On May 6th 1856
Sigismund Freud was born in Moravian Hamlet of Freiberg,
which today is Pribor in the Czech
His name would later be changed to Sigmund when he was
twenty-two years old (Schultz, 2004).
Freud was born into a wealthy Jewish family. He was the first born of six children and had
two older brothers from Freud’s fathers previous marriage.
His mother was quite found of Sigmund and she
gave him the nickname “golden siggie” (Simon and Schuster, 1999). Growing up, Freud was very bright and well
treated by his parents, he was the only child in his family to have his
room to himself in order for him to get the ample study time that he
needed. When Freud was about five
old his family moved to Vienna
after his father failed at a business adventure. Throughout
his young childhood and
adolescence, Freud continued to excel in academics and in 1873 he
Summa cum laude from secondary school.
Upon his graduation he went on to study
medicine at Vienna University.
he was introduced to a physiology professor by the name of Ernst von
Brucke. Through his help, young Freud
was able to get a grant to study with psychiatrist Charcot in Paris. Freud later went
on to work with Bernheim in Nancy (Boeree, 1997). Both
of these men were very interested in
investigating hypnosis with people who suffered from hysterics. During
years in college he experimented with cocaine and subsequently used it
of his life (Schultz, 2004).
Freud earned his doctoral degree in medicine at Vienna
University. During this time
Freud met his future wife, Martha Bernay and in 1886 they married. Following his marriage, Freud was able to set
up a neuropsychiatry practice from the help of Joseph Beuer; however,
gradually discarded the practice. Freud
would go on to have six children and one of them, Anna Freud, later
create a name for herself in the field of Psychology.
It’s ironic to note that many of Freud’s
ideas revolved around sex; however, he himself had grown not to like
sex and at
the age of forty- one vowed a life of celibacy (Schultz, 2004).
Freud was appointed a professor at Vienna
(Public Broadcasting Channel, 1997). Then
in 1906, Freud and seventeen other men
met to form the Psychoanalytic Society.
Among its members were Alfred Adler and Carl
Jung. The society eventually dissolved due
political infighting. In addition,
Alfred Adler and Carl Jung defected from Freud and his beliefs (Simon,
1999). For Jung, a Swiss from a protestant
background, Freud’s strong atheist belief and strong distaste for
mysticism was too much for him to take.
Stanley Hall, in 1909, invited Freud to
present his theories in a series
of lectures at Clark University
in Massachusetts. This was Freud’s
first international presentation of his theories.
throughout his entire life, took a liking to smoking cigars which led
being diagnosed with mouth and jaw cancer in 1923.
The last seventeen years of his life remained
productive; however, Freud underwent over thirty surgeries for the
his cancer (Public Broadcasting Channel, 1997).
In the 30’s when the Nazi’s started to gain
power, Freud’s life in
Vienna was threatened so his family moved to England were he would
rest of his life (Public Broadcasting Channel, 1997).
Finally on September 23, 1939, Sigmund
Freud died of mouth and jaw cancer.
throughout his life presented many books that are still respected today. In 1895, Freud along with his mentor Joseph
Breuer, published Studies on Hysteria
this book for Freud was the start into looking into psychoanalysis
2004). In 1900, Freud
published The Interpretation of Dreams which
initially sold poorly but had a major impact on his popularity (Simon,
1999). In it Freud included his concept of
analysis, theory of the mind and other information about himself and
history of Vienna were he
spent much of his life. In 1901, Freud
published another book called Psychopathology of Everyday
which he describes his idea of the “Freudian slip” and about
(Schultz, 2004). In 1905, Freud
published Three Essays on the Theory of
Sexuality which were based on lectures that he presented. Finally, one other important book was The Ego and the Id which was published
in 1923 in which he introduced his structural theory and concepts of
ego, and superego.
Contributions to Psychology
Freud was the first to use the term psychoanalysis in 1896. From
that point his theories blossomed. Freud did not invent the terms
conscious, or conscience; however, he was pivotal in making them
popular. Freud accomplished this through his theory of
psychological reality: id, ego, and
superego. Freud also drove a strong
movement that sex drive is the most important motivating force.
He went on to identify that at times in our
lives we find different areas on our bodies pleasurable (today these
erogenous zones). These ideas fused
together to form Freud’s Psychosexual Stage Theory, which is still
textbooks today (Boeree, 1997). This
theory consisted of five different stages.
The first being the oral stage, in which newborns to eighteen month old
infants find pleasure from the mouth, specifically, sucking. The
second stage, the anal stage, occurs
eighteen months to three years of age; Freud believed that young
this stage receive pleasure from holding in and letting go of their
movements. Next is the phallic stage
starting at age three and ending approximately around age seven.
In this stage children find pleasure from
their genitals through ways of touching, Freud even suggested through
masturbation. The latent stage occurs in
children ages seven to puberty, it’s suggested that children at this
suppress their pleasure in order to learn and grow. Finally, the
genital stage which begins at
puberty involves finding pleasure in sexual intercourse. Related
to this theory was Freud’s Oedipus
complex, this concept involves the idea that little boys love their
very deeply while they despise their fathers.
Freud proposed that if children do not leave these stage that later in
life it will develop into abnormal behavior.
contribution to Psychology was Freud’s
psychoanalytic techniques. Freud’s
psychoanalysis had several features that are still used in clinical
today. For example the use of a relaxing
atmosphere were patients lay on a couch and the lights are dimmed, this
for total relaxation to the point were the unconscious may begin to
itself. Freud was also a strong believer
in free association; he encouraged clients to say anything, whatever
their mind even if it was foolish or repetitive. In
psychoanalysis, resistance was also a key
theme. Freud suggested that changing the
subject or falling asleep were ways in which the unconscious mind would
that a certain idea was threatening. In addition to resistance, Freud
interested in dream analysis and believed that all dreams had meaning
into the unconscious. Freud also
believed that a therapist could gain insight from transference or the
projection of emotions onto the therapist as well as parapraxes which
“Freudian slips” which was a client’s slip of the tongue.
In the final stages of therapy, Freud felt
that catharsis, or when a client had a sudden and sometimes dramatic
of emotion, was when a client could finally gain insight into their
problems. Overall, Freud’s goal in
psychoanalysis was to make the unconscious conscious.
Today, Freud still remains one of the most
well known Psychologists; however, it’s still highly debated whether or
theories and psychoanalytic practices are credible.