Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Family Violence

  • Susan V. McLeer


On the occasion of the death of J. M. Charcot, Sigmund Freud wrote an essay eulogizing this great French neurologist (Freud, 1893). He reported that Charcot was heard to say that, “the greatest satisfaction man can experience is to see something new, that is, to recognize it as new.” Charcot wondered how it happened that, in the practice of medicine, men could only see what they had already been taught to see. Throughout his life he remained open to new experiences; he acknowledged the need to order these experiences into a frame of reference, a theoretical formulation if you will, in order to enhance understanding and predictability. He valued theoretical medicine, but felt it was essential that one not be blinded by theoretical limitations. One day, when challenged by a group of students regarding the apparent conflict between a clinical innovation and the theoretical formulations of Young-Helmholtz, he replied, “La Théorie, c’est bon, mais ça n’empêche pas d’exister.” And so it is, with Monsieur Charcot’ s words alive in our minds, that we dare approach phenomena as complex as family violence from a psychoanalytic perspective.


Child Abuse Child Sexual Abuse Family Violence Child Physical Abuse Spouse Abuse 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan V. McLeer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Child Psychiatry, Medical College of PennsylvaniaEastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric InstitutePhiladelphiaUSA

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