New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis

New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis Study Guide

Sigmund Freud’s New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis were first published in 1933, and intended as a supplement to his Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, delivered between 1915 and 1917 at the Vienna Psychiatric Clinic. In 1932, the psychoanalytic publishing business in Vienna had fallen on difficult financial times, and Freud decided to provide a new set of Introductory Lectures in an attempt to help out. The result was seven new lectures, ranging on topics from dreams to anxiety to female sexuality. In them, Freud revisits familiar and established concepts key to psychoanalytic theory and practice, while discussing more recent discoveries or trends in the field. Notably, the lectures were written to be published, and were never delivered despite the conversational tone and direct address that imply otherwise.

According to Freud, these new lectures are not primarily intended for a professional, clinical audience. Instead, they are mainly addressed to “the multitude of educated people” that may have a passing interest in the emerging science of psychoanalysis and the knowledge that it makes available. The first lecture, “Revision of the Theory of Dreams,” essentially repeats Freud’s original theory of dreams and psychoanalytic interpretation. The second lecture, on "Dreams and Occultism," addresses popular questions in a straightforward way. Meanwhile, the third, fourth, and fifth lectures (on the mind’s structure, anxiety and instincts, and femininity) introduce new concepts that Freud had begun to approach during his later years. The New Introductory Lectures are therefore of interest to professional psychoanalysts and clinical psychologists working in the Freudian tradition, as well as to non-professional types among the educated and curious “multitude” that Freud mentions in his preface (Strachey).