Biographical Sketch of Sigmund Freud

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Biographical Sketch of Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud was born on May 6, 1856, in Freiberg, Moravia. His family settled in Vienna in 1860, where Freud attended school. In 1873 he went to the University of Vienna to study medicine. He later received his degree in medicine, specializing in anatomy and physiology in 1881. Freud was interested in the clinical uses of cocaine and went to Paris to study in October 1885. After he returned from Paris in 1886, he did all of his important work developing psychoanalysis as a more general social theory. His trip to Paris had a great impact on changing his concern from academic to clinical research. After returning to Vienna, he became a private clinical practitioner, specializing in nervous diseases. He married in 1886 at the age of thirty.

Psychiatry at this time was very descriptive. The psychological meaning of behavior was not important. At that time, behavior was only a set of symptoms to be studied in order to understand the structures of the brain. Freud’s later work revolutionized this attitude. Freud soon devoted his efforts to the treatment of hysterical patients with the help of hypnosis. Freud revealed that hysterical symptoms could consistently be traced to highly emotional experiences which had been excluded from conscious memory. At age 39, Freud called this approach “psychoanalysis” and he continued his studies.

At about this same time, Freud began to do his own self-analysis, which he did by analyzing his dreams. As he proceeded, his personality changed. He developed a greater inner security, while at the same time, his impulsiveness decreased. Freud explored the influence of unconscious mental processes on just about every aspect of human behavior including slips of the tongue and errors of memory. While doing this, Freud also faced a major scientific reversal. He first thought that his nerotic patents had actually been sexually seduced during their early childhood but he soon realized that his...
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