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Describe and discuss how Sigmund Freud has contributed to Psychology

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Introduction

Describe and discuss how Sigmund Freud has contributed to Psychology Sigmund Freud was and still is one of the most influential psychologists and is commonly referred to as 'the father of psychoanalysis' after developing a theory of the human mind and human behaviour as well as clinical techniques in attempting to help neurotics. Born in Frieberg, Montavia in 1856. From the years of 1873-1881 he studied biology, later specialising in neurology at the University of Vienna. Freud developed a theory of mental life called psychoanalysis, which emphasises the importance of the unconscious, sexual instinct and psychosexual development in childhood. When Freud died of cancer in 1939 he left behind six children. His youngest daughter, Anna Freud, went on to study child and development psychology. I will now describe how Freud's development of the unconsious influenced and contributed to psychology. ...read more.

Middle

Freud and a close friend and fellow psychologist Joseph Breuer tried out a form of therapy on a patient known as 'Anna O' or Bertha Pappenheim. Anna O suffered from epilepsy and one of her arms was paralysed as a result of complex seizures, it was later discovered this was the arm she had cradled her dying father with. It was thought that she was unconciously stopping the use of her arm as punishment as she blamed herself for her fathers death. This new form of therapy was called catharsis and that by talking about what had happened when the symptoms started, she would recover a repressed fact and then recover a bit. Although Breuer was the person who found this out, it would later be heavily developed by Freud. What Bertha Pappenheim thought about "Anna O." cannot be known as she is alleged to have destroyed any documents related to her childhood or youthful illness. ...read more.

Conclusion

Below is a diagram of the tripartite theory. So far we have looked at Freud's assumptions that a large part of our life happens at an unconscious level and how case studies such as Anna O have helped to prove these assumptions correct and to add to them. We have also studied the tripartite theory that explains that sexual instinct is the driving force in a person's mental life, which also affects behaviour. However Freud had many more assumptions, for example he thought that dreams are very important and should be interpreted as it may include some thoughts or emotions brought forward by a person's unconscious. Freud also thought that early childhood is very important for the development of the adult personality, this assumption was accepted. A few criticisms of Freud's work is that it is very unscientific, this is because it is difficult to study the unconscious as it can never be seen or experienced. However his influence on psychology has been profound and widespread. ...read more.

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