As one of Freud's patients termed his therapy as "the talking cure," discuss its goals.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that Freud understood talking as a significant part of his theories because it represented the only real way that individuals could feel some level of power about their motivations.  Residing in the realm of the subconsciousness that lies outside the full control of rational thought, Freud understood that talking and expressing what lies inside one's sense of being in the world is the only way to fully understand or grasp it.  In this light, talking in an open and non- structured manner becomes vitally important:

The patient, relaxed on a couch in his office, was directed to engage in a free association of ideas that could yield useful insights, and was asked to reveal frankly whatever came to mind. Through both his work with patients and his own self-analysis, Freud came to believe that mental disorders which have no apparent physiological cause are symbolic reactions to psychological shocks, usually of a sexual nature, and that the memories associated with these shocks, although they have been repressed into the unconscious, indirectly affect the content not only of dreams but of conscious activity.

I don't think that Freud ever conceived of a "cure" in his theories.  I think that he recognized that the challenge of modern beings is precisely to not see something as "cured" or "afflicted."  These social labels are precisely the reason for neurosis or being seen as "abnormal."  Rather, Freud understood that individuals must talk and fully understand the complex dimensions that govern their state of being in the world.  The ideas of free association and being able to piece together these figments and fragments of consciousness are both critical to Freud's therapy.  This is not a "cure," but rather a more effective way to understand individuals' identities and the role they play in consciousness.