Sigismund Shlomo Freud
(May 6, 1856, Freiberg, Austro-Hungary (now Příbor, Czech Republic) – September 23, 1939, London, England) (aged 83)
Occupation: Psychologist, psychiatrist
Specification: Founder of Psychoanalysis. He made tremendous impact on psychology, psychotherapy, art and on the culture in general.
Parents: His father Jakob, a wool merchant, was 41 and mother Amalié (née Nathansohn), the third wife of Jakob, was 21. Sigmund was the first of eight children in family
Education: Freud went to the University of Vienna aged 17. He received his M.D. degree in 1881 at the age of 25.
Influences: Brentano, Breuer, Darwin, Hartmann, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Shakespeare, Goethe, Dostoyevsky.
In 1886 Freud resigned his hospital post, entered private practice specializing in “nervous disorders” and married Martha Bernays, the granddaughter of Isaac Bernays, a Chief Rabbi in Hamburg. The couple had six children
Freud battled mouth cancer the last several years of his life, but continued to smoke cigars.
With Nazi occupation of Austria in 1938 Freud with his wife and daughter fled to England. Four of Freud’s five sisters died in concentration camps.
1. Theory of Psychoanalysis and fundamental concepts of Depth Psychology which based on:
a) theory of the unconscious mind (also he didn’t invent this idea, but put into clinical practice and made it popular). He wrote: “The mind is like an iceberg, it floats with one-seventh of its bulk above water’; b) statement that libido or sexual instinct and desire (Eros or libido) is the primary motivational energy of human life and later in Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920)- death drive (Thanatos) was added; c) theory of sublimation, as the process of deflecting sexual instincts into acts of higher social valuation; d) interpretation of dreams as sources of insight into unconscious desires. Freud called dreams the “royal road to the unconscious”. Dream mechanisms: condensation, displacement, identification, composition, inversion, secondary elaboration; e) “repression” as the key factor in the operation of the unconscious and defence mechanism, which together with other mechanisms (denial, idealization, splitting, identification, rationalization) to manipulate, deny, or distort reality for protect the ego; f) theory of unconscious primary process and conscious secondary process; g) Economic, homeostatic model of psyche, tendency of mental apparatus “to keep as low as possible the total amount of the excitations”.
2. Topology of the psyche. In 1899 Freud developed his first topology of the psyche or previous topographic schema: conscious, unconscious, and preconscious . In his later work (1920, 1923), he proposed that the human psyche could be divided into three parts: ego which operates on the Reality Principle, super-ego (moral component of the psyche), and Id, which operates on the Pleasure Principle, satisfying urges for food and sex. “The ego is not master in its own house”.
3. Development of psychics. a) Personality is developed by the person’s childhood experiences; b) personality develops during childhood through a series of psychosexual stages: 1) oral (birth-1 year), 2) anal (1-3), 3) phallic (3-6), 4) latent (6-12). 5) genital (12 -); c) the stage at which a person becomes fixated in childhood has a decisive influence on adult personality; d) Oedipus complex – boys passed through the phallic stage in which they fixated on the mother as a sexual object and on the father as a rival (In girls – Electra complex).
4. Clinical practice of psychoanalysis. a) Freud created the clinical practice of psychoanalysis as dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst or “talking cure”; b) the goal of psychoanalysis, was to bring subconsciously repressed thoughts and feelings into consciousness in order to free the patient from the painful thoughts and feelings. “Where id was, there ego shall be”; c) major points of Freudian therapy: Relaxed atmosphere, resistance, transference, catharsis, insight; d) he developed the therapeutic techniques, including the use of Free association and Dream analysis. Freud wrote: “Analysis does not set out to make pathological reactions impossible, but to give the patient’s ego freedom to decide one way or another”.
5. Culture. Freud as materialist and naturalist conceived civilization basically in terms of the basic human instinct or drive.
“It is impossible to overlook the extent to which civilization is built upon a renunciation of instinct”.
6. Religion. Freud maintained that “Religion is an illusion and it derives its strength from the fact that it falls in with our instinctual desires’. He perceived religion, with its suppression of man’s violent nature, restraint of the death drive, aggression and violence,
7. Creativity. a) Creativity is identified with the work of the unconscious, with the manifestation of the energy of the id and the power of libido by means of most beneficial defence mechanism- sublimation; b) Freud, following Schiller, wrote that we can gain access to “involuntary ideas” by relaxing our rational control over the imagination; c) fantasies is considered as Fulfilments of ambitious and erotic wishes, as escape from inner conflict, as a “neutral zone”, free space of pure imagination; d) creative writer is borderline neurotics and creativity is a substitute for neurotic symptoms; e) there is strong analogy between artistic creation, child’s play, dreams, day-dreaming, fantasy and humour.
Freud remains one of the most influential figures in today’s psychology. Many modern psychotherapists follow Freud’s approach, even if they reject his theories.
Freud quotes: 1. Love and work… work and love, that’s all there is. 2. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. 3. Civilization began the first time an angry person cast a word instead of a rock.
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