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  1. Alan Sugarman

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0600

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Sugarman, A. 2010. Neurosis. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. University of California, San Diego

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Although the concept of neurosis dates to 1769 in Cullen's Synopses and Nosology, it awaited Freud's early attempts to explain and treat a host of neurotic symptoms, most notably hysterical ones, to establish its nosological prominence. In fact, the focus on the concept and the importance attributed to it as a unique psychopathological condition parallel the prominence and importance of psychoanalysis within the discipline of psychiatry. The general diagnosis of neurosis and many subtypes were included in the first and second editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association, which is that organization's attempt to construct a nosological schema of psychopathology. These manuals were used by generations of psychiatrists and clinical psychologists trained in the heyday of psychoanalysis in the United States. Psychoanalysts maintained prominent administrative and teaching positions in the most prestigious psychiatry departments, clinical psychology doctoral programs, and psychology internships in the post–World War II years. Fenichel's (1945) tome, The Psychoanalytic Theory of Neurosis, was requisite reading for clinicians going through these training programs.


  • character;
  • mental structure;
  • mentalization;
  • self reflection;
  • symptom