How Freud’s Arsenicum Pathology Was Instrumental In His Founding Of Psychoanalysis - homeopathy360

How Freud’s Arsenicum Pathology Was Instrumental In His Founding Of Psychoanalysis


Dr B. S. Suvarna

B.A, D.I.Hom[Lond.], M.I.H, PhD,PGDPC(Psychotherapy & Counselling, USA)
Jeevan Shanthi, Near AIT Girls Hostel, Bypass Road, Kalyan Nagar, CHIKMAGALUR 577102
Karnataka State, INDIA

The term psycho analysis is a composite one , consisting of two Greek words “ analysis “ and “psyche” the latter meaning soul , character , personality , emotional life . It is long lasting process that takes years to complete . The famous “ Oedipus complex “ and the term unconscious ( better known as subconscious ) and “ libido “ are parts of this theory . The patient’s position during therapy is horizontal , lying on a bed , while the analyst sits behind the patient’s head.

Psychoanalysis are fanatical in conforming the credibility of this form of analysis , but the dispute and criticism this theory has endangered from its beginning right through to the present day are considerable.

Homoeopathy in this case , as well as in many instances , can be a precious tool in our attempt to approach the truth , and this is what we are setting out to do here

I am basing this work on the promise that every idea is an imprint , a picture of its creator’s “ psyche “ this is certainly true for psychoanalysis . An investigation of the psychoanalysis stands out as the most dogmatic personality traits and idiosyncracies have with Freud’s own personality theory in the field , and this reflects one of Freud’s own characteristics .Dogmas have inviolable limits have inviolable limits mainly for the purpose of security , which is what Arsenicum longs for all his life , because freedom contains danger.

The frame of psychoanalytic practice is exactly and strictly defined , there is an exact description of all obligations of both participants , about frequency , duration payment and even the precise position which both patient and analyst are to maintain during the interview .. All agreements and rules are to be found under the following names  contact and alliance.

These are terms that remind us of commercial transaction or war negotiations . Freud added one more limitation to all the above ending formality in therapist patient relations to the nth degree , he legislated the therapist’s action as a lifeless mirror , through which the patient merely looks at his own reflection !.

Let us try our first interpretation at this point , the rubric “anxiety when any thing expected “ contains only one remedy; Arsenicum . You can’t expect any thing from a mirror !

Psychoanalytic practice as mentioned previously , requires the patient to lie on his back . while the analyst sits at the head of the bed at a secure distance from the patient , in a position permitting him to control all physical and emotional reactions of the patient which he remains safe even from his patients glance. It is the only capital remedy among thirteen of the rubric “ looked at can not bear to be “ .

The therapists position is by nature a secure position compared to that of the patient . Freud’s insecurity however , this is not enough and he places the patient lying on his back , a position that in free and Greek  Roman wrestling, as well as in martial arts, signal , that the opposition has been completely neutralized.

From this secure position , the Fruedian analyst begins to analyze his patient in detail , three to four times a week , for a period of three  to ten years ! We can detect here his obsession with details , a kind of fastidiousness , as well as the insufficiency of his method .

Freud believes that the mental symptoms , in other words the apparent enemy , are nothing but , are nothing but a musk worn by the real enemy , hidden in darkness of the “unconscious “ Freud initially tries to uncover this hidden enemy and , having thus made it less threatening , he then attempts to bring it up to the surface of unconscious .

One of the definitions of anxiety , a key symptom of arsenicum  is a feeling of an impending vague danger . Freud tries to convert the danger from vague to obvious.

He perceives his environment as inimical and threatening and this stems from his own childhood that “….the child grows and finds out that it is his destiny not to remain a child for ever and that he will never be able to live without protection against the unknown and most powerful forces…”

We already know , that the tremendous impression of the child’s helplessness gave birth to the need  for attachment to a father much stronger ( he means god )

Man can not remain a child for ever ; finally he has to take the risk of entering inimical word .

Libido follows the directions of narcissistic needs and becomes attached to objects ( meaning of persons ) that are able to satisfy those needs . Thus mother satisfying the hunger becomes …his protection against restlessness .

Arsenicum album feels weak and help in a seemingly inimical world.
Perceiving the world via the distorting prism of his own personal disorder , Freud not only attempts to shape all mental disorders in this narrow frame , but also tries to interpret religion and social structures from this same point of view point of view ..He interprets and explains everything according to his own reality and thus he retains the delusion of being able to control everything . This is a dominating need for arsenicum 

Writing that insecurity of life is what joins people in a community he reveals both his characteristics and key symptoms of of arsenicum ; his insecurity and his tendency to kill

Leaving no doubts about our presumption , he continues , civilization established the law that prohibits killing the neighbor you hate , or the one you find as an obstacle in your way , or the neighbor that has an eye on your property .

The killer attracts upon him self the revenge of the victim’s relatives and also the occult envy of those that feel inward tendency (to kill) . The infant according to Freud is born helpless and vulnerable , surrounded by dangerous and potentially lethal stimuli of the environment . During his first year of life , survival depends absolutely upon those that have undertaken his care .

His insistence on the subject seems inexplicable unless we  understand his idiosyncratic arsenicum type feeling as quoted above is insecurity is dominant in arsenicum from the very first stages of its pathology

The objective way to look upon the subject is that an infant is naturally vulnerable , but it does not drop into the world from heaven ,it is born to two parents , integrating a totality with them .(family) and having a period an innate tendency not only for care and protection , but also for something more precious ;love . psycho analysts asserts that all children , from birth to five years of age , pass through three stages of “psycho sexual development “oral (birth to one year) anal (one to three years )and oedipal or phallic stage (three to five years )

During the oral stage babies discover pleasure through their oral attachment to the mother’s breast first and to other objects , like their own fingers , later . Incomplete overcoming ,of this oral stage has a result of dependence and attachment as basic traits of the adult ( this is arsenicum way of dependence ) The babies dependence is a demanding one , exactly similar to that of arsenicum ..Vithoulkas uses this trait to differentiate ,arsenicum from phospsrous , both of which have tremendous about health …while phosphrous will beg the physician for help , arsenicum  will be demanding it .

During the anal stage , pleasure comes from the homonymous part of the body , due to the relief that follows elimination , as well as mother’s rewards when elimination takes place properly in place and time . Unsuccessful overcoming or fixation of the anal staze will mark the adult with tendency to retention and fastidiousness , the well known symptomology of arsenicum.
The third and most famous stage is the oedioal one; boys at approximately the age of three , discovering the origin of pleasure  from their genital area , develop a kind of sexual possessive desire for their mother , look upon the father will react by castration anxiety according to psychoanalytic terminology .

The compatibility of ideas exhibited in this stage , as well as in the whole Freudian theory , with arsenicum pathology and Frued’s own traits is more than impressive 1)desire for possessing the mother as an object of libidinal investment .Vithoulkas points intensely to the arsenicum tendency . He is a very possessive individual and especially with people 2) murderous hate for the rival father and 3) anxiety (insecurity) that the father will punish him with castration

According to his biographers , Freud was himself so passionately attached to his mother , that he could not tolerate sharing her with any body else . He faced any possible rival with tremendous hostility . Thus he wished for his younger brother’s death , which indeed happened and filled young Freud with guilt . This event is also helpful in understanding why arsenicum is capital in the rubric “ anxiety as if guilty of a crime.”

His feelings towards his father were extremely inimical as well .Wasting time at a barber’s shop , he was late to his father’s funeral and later he wrote that he did not feel the sorrow he ought to for this event . Strangely he describes his father’s death as the most poignant loss of his life , and that which troubled him for a long time . It seems rational that his grief was due to
1)the feeling that he had lost one of his support systems
2) the guilt because of the hostility he had felt towards his father when the latter was still alive and
3)the fact that his father’s death only emphasized and increased his already existing fear of death .

This third factor seems to be the exciting cause for starting his self analysis a few months later .He would spend thirty minutes before going to sleep every night analyzing himself and continued with this until his death . This exact keeping of a certain program every day is another example of his fastidiousnessIn the first years he addressed his written self analysis to a close friend and collaborator who was in a higher social and professional position , and whom freud admired and could rely on

According to his friend, Freud uses fliess and expects from him . The people that Freud broke relations with were those that he was usually expecting a lot.
It is written in the essences that in any relations right from the beginning , arsenicum has the expectation of receiving something return , and this will become obvious in case the turn will not come.

Freud was occupied for a long period of time the Fliess’s theory of a universal law of publicity which is related with death (both concepts periodicity and concepts , and death appear in the basic pathology of arsenicum ) . Based on this theory Floes  predicted Freud’s death as  occurring , a prediction which a terrified Freud adopted , at a time , when he was already concerned and obsessed with his own death

So he writes , am occupied with calculations that have to do with the duration of life …for egoistic reasons ( to live longer ) I will be satisfied to reject Flies’s estimations and concludes that his death is going to happen, making another mistake of 22 years !. He started trials to predict his death when he finished the interpretations of death a book that he believed was his masterpiece and thus their was nothing more to accomplish in life and he might as well die . Almost any incident would have been scrutinized for some indications of the year of his death.

In a chapter about superstitions in a copy of his own book , Freud wrote somewhere in the margin that the neurotic compulsive superstitions derive from a core murderous rage against a loved person a rage that is repressed ( kill desire to beloved ones –arsenicum ) ,what a strange thought , as well as glamorous description of arsenicum . Freud tried to connect two different links of pathology he himself was experiencing , his fear of death agony before death “ deathly anxiety “ anxiety like one who has committed murder , loathing life ,he appears like a cadaveric, cadaveric odors gangrene , mortified flesh , my whole insides are mortifying , cancerous affectations , the surface of the body is cold pale dream of the dead , dream of the death this concept of the death the link that joins the two symptoms previously mentioned –fear of death and desire to kill.

Freud’s fear of death began in child hood , and continued to manifest itself in adulthood , he was very anxious about precordial discomfort and the little pains he was feeling , and believed that they would drive him to early death . He writes that when he was six years old his mother taught him that we all are made of earth and must return to earth . Freud did not like this idea at all , so his mother rubbed her palms together and showed showed him the scale of skin procured by friction as proof of her statement . He felt completely astonished, he writes as much as ,when later heard the words you owe nature  a death this even must have been the exciting cause of his death of fear so early in life .

As comparison only I quote native data by the second most famous exponent of personality theories Karl Jung he in contrast to Freud was mostly attracted by the phenomenon of death for his mystery and un certainity . He remembers the beginning of this attraction when he was told four years old and discovered the dead of a man drowned and half covered by the sand  by the river’s edge . when he was told that fourteen people drowned and was struck in the sandy river red . He writes and said there was no sandy bed , he writes that there was no holding me from going to see them . He was similarly interested in watching the slaughter of a pig to the absolute horror of his mother.

These events of Freud’s and Jung’s child hood are excellent examples of how two people with different dispositions have completely different reactions to similar stimuli.

When Freud’s death fear reached a peak , he quit smoking his beloved cigars only be to begin smoking them later on continuously till his death was due to cancer of the mouth cancer and it is underlined twice ,dependence type according to his own type and according to his own theory and restless are the traits expressed by heavy smoking habit he had , pointing also to arsenicum . His dependent tendency even more obvious during the long time he was addicted to cocaine till his death .The interesting coincidence is that his death was due to cancer of the mouth (arsenicum is among the few remedies of the rubrics –mouth cancer and it is underlined twice )dependence ) of the oral type according to his own theory ) and restlessness are the traits expressed by the heavy smoking habit he had , pointing also to arsenicum .His dependent tendency was even more obvious during the long time he was addicted to cocaine.

The power of death was so dominant inside that Freud alone included it among the instincts and wrote about a “death instinct “that exists inside every one .What a perversion in life expressions ! it is well known that the power of the instict belongs only to phenomena and tendencies that support and promote life (self conservation serving the life of the individual reproduction and mother hood serving the life of the species )

When  he desperately wonders whether there is any reaction some one can compare to death he reveals lack of experiencing that absence expelled only by the  reappearance of the absent and any how not by analysis !

This kind of analytical mental approach in order to know “where he is standing on is what the rubric theorizing “ means when referring to arsenicum

It is very often the case that individuals create a theory or an ideology out of their own pathology . Freud went even further he proposed it is a tool for knowledge and psychic therapy proper for all and extending even to social and religious phenomena

According to C.Monte ,Freud was under the strong influence of his passion to be the master of his own destiny ( i.e., need to control ) a fact that according to the same writer , must have played an  important role in his decision to begin his self analysis , insecurity is what leads to the need for control and this is a key symtom of arsenicum .

It has been said that destiny has reserved for the insecure Freud the role of the person finally pulled the last inch of the “carpet of safety “ out from under the feet of the western world , This process had already begun when Copernicus said that earth was not the center of the universe and continued with Darwin when he stated that man was not special nor the king of creation but that he was not the accidental evolution of the fish or the monkey . Freud closes this trilogy by stating that man’s life is “ accidental “ and not controlled by himself or his free will rather it is controlled by forces stemming from unconscious

Several writers have repeatedly pointed out that they find many similarities between psychoanalytic theory and Freud’s own personality have tried to show how on the own hand , the main aspects of the whole of psychoanalytic theory , structure and practice and on the other hand Freud’s own pathology , both find their simillimum in arsenicum album ,the former is a product and a picture of the latter thus we find that a true understanding  of the real dimensions of psychoanalysis can only be reached using the tools provided to us by homoeopathy .

About the author

Dr B.S Suvarna

B.A, D.I.Hom[Lond.], M.I.H, PhD, PGDPC (Psychotherapy & Counselling, USA)
Jeevan Shanthi
Karnataka State, India