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Developmental Psychology: Frued - Case Study of Little Hans

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Shauna Smith

on 22 April 2014

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Transcript of Developmental Psychology: Frued - Case Study of Little Hans

Developmental Psychology: Frued - Case Study of Little Hans (Illustrating the Existence of Oedipus Complex)
Frued proposes that childhood can be seen as a series of
psychosexual stages,
each stage charactorised by a fixation of an area of the body and a distinct pattern of relationships to parents.
First year of life =
Oral Stage
- The
is the main focus of pleasure as the
child is suckling and weaning
. At this stage the child is totally dependent on their main carer. and the child acquires the ability to accept nurture and have close relationships.
1 to 3 years of age =
Anal Stage
- The
is the main focus of pleasure as the
child learns to retain and expel faeces at will
. Also at this stage the parents gain control of the child's behaviour through potty training and this is when the child acquires a pattern of relating to authority.
3 to 6 years of age =
Phallic Stage
(word phallus meaning penis) - At this stage the child goes through the
Oedipus Complex
, involving the development of a strong attachment and sexual desires towards the opposite sex parent and a sense of jealousy towards the same sex parent as rival for their affection.
Frued came to this conclusion through self analysis
, through revealing his own Oedipus Complex in a letter he wrote to a friend.
Frueds most famous cases is that of
Little Hans
, who Frued believed to be going through the Oedipus Complex.

Jewish boy from Vienna, Austria
He was
named Herbert Graf,
however he was
known as Little Hans in the study
5 at the start of the study
, however some
events were recorded from a few years earlier.
Little Hans
suffered a phobia of horses
, so his
father referred the case to Frued
and went on to proivde much of the case information.
In this case study,
Frueds direct input in the therapy was limited
, Frued saw Little Hans very little and no more than twice. Little
Hans father had regular discussions with him and made notes, then reporting these to Frued who analysed them
in line with his theory.
Hans father supported Frued and was a huge fan
, therefore he believed Hans should be brought up in a modern manner.
Clinical Case Study
- meaning the
participant was undergoing therapy.

Case History:
From 3 years of age:
developed an interest in his penis
'widdler' as he called it, it was reported he played with it regularly. His mother got cross and threatened to cut it off if he didn't stop. Hans was disturbed by this and developed a fear of castration. At around this time Hans saw a horse collapse and die and was upset as a result.
At 3 and a half years years of age
: Hans
sister was born
and he was separated from her whilst she was hospitalised.
At 4 years old:
developed a phobia of horses
- he was
afraid that a white horse would bite him
. When reporting this to Frued, Hans father reported the
fear of horses seemed to relate to their large penises
. At around the same time the phobia developed so did a
conflict between Hans and his father
. Hans developed a habit of getting into his parents bed in the morning and cuddling his mum, to which his father started to object to this. Hans
phobia worsened
to the point he wouldn't leave his home, at this point he
suffered attacks of anxiety.
At 5 years old
: His
phobia lessened
, limiting to white horses with black nose bands, then disappearing altogether.
Hans reported a dream to his father, he dreamed that there were two giraffes in his room at night. One as large and the other 'crumpled'. Hans took the crumpled giraffe away from the large once, which cried out. He then sat on the crumpled giraffe.
The end of the phobia was explained through two fanitisies of Little Hans:
1. Hans fantasised he had several children suggesting his mum was the mother of the children and his father was the grandad.
2. The next day, Hans fantasised a plumber had come and removed his bottom and penis, replacing them with new, larger ones.

Results: Frued interpretted the case as an example of Oedipus Complex.
Horses represented Hans father
white horses with black nose bands were most feared
as they
resembled Hans fathers mustache,
also the
blinkers on the horses represented Hans fathers dark glasses
. Horses made good father symbols as they have large penises.
The anxiety
Hans felt was castration anxiety in result of his mothers threat to cut his widdler off
and the fear his father caused by stopping him entering their bed.
giraffes in Hans dream represent his parents
, the giraffe that cried out could be his father objecting against Hans. Crumpled giraffe represents his mother and the crumpling representing her genitals. The large giraffe with the erect neck may represent a penis symbol.
Children's fantasy about the several children with his mother resolved the Oedipus Complex
, as Hans replaced his father as his mothers main love object.
The plumber fantasy represents identification with the father
, meaning Hans could see himself growing a large penis like his fathers and becoming like him,
allowing Hans to move out of the phallic stage, vanishing castration anxiety.
suffered a phobia of horses due to castration anxiety and going through the Oedipus Complex
Dreams and fantasies expressed this
and eventually he
over come his Oedipus Complex
, and
moved out of the phallic stage
by fantasising himself taking on his fathers role and placed his father in role of the grandfather.
To give an account of a boy who was suffering from a phobia of horses and a range of other symptoms, and to use this case to illustrate the existence of Oedipus Complex.
Full transcript