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In free-association, patients are asked to continually relate anything which comes into their minds, regardless of how superficially unimportant or potentially embarrassing the memory threatens to be. This technique assumes that all memories are arranged in a single associative network, and that sooner or later the subject will stumble across the crucial memory.
Suggested influences on the technique include Husserl's version of epoche and the work of Sir Francis Galton. Freud developed the technique as an alternative to hypnosis, both because of its perceived fallibility and because he found that patients could recover and comprehend crucial memories while conscious. However, Freud found that despite a subject's effort to remember, a certain resistance kept him or her from the most painful and important memories. He eventually came to the view that certain items were completely repressed, and off-limits to the conscious realm of the mind.
Freud's eventual practice of psychoanalysis focused not so much on the recall of these memories as on the internal mental conflicts which kept them buried deep within the mind, though the technique of free association still plays a role today in the study of the mind.
- Association of Ideas
- Bohm dialogue
- Jungian psychology
- Internal monologue
- Stream of consciousness writing
- Stream of consciousness
- Unconscious (personality factors)
- ↑ Peter Koestenbaum, Introductory essay to The Paris Lectures by Husserl, 1998
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