The Secularization of Guilt

Reinterpreting Christoph Haizmann’s Story
  • Helen Block Lewis
Part of the Emotions, Personality, and Psychotherapy book series (EPPS, volume 1)


In 1923 Freud published the “case history” of Christoph Haizmann, a painter living in the seventeenth century who had become possessed of the Devil and then been granted a miraculous cure through prayer to the Virgin Mary. This paper of Freud’s, though brief, is nevertheless full of the clinical detail that has been so informative in psychiatry. The case account also illustrates very clearly the difference between Freud’s clinical descriptions and his theoretical formulations. Let us spend a few moments with Christoph Haizmann’s story, since it contains so many of Freud’s insights as well as so many of the psychological problems that remain today.


Emotional Conflict Neurotic Symptom Case Account Church Father Miraculous Cure 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helen Block Lewis
    • 1
  1. 1.Yale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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