Sigmund Freud


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     Sigmund Freud was in Austria when the Nazi’s attacked. He was a very sick and elderly Jewish man who was stricken with cancer as he became much older. (“Sigmund” DISCovering 4) Even though he was very ill, he still managed to make an impact on society and he was a true revolutionary. A revolutionary is one who impacts others enough to change the thoughts and perspectives of society. Sigmund Freud was a world renowned psychologist and writer who forever changed the world of psychoanalysis.
     Sigmund Freud had a very educational early life, but in his ending days, he became a very sickly man. Freud was born in Freiberg, Moravia in the Austrian Empire which is present day Pribor, Czech Republic, on May 6th, 1856. He moved with his family to Vienna, Austria; a well known city then and now as a cultural and intellectual Mecca. His Jewish background, with its emphasis on education, prompted the young scholar to enter the University of Vienna at age 17. By age 20 Freud had published his first scientific paper. (“Sigmund”, DISCovering 1) He lived there for seventy-nine years and he would later call his childhood a torrent of “long, hard years” and say the “nothing about them was worth remembering.” His early years of want surely contributed to his lifelong sense of ambition, his self-confessed “chase after money, position, and reputation.” In school, he was first in his class every year. As he wrote, any man “who has been the indisputable favorite of his mother”; and he was the favorite; “keeps for life the feeling of a conqueror.” After graduation, he pursued a medical degree in Vienna, but instead of treating patients, he remained in the laboratory doing physiology studies; he was convinced he would make an important contribution to science. The year was 1882, and he had met and quickly become engaged to one of his sister’s friends, Martha Bernays. He was 26 years old, realized he could not support a family on a researcher’s salary, so he and Martha delayed getting married for more than four years while he established himself. He accepted a post as clinical assistant in a Vienna hospital. It was the lowest position on the medical staff, but he rose steadily through the ranks, pursuing many disciplines; surgery, dermatology, psychiatry; to find one that would both earn him money and stimulate his creative intellect.

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     Freud was best known for his analysis of dreams because of the books he wrote such as “The Interpretation of Dreams” in 1913. (Cook 1224) His book was a standard reading for psychology students. In April of 1886, Freud having returned to Vienna from Paris, established his own private medical practice, where he practiced dream therapy. (Cook 1225) He was also well known for his early interest before using cocaine as a therapy device until the addictive properties of it were discovered. At times, Freud would analyze himself with dream therapy. He mainly studied the unconscious part of the mind and the theory of personality and its components. But Freud was dissatisfied with the results of hypnosis in the treatment of his neurotic patients and he was influenced by his friend and mentor Josef Breuer, and he turned to the “talking cure” as a means of evoking a catharsis in his patients. (Cook 1226) In 1895, Freud had figured out a theory based on free association, where his patients could speak in a relaxed, continuous train of thought. Sigmund Freud was the founder of psychoanalysis and he practiced it in Vienna for many years. (Cook 1227)
     Freud’s ideas, however, have had an impact that transcends the discipline of psychology. There is wide acceptance of his notions of the role of the unconscious in motivating human behavior, the importance of childhood experiences in forming the adult personality, and the function of defense mechanisms. (Cook 1226) When Freud developed psychoanalysis, it had a large impact on contemporary thought and popular culture by changing the way people thought about the root of human action. In 1910, the term Freudianism became known to the world because it was Freud’s was of psychoanalysis that everyone was practicing. (Cook 1225) He published 3 books about psychoanalysis that were all accepted by society and one became a standard reading for students in psychology schools. (Cook 1224) His work was fanatical because of how clearly he understood how the human mind works and what motivates human behavior. Freud treated many serious mental and emotional disorders. Freud’s work made breakthroughs in different medical professions, criminology and sociology. (“Sigmund” World 1)
     Sigmund Freud was a world renowned psychologist and writer who forever changed the world of psychology. “His teachings have in their time aroused controversy more acute and antagonism more bitter than any since the days of [evolution theorist Charles] Darwin…There are few psychologists or any school who do not admit their debit to him. Some of the conceptions he formulated clearly for the first time have crept into current philosophy against the stream of willful incredulity which [Freud] himself recognized as man’s natural reaction to the unbearable truth.” (“Sigmund” DISCovering 4)


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