Houston Psychoanalytic Society
Book Club Event
Freud, Dora, and Vienna 1900
(Free Press, 1991)
Online Book Discussion with Author
Hannah S. Decker, PhD
Thursday, October 21, 2021
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM Central Time

Live via Zoom
*Pre-Registration required

Registration Fees
Active Members: $20
Friend Members: $25
Student Members: $10
Non-members: $30

In 1900, Sigmund Freud began treating an 18-year-old patient whom he gave the pseudonym of "Dora." She presented with suicidal ideation and physical symptoms such as a cough and loss of voice for which no physical basis was found. The psychoanalysis ended in just 3 months when she abruptly left treatment. Freud had kept meticulous notes and subsequently published a case study entitled Fragments of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria (1901/1905, SE, Vol. 7, 1-122). More than a century later, the case remains both fascinating and enigmatic. Some psychoanalysts admired Freud’s insights, while feminists criticized his attitude toward what we now know as Dora’s sexual abuse by an adult friend of the family.  

In Freud, Dora, and Vienna 1900, author and historian Professor Decker provided a balanced and nuanced account of what was troubling Dora and what transpired between her and Freud. Dr. Decker explored the family dynamics and other interpersonal interactions that gave rise to Dora’s symptoms. She described Vienna’s opulence, but also its anti-Semitism, repression, and misogyny in which Dora’s problems festered. Finally, she considered why Dora’s tensions could no longer be contained in the treatment with Freud and instead provoked her sudden departure. Now, 30 years after the publication of the book, Dr. Decker will revisit the case and add any new insights that she has had since then. Ironically (or not), this occurs at a time when our own country is still embroiled in the #MeToo movement.    
Hannah Decker, PhD will provide a 30-minute lecture for Book Club attendees, followed by discussion with the audience. She is a Professor of History at the University of Houston and an honorary faculty member at the Center for Psychoanalytic Studies in Houston. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Medical History in the Psychiatry Department at Baylor College of Medicine. She earned her PhD at Columbia University and completed a fellowship in the history of psychiatry at Cornell Medical School. Her research has focused primarily on the history of Germany, psychiatry, and psychoanalysis. Dr. Decker served as consultant to the Library of Congress for an exhibit on Sigmund Freud and to PBS for a TV series on the thought of C. S. Lewis and Freud. In addition to Freud, Dora, and Vienna 1900 (1991, Free Press), Dr. Decker's publications include the books Freud in Germany: Revolution and Reaction in Science (1977, International Universities Press) and The Making of DSM-III: A Diagnostic Manual's Conquest of American Psychiatry (2013, Oxford University Press). In 2014, Dr. Decker received a Special Presidential Commendation from the American Psychiatric Association for her book about the making of DSM-III.
Houston Psychoanalytic Society
1302 Waugh Dr. #276, Houston, TX 77019
(713) 429-5810
In an effort to reduce administrative costs, HPS will not provide CME/CE/CEUs for Book Club of the Month events. Meeting attendees will receive a certificate of attendance.

Image of Freud's office from Alamy Limited