Sigmund Freud was born on 6 May 1856 in Freiberg (now Czech Republic), but the family moved to Leipzig and then settled in Vienna when Freud was four. Freud's family were Jewish but he was non-practising.
Freud studied medicine at the University of Vienna and graduated in 1881. He worked at the Vienna General Hospital until 1885. 1884 he published an article about the clinical use of cocaine for depression and anxiety, but soon had to realise it’s addictive nature. In 1885, Freud joined the French neurologist Professor Jean-Martin Charcot in Paris where he practiced and observed hypnosis as a clinical technique, and began to formulate the beginnings of his theory on the mind.
The following year Freud returned to Vienna and set up his private practice, specialising in nervous and brain disorders. The same year he married Martha Bernays, with whom he had six children.
Working with Josef Breuer, Freud formulated and developed the idea that many neuroses (phobias, hysterical paralysis and pains, some forms of paranoia, and so forth) had their origins in deeply traumatic experiences which were hidden in the unconsciousness. The treatment was to enable the patient to recall the experience and deal with it in an intellectual and emotional way. Freud and Breuer jointly published the studies in Hysteria in 1895.
Freud’s theory was that the human mind was made up of 3 levels of consciousness:
1. The conscious – that of what we’re aware of
2. The preconscious – made up of memories & stored knowledge
3. The unconscious – made up of, in part, that which is repressed because its too painful to remain in the conscious.
If we look at the iceberg example, Freud’s theory was that only 10% of the iceberg was visible (consciousness) and the other 90% are under the water with the majority of it being the unconsciousness.
In 1923, Freud published 'The Ego and the Id', which suggested a new tripartite model of the human personality, divided into the 'id, the 'ego' and the 'superego'.
According to his theory we are born with our Id. He believed the id is based on our pleasure principle or in other words, the id wants whatever feels good at the time, with no consideration for anybody else. The best example is a baby: if it is hungry, needs changing or just wants attention it cries until someone attends it’s needs with no thought spend on the person attending, the location or timing.
The ego emerges from the id. It still wants it’s needs met, but is willing to make compromises. Its the ego's job to meet the needs of the id, while taking into consideration the outside world.
The Superego is the moral part of us (conscience) and are the moral standards taught by our parents. It dictates our belief of right and wrong, strives for perfection and makes us feel guilty.
In 1938 just before World War II Freud fled to London. Suffering from jaw cancer for 13 years he died on September 23rd 1939, having committed suicide with the help of his doctor and his daughter Anna.
He is still known as the father of psychoanalysis.
We then looked at Freudian term, techniques and defence mechanisms.
Free association (letting the patient speak freely)
Began to talk about deeply buried feelings & memories
Stream of consciousness seamed to help patients
Called his talking therapy ‘Psychoanalysis’
Today’s lesson was mind boggling and it continued at home doing some more research and reading on Freud.
I never looked at Freud in detail before and only really knew that he was a controversial, but also respected figure in his field.
I have gain a new respect for him and his theory and surprised myself in how many areas I agreed with