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The terms Talking cure and "chimney sweep" were originally offered by Dr. Josef Breuer's patient Bertha Pappenheim (written about in Studies on Hysteria in 1893 as Anna O.) to describe the talking therapy that relieved her of her hysterical symptoms. These were symptoms which had no organic origin — currently referred to as somatoform disorders — and which were found to improve once repressed trauma and their related emotions were expressed, a process later referred to as catharsis.

The term "talking cure", as well as the Anna O. case study, were later adopted by Dr. Sigmund Freud to describe the fundamental work of psychoanalysis.

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