Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud :

Sigmund Freud, an Austrian born during the Habsburg Monarchy, was one of the trailblazers of modern-day psychology. The American historian William Johnston sees Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, among those personalities that one made Austria a shining example of modernism in a world that had lost orientation.

In his function as a neuropathology Freud came to realize that he had no clear understanding of neurotic patterns despite his thorough studies of the human brain. From 1895 onwards he associated intensely with the Viennese internist Josef Breuer. Both discovered that hypnosis removed neurotic symptoms. The case of patient Anna O became famous. By applying this method, Freud came to understand the correlation between emotional disorders and the formation of mental (at that time mainly hysterical) symptoms. Through hypnosis as a method of mental catharsis the patient recalls and relives repressed traumatic situations and is eventually relieved and healed. Freud was now convinced that functional diseases had a mental cause. In the following he discovered how mental energies may cause physical symptoms.

After breaking with Breuer Fried found out that the abnormal emotional state of neurotics was almost invariably associated with conflicts involving the sexual impulse. Based on these findings he developed his theory on repression and defense as well as the sexual aspect of neurotic behaviour.

Freud was unjustly blamed with pansexualism. His theories created a storm in medical circles and were often and heavily rejected. However, what Freud had theoretically taught most of his life was rather dialectic of the sexual impulse than its omnipotence. After breaking with Breuer Freud carried on his research work alone. Instead of hypnosis he applied the method of "free association" with his patients and soon recognized the traumatic impact of early sexual experience during childhood, seductions on the part of adults, above all the parents.

In 1877, suffering from his own neurotic crisis, Freud discovered in a brave self-analysis that patients' fantasies and wishful thinking rather than real experiences play an unconscious role in the onset of neuroses. Freud's findings broke new ground in often misinterpreted areas like infantile sexuality and led to a completely new and expanded understanding of sexuality. His epochal achievement was to help prove the existence of the psyche as an independent system. In Traumdeutung - The interpretation of dreams published in 1900, Freud unveiled the dream as a disguised fulfillment of repressed wishes.

Within the European culture and civilization was a sensational disclosure of Freud's (sometimes also personal) fight for self-realization and truth. With his thoughts, Freud not only influenced psychology but also modern time's conception of the world. His principles advanced the technique of psychoanalysis, with himself as his first patient. He was successful in overcoming inhibitions as to the logic of his own through as well as to the general prudery of his time. Without blaming other people he succeeded in finding clear solutions for any human problems with the help of psychoanalysis. According to his motto where ID was ego will develop… he succeeded in creating harmony in the individual person – the precondition for a relatively free life. According to Freud, failing to achieve self-awareness was not so much caused by the natural impulses as by the bad conscience accumulated. Sigmund Freud was also a great critic of many parameters of Europe's cultural traditions. He himself never saw psychoanalysis as a dogmatic but rather as an empiric method. Freud was always open for new insights and theoretical explanations for mental processes.

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