• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Describe how Freud's patient load may have influenced his theories about all people's minds and behavior. How does this weaken his assertions about humankind?

Extracts from this document...


Describe how Freud's patient load may have influenced his theories about all people's minds and behavior. How does this weaken his assertions about humankind? Freud's patient load was mostly of the upper class, and much hasn't changed even today. Only movie and rock stars really have the capital to splurge out on practices like psychoanalysis and such so we see a very limited variety of people being treated. The same can be said of Freud's patients of his time. His patients mostly came from the upper class, and most of the patients were women. The Victorian society was a very patriarchal one, and women were seen as second class citizens. Everyone from all different walks of life were in consensus on one thing; and that was that women were inferior to men. This in itself would be enough to influence Freud's theory, as he probably, as most people of the time, truly believed that women were the inferior race. Also, the fact that his patients only hailed from a very small percentage of the population, and that among the small percentage he treated almost all of his patients were women would indicate that his theories on mankind as a whole would be flawed as they are based on that small group of people. It would be like generalizing the problems of a top actor to the common population as a whole. The problems that normal people deal with and how they deal with them is quite different from the way, say Madonna, deals with them. This would make Freud's theories flawed as his patient group didn't consist of enough of the different people of the population and of enough variety to be able to be generalized. On a side note, some of Freud's answers to some problems women were facing at the time were not backed up by better technology that is available to us now and were not conjured up in an equal plane (equality between men and women was generally thought of as insane). ...read more.


Out of all these criticisms the main point being emphasized is the fact the almost all of Freud's work cannot be repeated under the same atmosphere or environment. Also, there are discrepancies in his many case studies, indicating that he did not have a system of taking notes and evaluating patients, which takes credibility and accuracy away from his notes. Discuss the role of the unconscious in Freud's theories The unconscious consisted of a major chunk in Freud's works and theories. A lot of the fundamentals of his theories are based on the existence of an unconscious, a drive that is present in our body and controls our actions and desires that are beyond our conscious, which means beyond our knowledge. He believed that the unconscious manifested all our true desires and feelings and believed that the way pathway to the unconscious was the analysis of our dreams. He specifically called dreams the "royal road to the unconscious" as it was sort of the door between us and our unconscious. He derived a table of meanings to symbols that most people might see in their dreams. Examples of this would be that Freud believed that a smooth fronted house signified the male body while the female body was portrayed as a house with ledges and balconies. He also believed that climbing stairs or driving cars had a hidden meaning of sexual intercourse while bathing symbolized birth and dreaming of a king and queen would symbolize parents. Once again, glancing at the symbols, the presence of sex related themes is very strongly felt. He also believed that one of the instinctual drives (one of the pillars of his theories) the death instinct was based in the unconscious as he believed that the death instincts "are the unconscious drive towards decay". Also, one out of the three components of personality was based in the unconscious, according to Freud. ...read more.


Obviously this meant that Freud's theories now had no foundation to them, and this caused immense criticism of Freud, as now, what he had believed in so strongly, turned out to be all lies. Freud quickly retorted by saying that though his patients had lied about their "traumatic" sexual experiences, and that in fact they had never happened, he said that the vents was very much real to them and they truly believed that their sexual events really took place. Freud was then criticized for changing his mind and theory too easily. It has been found today, that Freud's initial theories had been correct in the fact that such abuse was found to be very common, and that Freud had probably lied and covered up the truth as at his time, who would have supported him and his theories, if h accused most fathers, uncles and such (his male support) of abusing their children? Freud had some critics during his time, one of the, being Alfred Adler, another well known psychologist, who accused Freud of being too obsessed with sex and the body's biological implications. Adler accused Freud of being too verbose and complicated in his theories, and also said that Freud's therapy sessions with his patients were not conducted the right way, in the sense it didn't create the right atmosphere. The way Freud conducted his sessions was very formal and didn't speak to the patients at all. He was out of view from the patient and sat behind the Freudian couch in which the patient lay. Adler's approach was much friendlier and informal. His sessions with his patients were more like friends gathering for a chat than anything. Adler's theories were much less verbose and simpler that Freud's, and dealt a lot less with biological implications of the body and more with personality and birth order. Freud hit back at Adler and called him to "simplistic". ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Psychology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Freud and Behaviourist's Theories

    4 star(s)

    A typical experiment for Thorndike would be to place a hungry cat into what he called a 'puzzle box'. The cat would be able to see food and in order to get the food would have to escape from the box by lifting a latch, clawing down a rope or engaging in a series of different manipulations.

  2. Peer reviewed

    Freud claimed to have discovered 'scientific method by which the unconscious can be studied.' ...

    5 star(s)

    It has to be noted that one cannot draw clinical conclusions from this kind of evidence alone. Clinical practitioners cannot be totally objective, it is highly likely that themes arising in the session that fit with the psychotherapists own view are more likely to be remembered.

  1. A Critical Examination of the Sexual Life of Man In Sigmund Freud.

    to be susceptible to or responsive to physical character of the opposite sex. (McDougall, 1929:322) 2.5 INSTINCT AND DRIVE THEORISTS Commenting on the tenets of this school of thought, Magda (1960) said; the older instinct theorist had conceived of instinct as a force that make animals (man)

  2. Different Theories and theorists in Human behaviour

    The largest part by far is the unconscious. It includes all the things that are not easily available to awareness, including many things that have their origins there, such as our drives or instincts, and things that are put there because we can't bear to look at them, such as the memories and emotions associated with trauma.

  1. A study of the psychology of belief with reference to the influence of Freud. ...

    Through this they develop feelings of envy and hatred for their fathers. Due to the society we live in the Oedipus complex has to be suppressed as it is not acceptable behaviour but the sexual urges, Freud claims, are still there.

  2. Learning Revision Notes. Important terms and major experiments

    This supports the Law of Effect. Kohler (insight learning) Put chimpanzees in cages and they had sticks to get the fruit outside. These principles were tested by B.F. Skinner (1938) Skinner devised a Skinner box with a mechanism like a lever or a key which will deliver a food pellet to the animal inside.

  1. Current and Past Drugs

    The product ingredients he used contained Africa kola nuts and coca leaves. However, cocaine is derived from the coca leaf plant. Up until 1914, across the United States, stores sold cocaine over the counter. This particular drug was used in chocolate tablets, patent medicines, tonics, and toothache cures.

  2. Child Sexual Abuse

    The problem should be identified, and the abuse stopped. That is where child sexual abuse prevention programs come into play. Most child sexual abuse prevention programs focus on teaching children how to lower their risk for becoming a victim of sexual abuse, and increasing their knowledge of potential sexual abuse approaches and encounters.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work