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Freud and his contributions to Psychology

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Freud and his contributions to Psychology Sigmund Freud physiologist, medical doctor, psychologist and the father of psychoanalysis is generally recognised as one of the most influential and authoritative thinkers of the twentieth century. Sigmund Freud was born in Freiberg, Moravia in 1856. When he was four years old he and his family moved to Vienna where he lived until the last year of his life. He was the 1st child of his mother but not of the father. Therefore his mother spoiled him and the relationship to his father was a bit hostile. From 1873-1881 he attended medical school at the university of Vienna. He specialised in the treatment of nervous disorders. Afterwards he studied the "taking cure" under the Viennese physician Joseph Breur. He also studied hypnosis under the French psychiatrist Jean-Martin Charcot. In 1881 he received his medical degree shortly after which he got engaged to Martha Bernays. They married in 1886. His marriage was extremely happy and gave him six children, the youngest, Anna, became a distinguished pyschoanalysist, too. For over 40 years Freud explored the unconscious mind by free association (this is a technique used in psychology, devised by Sigmund Freud. In it, patients are asked to continually relate anything which comes into their minds, regardless of how superficially unimportant or potentially embarrassing the memory threatens to be. ...read more.


In this stage the baby is still all id, just wants things. The next stage is the anal stage where the physical focus is on the anus. The psychological theme is self control and obedience and therefore the adult character will either be anally retentive i.e. highly self controlled, overly organised, subservient to authority, or anally expulsive i.e. little self-control, disorganised, hostile. In this age the toilet training takes place and the child begins to develop a new psychological structure, the ego. It has to learn to control the rest of the mind in a rational manner. The next stage is the phallic stage in which the physical focus is on the penis, the psychological theme is sexual identification based on the Oedipus/Electra complex where you fall in love with the opposite sex parent and hate the same sex parent. This is solved by identifying with the same sex parent. It starts when children realise that girls and boys are different. They have to come to terms with sexual differences. The boys look at the girls and wonder what happened to them and if it will happen to them (fear of castration awakes). The girls just wonder what happened. The adult character will be either amoral and promiscuous or asexual and puritanical. In this stage the superego is formed. ...read more.


females are just castrated males and spend their lives grieving for not having a penis. However, Freud's theories are mainly criticized for not being real science. This objection was raised most famously by Karl Popper, who claimed that all proper scientific theories must be potentially falsifiable. If a theory cannot possibly be falsified, then it cannot be considered scientific. Popper argued that Freud's theories of psychology can never be properly "verified," because no type of behavior could ever falsify them (e.g. someone who denies having any sort of Oedipal conflict is interpreted as repressing it). On the other hand, numerous experimental and correlational studies have provided empirical support for certain Freudian concepts, such as the pattern of the anal personality. There are also some key strenghts to Freuds theories for example he developed the 1st comprehensive theory of peronality and behaviour and the 1st system of psychotherapy. He also emphasised the role of the unconscious, early childhood experiences and the dynamic nature of behaviour. In addition, he stimulated and influenced further personality research. Personally, I think Freud had many great ideas and explanations, especially considering the time he lived in. He had a big influence on psychology and on the modern conceptions of the mind and continues to influence psychtherapy (75% of psychotherapists rely on psychoanalytic ideas e.g. many non-freudians practice the taking cure, free association and transference). And finally Freud had the only complete theory of personality ever proposed. ...read more.

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