Short Biography of Sigmund Freud
As the father of Psychoanalysis, a movement in Psychology, which dealt greater with subconscious motives to behavior, Sigmund Freud alone sculpted what modern psychology would become. His renowned ideas, which have focused on the Id, Ego, and Super-Ego of the mind are still studied in academic circles to this day and are employed in the offices of psychologists in some form or another worldwide.
Born into a Jewish family, Freud grew up in Austria in the mid-1800s and was noticeably gifted at a young age. After attending the University of Vienna until 1881 and after eight years of higher study, he began his own private practice, which focused upon nerve and brain disorders. Around the time of his marriage, Freud began using hypnosis as a form of therapy, but to no real avail. He decided to try something that seemed to work well – simply allow patients to lie comfortably and discuss their own problems. He found that eventually, even if it took several sessions together, the patient would be able to access some subconscious, or often repressed feelings about his or her life. This often resulted in the patient exploring his or her childhood and coming to a self-realization about how childhood had shaped their present state.
Even with this method of psychoanalysis, many psychologists of the day felt this form of “free association” as it was called, wouldn’t actually render the patient back to a stable mental state. However, Sigmund kept up with his pursuits and eventually discovered that a person’s mind was constructed in different layers. And, in order to get to the ‘root’ of an issue, a patient would have to unpeel the layers him or herself. The doctor’s role was to facilitate the process and help the patient keep digging inward without getting overly sidetracked.
With the uprising of the Nazi Party in Germany and Austria, Freud was able to cross into France. His books were publicly burned on the streets and further research into Freudian Psychoanalysis was banned throughout the regime. It was believed that psychoanalysis was the study of the Jews and should not be considered a worthwhile pursuit.
While in France and later as he took up residence in London, Freud focused more on his theories of the repressed mind. He came to believe that during childhood, children sought sexual gratification and matured sexually through their own explorations. But, he theorized that these explorations were limited due to societal limitations that would not tolerate such behavior. He called these developmental stages the Oral Stage, Anal Stage, and Phallic Stage. He also claimed that young girls underwent ‘penis envy,’ which caused them to chase pursuits in their career — that is, outside the home.
Even though Freud’s theories were challenging in his day, much of his work and suggestions on how patients can be helped to overcome neurosis are still practiced today. All psychology texts include Freud’s theories as exemplary models that founded psychoanalysis. And, any practicing psychologist today, no matter how much they claim the contrary, use Freudian’s theories or practices in some way to help their patients overcome personal, subconscious difficulties.
People interested in this biography of Sigmund Freud may also be interested in:
- Carl Jung
- Wilhelm Reich
- Marie Bonaparte
- Gustave Le Bon's
- Karl Marx
- Adolf Hitler