Case of Anna O

Case of Anna O

Argosy University (On–Line)

Personality Theories PSY 362

Case of Anna O

This paper will discuss Freud and Jung’s views of the unconscious, their agreements along with their disagreements in their theories regarding the treatment of Anna O.

Dr. Josef Breuer was a colleague of Sigmund Freud. Dr. Breuer was treating one of his patients that was experiencing unexplained physical illnesses. To protect her identity, he called her Anna O. Anna was diagnosed with hysteria, resulting from her father’s illness and eventually his death. Dr. Breuer’s treatment involved talking to her and allowing her to express her pain and feelings, both mentally and physically. As Anna talked through her problems with Dr. Breuer, her symptoms stopped. This is when Dr. Breuer developed his theory of how the unconscious has an effect on the conscious. Anna’s painful experience of losing her father had created her symptoms and by acknowledging and processing his death, the unconscious had become conscious. Her unconscious unreconciled painful feelings had stopped (Hurst, 1982).

Compare and contrast Freud’s view of the unconscious with Jung’s view and apply this case example in your explanations.

Both Freud and Jung believed that the unconscious had a powerful influence on the mind (Feist and Feist, 2008). In Anna’s case, they both believed that her unconscious was influencing her behavior.

Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, had a strong interest in human nature, behavior, and the mind. Of particular interest to him was the unconscious mind. He believed the unconscious was a pool of repressed or forgotten thoughts and experiences within an individual’s psyche. He felt unpleasant memories were related to one’s past that included family, relationships, along with repressed sexual wants and desires (Feist and Feist, 2008).

Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology, had a different point of view regarding the unconscious mind. He believed the unconscious had two parts, the personal unconscious, and the collective unconscious. He believed the collective unconscious was innate and the same in all humans, similar to basic human needs for food, water, and love. “Jung saw the ego as the center of consciousness, but not the core of personality” (Feist and Feist, 2008). “Jung views the personal unconscious to be all repressed, forgotten, or subliminally perceived experiences of one particular individual” similar to Freud’s interpretation of the unconscious (Feist and Feist, 2008).

On what specific points would they agree and disagree regarding the purpose and manifestation of the unconscious in the case of Anna?

Freud’s theory of personality and psychotherapy was influenced by his college, Dr. Breuer. Freud’s interest with Anna led to his theory that a fearful and overly emotional mind may result in a person experiencing symptoms of illness. He also believed that Anna’s hysteria was caused by repressed memories of sexual abuse as a child (Feist and Feist, 2008). “As he tried to understand and explain their symptoms, he grew increasingly interested in the role of the unconscious mind in the development of mental illness” (Cherry, 2015).

Jung disagreed with some of Freud’s most basic beliefs. He disagreed with Freud’s overall negativity when it came to the perception of the unconscious (Cherry, 2015). He also disagreed with Freud’s intense focus on sexuality as a motivator. Contrary to Freud’s negative theory of the unconscious, Jung believed that the unconscious could also be a source of creativity (Cherry, 2015). His goal was to help patients become healthy by “balancing unconscious images with the conscious attitude” (Jung, 1931/1954a as cited in Feist and Feist, 2008).

How might they each approach the treatment of Anna? What might be those specific interventions?

Freud would approach the treatment of Anna by focusing on her life experiences and her repressed memories. He would explore the possibilities of childhood sexual abuse and would not give up until he found a link between the behavior and abuse (Feist and Feist, 2008).

Jung would use a different approach for treating Anna’s hysteria. He would focus on analyzing Anna’s fears utilizing his collective unconscious theory. He felt Anna’s symptoms were a result of her responses, both automatic and learned, to tragedy (Feist and Feist, 2008). He would focus on helping Anna understand that it was natural for all humans to have fears along with helping her understand how these fears evolve (Feist and Feist, 2008). “As he tried to understand and explain their symptoms, he grew increasingly interested in the role of the unconscious mind in the development of mental illness” (Cherry, 2015).

How might Anna experience these interventions considering her history?

Freud and Jung’s approach to treating Anna was based on developing theories of analyzing the unconscious and how it influenced behaviors and less on curing her, (Feist and Feist, 2008).

Most likely, Anna’s condition would not have improved if either Freud or Jung had treated her with their theories. In fact, their approaches may have led her to feel like an abnormal, sexually disturbed individual.

Anna’s ability to talk freely and come to terms with her fears of losing her father cured her of her mental and physical illnesses (Young Dr. Freud, 2002).

In conclusion, this paper has discussed the different theories of Freud and Jung comparing and contrasting their individual views of the unconscious and how it can affect one’s behavior.


Cherry, K. (2015). Sigmund Freud. Retrieved March 3, 2015, from

Feist, J., & Feist, G. (2008). Theories of Personality, 7th Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf

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Hurst, L. C. (1982). What was wrong with Anna O? Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine,

75(2), 129–131.

Jung, C. G. (1931/1954a). The aims of psychotherapy. In Collected works (Vol. 16).

Young Dr. Freud (2002). Retrieved March 4, 2015, from