Biography of Sigmund Freud

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Synopsis

Sigmund Freud was born in Freiberg, which is now known as the Czech Republic, on May 6, 1856. Freud developed psychoanalysis, a method through which an analyst unpacks unconscious conflicts based on the free associations, dreams and fantasies of the patient. His theories on child sexuality, libido and the ego, among other topics, were some of the most influential academic concepts of the 20th century.

"Religion is an illusion and it derives its strength from the fact that it falls in with our instinctual desires."

– Sigmund Freud
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Early Career

Sigmund Freud was born in the Austrian town of Freiberg on May 6, 1856. When he was four years old his family moved to Vienna, the town where he would live and work for most of the remainder of his life. He received his medical degree in 1881 and became engaged to marry the following year. His marriage produced six children—the youngest of whom, Anna, was to herself become a distinguished psychoanalyst. After graduation, Freud promptly set up a private practice and began treating various psychological disorders. Considering himself first and foremost a scientist, rather than a doctor, he endeavored to understand the journey of human knowledge and experience.

Early in his career, Freud became greatly influenced by the work of his friend and Viennese colleague, Josef Breuer, who had discovered that when he encouraged a hysterical patient to talk uninhibitedly about the earliest occurrences of the symptoms, the symptoms sometimes gradually abated. Inspired by Breuer, Freud posited that neuroses had their origins in deeply traumatic experiences that had occurred in the patient's past. He believed that the original occurrences had been forgotten and hidden from consciousness. His treatment was to empower his patients to recall the experience and bring it to consciousness, and in doing so, confront it both intellectually and emotionally. He believed one could then discharge it and rid oneself...
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