Sigmund Freud has been called the father of psychotherapy. His studies and views on how personality develops and is affected by different experiences or exposures to stimuli have been disputed and discussed for over 100 years. This paper will highlight Freud's life and theories as well as answer two questions. These two questions are; did Freud sexually abuse children and did Freud have a personal vendetta against women? Life and Times
Sigmund Freud was born in 1856 to a Jewish Family and grew up in Freiberg, Moravia which is now a part of the Czech Republic. Freud was the eldest of eight children from his mother and had older half-brothers from his father's previous marriage. The family was very poor, but realizing Freud's outstanding intellect, every effort was made to ensure that Sigmund obtain the best education possible. As a result, Freud was able to graduate from the University of Vienna at the age of 17 (Wikipedia, 2007).
Attempts to learn of Freud's early life have been ineffective and evidence to support that Freud destroyed all personal affects of his early life and family life has been found. In 1886, after studying medicine in France, Freud returned to Vienna and began the study of brain disorders and nervous conditions. This is where Freud developed his theory of "free association". He would sometimes hypnotize his patients, but most often he would put the patients on his couch and encourage them to speak of whatever was in their heart and mind (Wikipedia, 2007).
While in his 40s Freud, himself, experienced many phobias and fears that he attempted to diagnosis on his own. He had a strong fear of dying and found his dreams may give the answers to his thoughts and feelings. Attempting self-analysis, Freud found that his anger towards his father was because of his sexual attraction to his mother. This time has been thought, by many experts, to be Freud's most creative and visual part of his life (Wikipedia, 2007).
Freud published several books on the unconscious mind in 1900 and 1901 which led to his appointment as a full professor at the University of Vienna. He had a large group of followers who taught and supported his psychoanalytic doctrines. He stayed in Vienna, and taught and developed more theories on psychoanalysis until the annexation of Austria or Anchluss, by Nazi Germany in 1938 (Wikipedia, 2007). At this time, Freud and his family fled to France and on to England where Freud continued his practice and studies. Freud died on September 23, 1939 from complications of mouth cancer due to his practice of smoking upwards of one box of cigars a day. Theories that his death was due to physician-assisted morphine overdose have been furthered after reviews of his diary and writings were conducted (Wikipedia, 2007). Children and Freud
Freud's theories on psychosexual development have been challenged for many years. Freud maintained that all humans are sexual from birth and the exposure of the infant to differing types of treatment from the mother and father dependent on the sex of the child can affect the child's development for years (Wikipedia, 2007). Freud believed that many adult neurosis or hysteria was the result of things that had happened to the adult when younger.
Failure of the mother to provide the proper nurturing influence and the father to be the stronger role model, many children found ways to fantasize relationships with the parent of the opposite sex as a part of their sexual growth and development. One of Freud's famous cases was that of Little Hans. Little Hans was a patient of Freud's during the ages of three to five years of age. Freud only met with Hans one time and remaining information was given to Freud from Hans' father. Freud found a relationship between Hans' fear of horses to a fear of castration and an "Oedipal" relationship with Hans' mother (answers.com, 2007). Freud's paper, Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety, published in 1926...