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Claire Hawkes – Psychoanalysis and Schizophrenia


THE LETTER 38 (Autumn 2006) pages 49-52


The psychoanalytic approach to psychopathology assumes that all symptoms are meaningful and are related to the life history as subjectively experienced.


Freud’s study on Schreber represents his attempt to form a theory on psychosis psychoanalytically on the basis of the patient’s own report of a delusional system. For Freud, psychosis represents the withdrawal of libidinal cathexes to the outside world and their redirection inwards to the ego. Schreber’s delusional system worked for him to the extent that it made sense of his world. As Freud commented in his work on Schreber, ‘What we take to be the pathological production, the delusional formation, is in reality the attempt at recovery, the reconstruction‘.

Psychoanalysis and Schizophrenia

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