The idea of psychoanalysis was developed in Vienna in the 1890s by Sigmund Freud[->1], a neurologist[->2] interested in finding an effective treatment for patients with neurotic[->3] or hysterical[->4] symptoms. Freud had become aware of the existence of mental processes that were not conscious as a result of his neurological consulting job at the Children's Hospital, where he noticed that many aphasic[->5] children had no organic cause for their symptoms. He wrote a monograph about this subject. In the late 1880s, Freud obtained a grant to study with Jean-Martin Charcot[->6], the famed neurologist and syphilologist, at the Salpêtrière[->7] in Paris. Charcot had become interested in patients who had symptoms that mimicked general paresis[->8]. Freud's first theory to explain hysterical symptoms was the so-called "seduction theory[->9]". Since his patients under treatment with this new method "remembered" incidents of having been sexually seduced in childhood, Freud believed that they had actually been abused only to later repress those memories. This led to his publication with Dr. Breuer in 1893 of case reports of the treatment of hysteria. This first theory became untenable as an explanation of all incidents of hysteria. As a result of his work with his patients, Freud learned that the majority complained of sexual problems, especially coitus interruptus[->10] as birth control. He suspected their problems stemmed from cultural restrictions on sexual expression and that their sexual wishes and fantasies had been repressed. Between this discovery of the unexpressed sexual desires and the relief of the symptoms by abreaction, Freud began to theorize that the unconscious mind had determining effects on hysterical symptoms. His first comprehensive attempt at an explanatory theory was the then unpublished Project for a Scientific Psychology in 1895. In this work Freud attempted to develop a neurophysiologic theory based on transfer of energy by the neurons in the brain in order to explain unconscious mechanisms. He abandoned the project when he came to realize that there was a complicated psychological process involved over and above neuronal activity. By 1900, Freud had discovered that dreams had symbolic significance, and generally were specific to the dreamer. Freud formulated his second psychological theory— which postulates that the unconscious has or is a "primary process" consisting of symbolic and condensed thoughts, and a "secondary process" of logical, conscious thoughts. This theory was published in his 1900 opus magnum[->11], The Interpretation of Dreams[->12]. Chapter VII was a re-working of the earlier "Project" and Freud outlined his "Topographic Theory." In this theory, which was mostly later supplanted by the Structural Theory, unacceptable sexual wishes were repressed into the "System Unconscious," unconscious due to society's condemnation of premarital sexual activity, and this repression created anxiety. Freud also discovered what most of us take for granted today: that dreams were symbolic and specific to the dreamer. Often, dreams give clues to unconscious conflicts, and for this reason, Freud referred to dreams as the "royal road to the Unconscious." [edit[->13]] 1900–1940s
This "topographic theory" is still popular in much of Europe, although it has been superseded in much of North America. In 1905, Freud published Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality[->14] in which he laid out his discovery of so-called psychosexual phases[->15]: oral (ages 0–2), anal (2-4), phallic-oedipal (today called 1st genital) (3-6), latency (6-puberty), and mature genital (puberty-onward). His early formulation included the idea that because of societal restrictions, sexual wishes were repressed into an unconscious state, and that the energy of these unconscious wishes could be turned into anxiety or physical symptoms. Therefore the early treatment techniques, including hypnotism...
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