Sigmund Freud is a name that to most of us sounds familiar. To many, he is known as the father of Psychology. He was one of the most influential figures in the twentieth century (B: 430). His theories revolutionized the world, and he founded his own school of Psychology. Although some regarded his work with hostility and disbelieve, many people still follows his believes and teachings until this day (A). But what about the man himself, his life, his family, his work and his studies? Next will find a brief story about him.
Sigismund Scholomo Freud was born on May 6, 1856 in Freiberg, Moravia (this day its called Pribor in the Czech Republic) (A). Son of Jacob Freud and his third wife Amalia (which was 20 years younger), he was the first of a family of seven children (A). When he was three years old, fleeing from the anti-Semitic riots then raging in Freiberg, his family moved to Leipzig, Germany. A year later they moved again to Vienna, where he lived there until the year prior to his death (1938)(C). Freud was extremely bright and ambitious.
He changed his name to the abbreviation we all know him by in 1877 (B: 430). Although Freuds ambition from childhood had been a career in law, he decided to become a medical student shortly before he entered Vienna University in 1873 (C). As a student, he began research work on the central nervous system, guided by Ernst von Brucke (A). He graduated as a physician in 1881, and proved to be an outstanding physiological researcher (B: 430). Early in his career, he was among the first to study a new drug that had anesthetic and mood altering effects, know as cocaine.
Although he discovered cocaines anesthetic properties, one of his colleagues received credit for his work, thing that upset him a lot. And to increase his disappointment, his enthusiasm quickly faded when he realized that this new drug was addictive (D: 522-523). Although he left Freiberg as a young child, escaping from the anti-Semitic movement, he still had to deal with a lot of that bad acceptance in his new home. In Vienna, prospects for an academic career in scientific research were very poor for a Jew.
So he gave up physiological research for a private practice in neurology, specializing in nervous disorders (A, B: 430). While this was happening, Freud got married to Martha Bernays in 1886. The couple had six children, and the youngest one, Anna, was later to become an important psychoanalytic theorist in her own right. Freuds theory will develop in the first twenty years of his work as a private neurologist, and it was based on what he observed from his patients and himself. His studies were influenced a lot by a very respected physician called Joseph Breuer.
They will later publish a book of their findings called Studies on Hysteria, in 1895. This marked the beginning of psychoanalysis (A, B: 431). In that same year Freud was able to analyze one of his dreams for the first time. This was later known as The Dream of Irmas Injection. Also, he wrote one hundred pages of draft manuscript that were later published after his death, under the name of Project for a Scientific Psychology (1950)(A). For the next five years, Freud will develop many of the concepts that were later included in the theory and the practice of psychoanalysis.
He came up with that term (that means free association) in 1896 after breaking with Breuer. During this year his father died, and left him devastated. He started self-analyzing in 1897, with the aid of a close friend, Wilhelm Fliess (A, C). In 1900, he published what many considered his best and most important work, The Interpretation of Dreams. In here he interpreted dreams and explained what was their meaning. This work attracted the attention of many people, and at the same time he was gaining international recognition (D: 542).
In the years to come, he published a lot of other books and articles, like On Aphasia (1901), The Psychopathology of Everyday Life (1904), Three Contributions to the Sexual Theory (1905), Totem and Taboo (1913), Ego and the Id (1923) New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis (1933), and Moses and Monotheism (1939). He also gave lectures in many places (B: 431, C). At the same time, the medical world still regarded his work with hostility, and some of his publications only increased this antagonism.
But By 1906, a small number of pupils and followers had gathered around Freud, including the Austrian psychiatrists William Stekel and Alfred Adler, the Austrian psychologist Otto Rank, the American psychiatrist Abraham Brill, and the Swiss psychiatrists Eugen Bleuler and Carl Jung. Other notable associates, who joined the circle in 1908, were the Hungarian psychiatrist Sndor Ferenczi and the British psychiatrist Ernest Jones (C). By 1909, Freuds influence was felt in the United States. He and his pupils were invited to lecture at Clark University in Massachusetts.
During the next thirty years of his life he continued to refine his theory (B: 432). The last two decades of his life were filled with grief and tragedies. Among the problems he faced were The first World War, the death of one of his daughters (1920), the development of jaw cancer (with made his undergo over 30 operations), and the gaining of power by the Nazis. In 1938 the Nazis marched into Austria, gaining control of his homeland. After his daughter Anna was detained for questioning by the Gestapo, Freud decided to move his family to England (B: 433). A year later, his cancer returned. This time it took its toll.
Sigmund Freud died in England at the age of 83 (A). He created an entirely new approach to the understanding of human personality by his demonstration of the existence and force of the unconscious. Also, he founded a new medical discipline and formulated basic therapeutic procedures that in modified form are applied widely in the present-day treatment of neuroses and psychoses. Although never accorded full recognition during his lifetime, Freud is generally acknowledged as one of the great creative minds of modern times. Today, his legacy continues to influence psychology, philosophy, literature and art (B: 432, C).