Sigmund Freud was a major influence in the study of modern psychology and behavior in the twentieth century. Originally wanting to become a scientist, he was inspired by hypnotherapy to solve the unconscious causes of mental illnesses by studying psychoanalysis, the structure of the mind, psychosexual states, and dream interpretations. Freud’s work allowed psychologists to go into more depth of the reasoning behind mental illnesses and physiological symptoms.
One of the most prominent figures in the twentieth century was the psychologist and neurologist, Sigmund Freud. Freud, originally aiming to be a scientist, revisited concepts from theories of major scientists and neurologists in the past to create more dynamic theories of the human mind. Marking the beginning of a modern psychology, he determined human behavior by providing well-organized information of inner conflicts and mental forces. Not only was he the founder of psychoanalysis, but he also developed many theories involving dream interpretations, unconsciousness, the structure of the mind, psychosexual stages, and the Oedipal complex.
Freud was born May 6, 1856, in Freiberg, Moravia of the Austrian empire, where today it is known as the Czech Republic (Sigmund Freud, 2012, para. 1). His father was Jacob Freud, a Jewish merchant and former widow, and his mother was Amalia Nathanson, Jacob’s second wife. Sigmund was born the first of eight children with him being the favorite (Chiriac, n.d., para 4). His parents distinguished Sigmund with intellectual brilliance at a very young age, in which case they pursued to take any educational advantage they could find. At the age of four, the family moved to Vienna where Freud could receive a better education.
Being very ambitious in school, he entered the University of Vienna Medical School at seventeen years old interested in science above all (Thornton, 2010, para. 3). He did not like the clinical practice of medicine; however he was attracted to the laboratory, the scientific side of medicine, and the effects medicine had to emotional and mental health. Instead of the normal five years, he received his Doctorate degree in medicine after seven years at the age of twenty-four (Sigmund Freud Biography, 2013, para. 5-6). Although he wanted to immediately get married after graduation, Freud knew he would not be able to support a family with salaries very low for young scientists. To further his required experience, he spent three years as a physician at a general hospital and another five months in the psychiatry department, when the psychological meaning of behavior was not considered important. Freud then received money to pursue his neurological studies abroad in Paris, France, for four years under the neurologist Jean Martin Charcot. Working with Charcot, Freud became interested in hysteria and hypnotherapy which led him to return to Vienna, begin his own private practice, and start a family (Sigmund Freud Biography, 2013, para. 7-9).
Charcot’s work and studies intrigued Freud to continue hypnotherapy at his private practice along with his fellow practitioner, Joset Breuer. Hypnotherapy indicated a pathway of exploration into a “hidden realm of the unconscious to find clues for the source of dysfunction” (Sigmund Freud, 2012, para. 8). If asked the right questions, the patients’ minds would have thought of a troubling experience, usually being the cause of their hysteria. After a while, Freud realized it was not hypnotherapy that was working, it was the “talking cure”. By using this technique he created the basis of psychoanalysis—to make conscious the unconscious thoughts of the patient. He invented the “therapy couch” for the patient to recline and be deeply relaxed while Freud sat close by and kept notes when the patient was talking. Using free association, he encouraged the patient to speak aloud any images or thoughts that came to awareness. To Freud, everything that the patient...
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