Freud's Case Study: A Case Of Obsessional Neurosis '

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3. The Case of Ratman Ratman was the name given to a patient whose case history was published by Freud as ‘Notes upon a Case of Obsessional Neurosis’. The significance of the name according to Freud was that “rats had acquired a series of symbolic meanings, to which...fresh ones were continually being added". This case study was published in German in 1909. The patient was treated by Freud for around 6 months to one year (disputed) and was successfully treated. He showed obsessive thought and behaviors that he felt compelled to carry out. He was fascinated by the story of he heard from a fellow officer about an oriental torture technique where rats are tied to a person’s body and have no way to escape but to eat their way through the anal cavity of the victim. The rat man was disgusted but at the same time fascinated by the story. He felt a compulsion to imagine that this fate was befalling the two people who were most dear to him (his father and his fiancée). The fact that this obsession was completely irrational was evident from the fact that his fiancée was nowhere near the orient and thus unable to be subjected to the torture and his father had actually been dead for several years. The only way in which he felt this could be avoided was if he undertook a series of elaborate tasks. Another incident when he believed that his fiancée would come to harm unless he did certain actions. She was about to leave the town and while walking along the road on which her carriage was
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