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About Sigmund Freud. Sigmund Freud. Sigismund Freud later changed to Sigmund was a neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis, who created an entirely new approach to the understanding of the human personality. He is regarded as one of the most influential—and controversial—minds of the 20th century. He further argued that, as humans developed, they fixated on different and specific objects through their stages of development first in the oral stage exemplified by an infant's pleasure in nursing , then in the anal stage exemplified by a toddler's pleasure in controlling his or her bowels , then in the phallic stage.

Freud argued that children then passed through a stage where they fixated on the mother as a sexual object, known as the Oedipus Complex but that the child eventually overcame and repressed this desire because of its taboo nature. The lesser known Electra complex refers to such a fixation upon the father. Freud hoped to prove that his model was universally valid and thus turned to ancient mythology and contemporary ethnography for comparative material.

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Freud sought to anchor this pattern of development in the dynamics of the mind. Each stage is a progression into adult sexual maturity, characterized by a strong ego and the ability to delay gratification. He used the Oedipus conflict to point out how much he believed that people desire incest and must repress that desire. The Oedipus conflict was described as a state of psychosexual development and awareness.

He also turned to anthropological studies of totemism and argued that totemism reflected a ritualized enactment of a tribal Oedipal conflict. No discussion of Sigmund Freud is complete without some mention of his highly influential and controversial views on the role and psychology of women. Freud was an early champion of both sexual freedom and education for women Freud, "Civilized Sexual Morality and Modern Nervousness". Some feminists, however, have argued that at worst his views of women's sexual development set the progress of women in Western culture back decades, and that at best they lent themselves to the ideology of female inferiority.

Believing as he did that women were a kind of mutilated male, who must learn to accept her deformity the lack of a penis and submit to some imagined biological imperative, he contributed to the vocabulary of misogyny. Terms such as "penis envy" and "castrating" both used to describe women who attempted to excel in any field outside the home contributed to discouraging women from obtaining education or entering any field dominated by men, until the s. On the other hand, feminist theorists such as Juliet Mitchell, Nancy Chodorow, Jessica Benjamin, Jane Gallop, and Jane Flax have argued that psychoanalytic theory is essentially related to the feminist project and must, like other theoretical traditions, be adapted by women to free it from vestiges of sexism.

Freud's views are still being questioned by people concerned about women's equality. Another feminist who finds potential use of Freud's theories in the feminist movement is Shulamith Firestone. In "Freudianism: The Misguided Feminism", she discusses how Freudianism is essentially completely accurate, with the exception of one crucial detail: everywhere that Freud writes "penis", the word should be replaced with "power". It is interesting to note that originally Freud believed childhood sexual abuse to be the cause of hysteria—but he then recanted this so called "seduction theory" "The Index of Sexual Abuse" , claiming that he had found many cases in which apparent memories of childhood sexual abuse were based more on imagination than on real events.

Instead he began to emphasize the Oedipus Theory, which asserts that everyone unconsciously wishes to have sex with their parents. There is an ongoing controversy among Freud scholars regarding Freud's actual beliefs on this issue. Freud based the term Id on the work of Georg Groddeck. A healthy ego provides the ability to adapt to reality and interact with the outside world in a way that accommodates both Id and Superego.

The general claim that the mind is not a monolithic or homogeneous thing continues to have an enormous influence on people outside of psychology. Freud was especially concerned with the dynamic relationship between these three parts of the mind, in particular, how they enter into conflict with each other. According to Freud, the defense mechanisms are the method by which the ego can solve the conflicts between the superego and the id. The use of the mechanisms required Eros named after the Greek god of love; Cupid in Roman mythology , and they are helpful if moderately used.

The Life, Work, and Theories of Sigmund Freud

The use of defense mechanisms may attenuate the conflict between the id and superego, but their overuse or reuse rather than confrontation can lead to either anxiety or guilt which may result in psychological disorders such as depression. His daughter Anna Freud had done the most significant work on this field, yet she credited Sigmund with defense mechanisms, as he began the work. For example, a student may have received a bad grade on a report card but tells himself that grades don't matter.

Some early writers argued for a striking parallel between Freudian denial and Nietzsche's ideas of ressentiment and the revaluation of values that he attributed to "herd" or "slave" morality. For example, someone may engage in violence against another race because, he claims, they are inferior, when unconsciously it is he himself who feels inferior.

An example of this would be to say that Alice doesn't like Bob, but rather than to admit she doesn't like Bob, she will project her sentiment onto Bob, saying that Bob doesn't like her. Intellectualisation is often accomplished through rationalisation rather than accepting reality, one may explain it away to remove one's self.

For example, Jim may have bought a tape player to listen to self-help tapes, but he tells his friends he bought it so that he can listen to classic rock mixes for fear of his actual reason being rejected. For example, the second born child may clown around to get attention since the older child is already an accomplished scholar. For instance, the use of a dark, gloomy poem to describe life by such poets as Emily Dickinson. The life and death instincts Freud believed that humans were driven by two conflicting central desires: libidinal energy Eros and the death drive Thanatos.

The Death Drive or death instinct represented an urge inherent in all living things to return to a state of calm, or, ultimately, of non-existence. The presence of the Death Drive was only recognized in his later years, and the contrast between the two represents a revolution in his manner of thinking.


  1. Books that are included in Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud.
  2. Memories Of My Sister;
  3. St. Ambrose - Exposition of the Christian Faith;
  4. Aspects of Educational Change (Routledge Library Editions: Education)?
  5. ‘The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud’.
  6. How Cocaine Influenced the Work of Sigmund Freud - VICE.
  7. The Major Works of Sigmund Freud (Great Books of the Western World);

Psychology of religion Freud gave explanations of the genesis of religion in various of his writings. In Totem and Taboo , he proposed that humans originally banded together in primal hordes, consisting of a male, a number of females and the offspring of this polygamous arrangement. The father is protective, so the males love him, but they are also jealous of their father because of his relationship with their mothers. Finding that individually they could not defeat the father-leader, they banded together to kill him. The super-ego then takes the place of the father as the source of internalised authority.

A ban was then put upon incest and upon marriage within the clan, and a symbolic animal sacrifice was substituted for the ritual killing of a human being. In Moses and Monotheism Freud reconstructed biblical history in accord with his general theory, but biblical scholars and historians would not accept his account since it was in opposition to the point of view of the accepted criteria of historical evidence. His ideas were also developed in The Future Of an Illusion.

When Freud spoke of religion as an illusion, he maintained that it is a fantasy structure from which a man must be set free if he is to grow to maturity; and in his treatment of the unconscious he moved toward atheism. Psychotherapy Freud trained as a medical doctor, and as such, he believed his research methods and conclusions were scientific.

However, his research and practice were condemned by many of his peers, as well as later psychologists and academics. Some, like Juliet Mitchell or, have suggested that this is because his basic claim, that many of our conscious thoughts and actions are motivated by unconscious fears and desires, implicitly challenges universal and objective claims about the world some proponents of science conclude that this invalidates Freudian theory as a means of interpreting and explaining human behavior.

Psychoanalysis today maintains the same ambivalent relationship with medicine and academia that Freud experienced during his life. Current psychotherapists, who seek to treat mental illness, relate to Freudian psychoanalysis in different ways. Some psychotherapists have modified this approach and have developed a variety of "psychodynamic" models and therapies. Other therapists reject Freud's model of the mind, but have adapted elements of his therapeutic method, especially his reliance on patients' talking as a form of therapy.

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Experimental psychologists generally reject Freud's methods and theories. Psychiatrists train as medical doctors, but like most medical doctors in Freud's time, most reject his theory of the mind, and generally rely more on psychoactive drugs than talk in their treatments. Freud's psychological theories are hotly disputed today and many leading academic and research psychiatrists regard him as a charlatan, but there are also many leading academic and research psychiatrists who agree with the core of his work. Psychiatric disorders are often considered purely diseases of the brain, the etiology of which is principally genetic.

This view emphasizes constitutional factors in mental illness. Freud believed that the vast majority of disorders result from a combination of constitutional and environmental factors, the relative importance of each varying from one person to another. Philosophy Freud introduced three concepts that represent a break with prior Western philosophy, whatever the value of psychoanalysis as a form of psychotherapy. For Freud, thought emerges from processes that are not accessible to the subject herself through direct introspection. In a more historicized sense, Karl Marx's analysis of ideology precedes Freud's, but Freud makes non-transparency of subjectivity more fundamental.

A general selection from the works of Sigmund Freud

Psychosexual history in Freud's view and membership in a social class in Marx's view lie at the core of the goals people have and the ideas they use to justify them. Conversely, he discovered "irrationality" i. Psychoanalysis enables people to mitigate distress through the indirect revelation of unconscious content. The process of psychoanalysis reveals retrospectively how individuals unconsciously contribute to problems they encounter, according to specific logics of condensation and transference.

Critical reactions Freud's model of psychosexual development has been criticized from different perspectives.

Some have attacked Freud's claim that infants are sexual beings and, implicitly, Freud's expanded notion of sexuality. Others have accepted Freud's expanded notion of sexuality, but have argued that this pattern of development is not universal, nor necessary for the development of a healthy adult. Instead, they have emphasized the social and environmental sources of patterns of development.

Moreover, they call attention to social dynamics Freud de-emphasized or ignored such as class relations. This branch of Freudian critique owes a great deal to the work of Herbert Marcuse. Some criticize Freud's rejection of positivism. The philosopher of science Karl Popper formulated a method to distinguish science from non-science. For Popper, all proper scientific theories are potentially falsifiable. If a theory is incapable of being falsified, then it cannot be considered scientific. Popper pointed out that Freud's theories of psychology can always be "verified", since no type of behaviour could ever falsify them.

Although Popper's demarcation between science and non-science is widely accepted among scientists, it remains a controversial one itself within philosophy of science and philosophy in general. In academic psychology, a distinction is generally made between theories which are considered too abstract to be falsifiable and specific hypotheses which derive from a theory and may be tested by research.

The Life, Work, and Theories of Sigmund Freud

Behaviourism, evolutionary psychology, and cognitive psychology reject psychoanalysis as a pseudoscience. Humanistic psychology maintains that psychoanalysis is a demeaning and incorrect view of human beings. The other schools of psychology have produced alternative methods of psychotherapy, including behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, and person centred psychotherapy.