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Freud’s friend Fliess

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 March 2006


Fliess, an ENT surgeon, was Freud’s closest friend and confidant. They both believed that sexual problems were the chief cause of neurosis. Fliess postulated that eflex nasal neurosis was based on the important physiological connection between the nose and the genitals. He described specific genital spots located on the nasal inferior turbinate. Fliess’ second preoccupation was with vital periodicities. He believed that the symptoms of his reflex nasal neurosis followed regular 28-day cycles as does menstruation. He further proposed a male 23-day menstrual cycle, that he centred specifically on the nasal turbinate. Clearly, Fliess’ fanciful theories of neurosis based on the turbinates have never held any scientific validity and are presented for their curiosity. This eccentric rhinolaryngologist, however,exerted a profound influence on Freud’s conception of human development, that is often undervalued.

Research Article
© Royal Society of Medicine Press Limited 2002

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