id, , and the processes by which internal superego activities become conscious thoughts or hallucinations.

Freud would never again concern himself with the concrete structure of the brain. Henceforth his approach was always functional and dynamic. Everything that can be an object of our internal perception is virtual, like the image produced in a telescope by the passage of light-rays.

Band 1. Ber- lin, Wien, Urban and Schwarzenberg These anatomical areas can be mapped onto the functional zones and elements that Freud had The distinction between those functional images and this anatomical one coincides with an important theoretical distinction that Freud drew in his neuropsy- chological studies from this period: lesions can be localized anatomi- cally but functions cannot.

This was the fundamental premise upon which he eventually shifted from clinical neurological to purely psychological ground. Psychical locality is a functional locality see Plate Moreover, the functional localities associated with neu- rotic disorders, unlike neurocognitive ones, cannot be mapped onto anatomical areas on the basis of lesion studies. Neu- roses are functional disorders of the nervous system. But they exist, and they are disorders of the nervous system nonetheless. Therefore Freud had to grapple with them, like it or not. The neurological mechanisms which he inferred from his clinical studies of neurotic patients were, however, almost entirely conjectural.

This is because the complex mental processes involved could not be mapped onto neuroanatomy due to the ab- sence of lesions and physiology due to lack of appropriate meth- ods. This schematic drawing below, from the text at left, is divided vertically into two sections: the left half, which contains the cell body of a neuron, is part of the phi perceptual system of the brain; and the right half, which contains the terminal branches of its axon, is part of the psi memory system.

This precursor of his well-known psychological theory to the effect that internal men- tal processes require a protective shield against external stimuli has interesting parallels with his ear- lier anatomical theory to the effect that representational processes arise out of the indirect nature of the relationship between periph- Comment: This famous drawing left and below depicts another way in which Freud envisaged psi neurons dealing with the threat of exces- sive stimulation, namely through inhibition.

Comment: These drawings Plates 34 and 35 depict a dream and a trau- matic memory respectively. The black dots represent associations that generate conscious awareness; the white ones are unconscious intermediate links. It is noteworthy that anatomical detail is no lon- ger necessary for Freud to portray the functional mechanisms that underpin such complex processes.

Letter to Wilhelm Fleiss, December 17, Comment: The drawing at left and those on the following pages Plates are schematic diagrams of the relationship between various normal and pathological mood states and sexual physiology.

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The cathartic lifting of the repression yielded relief from the particular hysterical symptom. In his extensive, though scattered, treatment of morality, he labors to account for the compulsiveness of morality and the feelings that accompany moral sensibility, such as moral righteousness and moral indignation, as well as the scope and nature of moral rules. Ted Feder marked it as to-read May 08, Again, Brun turned to Monakow. He privileged neuroplasticity; but he draped it in a teleological philosophy that made his framework increasingly uncomfortable for his successors. Only after the Nazi Anschluss could he be persuaded to leave Vienna, though he often had declared his detestation for the city.

The drawings depict theoretical relations he had inferred between sexuality and various mood states. Letter to Wilhelm Fleiss, December 6, The diagram directly anticipates the metapsychological picture of the same functional relations that he set out four years later in the Interpretation of Dreams The continuity between this diagram and his subsequent metapsy- chological one Plates 40 is clearly evident. Its origin in his last theoretical anatomical writings of circa I postulated a similar kind of rearrange- ment some time ago, in my study of aphasia, for the paths leading from the periphery.

Freud's “Core of our Being” Between Cytology and Psychoanalysis

From Neurology to Psychoanalysis: Sigmund Freud's Neurological Drawings and Diagrams of the Mind [Lynn; SOLMS, Mark GAMWELL] on From Neurology to Psychoanalysis: Sigmund Freud's Neurological Drawings and Diagrams of the Mind - Binghamton University Art Museum, Binghamton, NY.

I cannot say how many of these registrations there may be: at least three and probably more. I have illustrated this in the following schematic picture, which assumes that the dif- ferent transcriptions are also separated though not necessarily in topography in respect to the neurons which are their vehicles. This assumption may not be an essential one, but it is the simplest and is provisionally admissible. The drawing therefore depicts a succession of functional In the accompa- nying text, Freud states that repression consists in a failure of re-tran- scription between the Unconscious and the Preconscious-Conscious systems.

After this drawing, Freud abandoned all speculation about the physiological substrata of such complex mental processes. I shall entirely disregard the fact that the mental apparatus with which we are here concerned is also known to us in the form of an anatomical preparation, and I shall carefully avoid the temptation to determine psychical locality in any anatomi- cal fashion. I shall remain upon psychological ground, and I propose simply to follow the suggestion that we should pic- ture the instrument which carries out our mental functions as resembling a compound microscope or a photographic appa- ratus, or something of the kind.