The Surprising Way Sigmund Freud Used His Dog for Psychoanalysis of Humans

Sigmund Freud, the founding father of psychoanalysis, was a pioneer in the field of psychology and renowned for his theories on human development. Little known fact: he was also a dog person.

Freud had a love for chow chows in particular. One of his chow chows, Jofi, was his right-hand canine and accompanied him during patient sessions.

Freud thought that dogs had a calming effect over people (which they do, of course). Recent studies have supported this notion. In one study, participants were placed into one of three conditions; they either had a dog nearby, were asked to think about a dog, or had no pet involvement (the control group). The participants then had their blood pressure measured while performing a distressing cognitive task.

Results showed that those who had a dog present, and even those who were just thinking about a dog, had lower blood pressure than those who had no pet involvement.

Freud also thought that dogs had the ability to read people’s emotional states and were great judges of character. He would assess his patient’s mental states with the help of Jofi. She would lie relatively near a patient if the patient was calm whereas she would keep her distance if the patient was anxious.

Jofi was special in that she had an internal clock that would alert her when Freud’s sessions were over. After exactly 50 minutes, she would get up, stretch, and head for the door, letting Freud know that it was time to wrap things up. Freud described Jofi as “a charming creature, so interesting in her feminine characteristics, too, wild, impulsive, intelligent and yet not so dependent as dogs often are”. 




Autor: Maria Mella

Clinical Psychologist *Activist Peta UK *Animals Rights *Vegan


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