From Joseph’s Breuer’s account, it would appear that Bertha Pappenheim slipped easily into the psychotherapeutic process. Like Dorothy suddenly finding herself in Munchkinland in The Wizard of Oz, Bertha doesn’t seem daunted by the strange land of psychotherapy. She was quickly travelling the Yellow Brick Road.
Many patients have the same reaction to psychotherapy as Bertha, and Dorothy. It as if they have been waiting for a place like this. After lives spent listening to people telling them how to fix themselves, they intuitively know its about being understood. They also realise there are no quick fixes, the work needs to take place in the deeper reaches of their psyche. They respond positively to the empathy and curiosity of the therapist and the focus on symbolism and metaphor. They believe they have found the way back to Kansas, the place where they are not governed by rages and anxieties.
These patients tend to underestimate the power of the Wicked Witch of the West. Getting to Kansas is harder than they imagine. But that’s all for the future.
The enthusiasm of these patients is infectious. Watch as Dorothy sets out to find the wizard. It is no wonder that Joseph Breuer found himself so committed to Bertha Pappenheim.