The Freud Museum


Freud Museum Paranoia Worksheet

(Fear, projection, trauma and delusion)

'A man who does not lose his reason over certain things can have no reason to lose'. (Freud, 1895)

"PARANOIA: Functional psychosis characterised by delusions of grandeur and persecution, but without intellectual deterioration. In classic cases of paranoia, the delusions are organised into a coherent, internally consistent delusional system on which the patient is prepared to act." (Rycroft, Charles (1968) A critical dictionary of psychoanalysis London: Penguin)

1. "The purpose of paranoia is to ward off an idea that is incompatible with the ego, by projecting its substance into the external world" (Freud)

List three different ideas that might be 'incompatible with the ego'?
What everyday examples can you think of in which the process of projection occurs

2. How did you feel when you came down the path to the front door of the museum, past the 'No Entry' signs?

What effect did it have on your 'psychic equilibrium'?
Explain your answer using the idea of 'psychical trauma'

3. Freud says that we do not always perceive reality.

Look at the swimmers projected onto the ceiling of Freud's study.
What is unusual about them?
Look harder.
Now what is unusual about them?
No, really, look again.

Explain why it is sometimes difficult to see what is in front of your eyes.

4. Paul Ryan's art practice consists in keeping hundreds of detailed notebooks. In his exhibit 'Unspeakable Library' he has depicted his worse nightmare - that all his books will be burned.

Why do you think this fear has become so overwhelming for him?
How would Freud interpret it?
What is your greatest fear, and how would you turn it into art?

5. What is your favourite exhibit in the PARANOIA exhibition?

What do you like about it?
Which work do you think Freud would have liked the most?
Which would he have found most interesting?

6. Look at the circle of Catholic Rosaries in the Anna Freud room upstairs.

What connections are there between paranoia and religion? (Look at the definition of paranoia above)
What connections can you see between paranoia and psychoanalysis?
Why do we believe the things we believe? (What would Freud say?)

7. Look at the video by Doug Fishbone in the exhibition room upstairs

What is most important in the video - the words or the images?
What parts of it do you find funny?
What connections can you see between humour and paranoia?

8. 'Just because you are paranoid it doesn't mean to say that they are not out to get you'

'Just because they are out to get you, it doesn't mean to say that you are not also paranoid'

Which of these statements do you think Freud would most agree with?

9. What is the most beautiful thing in the exhibition?

Why do you find it beautiful?



This website uses cookies to ensure we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website. Find out more about our cookie policy.