The sufferer from agoraphobia imposes a restriction upon his ego in order to escape an instinctual danger. The instinctual danger in question is the temptation to yield to his erotic desires; and to yield to them would be to reincarnate once again, as in childhood, the specter of the danger of castration or of an analogous danger. As an example I may refer to the case of a young man who became agoraphobic because he was afraid of yielding to the allurements of prostitutes and of acquiring syphilis as a punishment. The symptomatology of agoraphobia is complicated by the fact that the ego is not content with renouncing something; in addition to this, it takes steps to deprive the situation of its danger. This additional measure is usually a regression to childhood (in extreme cases, to the uterus, to a period when one was protected against the dangers which threaten today); the regression constitutes the condition under which the renunciation need not be made. Thus the agoraphobic may go on the street provided that, like a small child, he is accompanied by a person in whom he has full confidence. A similar caution may also permit him to go out alone, provided that he does not go more than a certain distance away from home, that he does not enter localities which he does not know well and where the people do not know him. In the choice of these specifications there becomes manifest the influence of the infantile motives which govern him.
- Template:PoA Ch. 7