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Sigmund Freud2 Essay Examples

His theories and treatments were to change forever our conception of the human condition.
Sigmund Freud was born in Freiberg, Moravia, a part of the Austrian empire at that time, on May 6, 1856.  Today it is a part of Czechoslovakia.  He was raised in the traditions and beliefs of the Jewish religion.
Freud considered a career in law but found legal affairs dull, and so, though he later admitted to “no particular predilection for the career of a physician” he chose a medical career.  In 1873 he entered the University of Vienna but did not graduate until 1881.
In the spring of 1884 Freud began to experiment with cocaine.  He found that the drug relieved his feelings of depression, turned his bad moods into cheerfulness, and helped him work. During the years 1886-87 Sigmund Freud studies hypnosis as a therapeutic treatment.
He published many aricles and books in his lifetime.

Such as “The Psychopathology of Everyday Life” in 1900, which explored everyday errors in speech,  “A Seventeenth-Century Demonological Neurosis” during 1922 and “The Ego and the Id” in 1923.  In cooperation with Josef Breuer in 1895, and at the age of 39, Sigmund Freud publishes “Studien ber Hysterie” and for the first time he succeeds in analysing one of his own dreams. The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, which explored everyday errors in speech, which he believed, were of in 1896, Sigmund Freud applies the term “psychoanalysis” for the first time and he started with his self-analysis.
In 1901 Sigmund Freud starts analysing 18-year old Dora and in 1902 is appointed professor at the University of Vienna and the foundation of the “Psychological Wednesday Society”.  Freud never saw her again after that but in 1905, he published “Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria,” better known as the case of Dora. Dora was not actually a hysterical patient.
During 1926 on the occasion of his 70th birthday Sigmund Freud was loaded with honours for his work.
Sndor Ferenczi refuses the office of President of the International Psycho-Analytical Association in 1932 due to conflicting ideas with Freud on aspects of psychoanalysis.  Sigmund Freud exchanges letters with Albert Einstein on the question “Why War?”.

In 1935 Sigmund Freud is appointed Honorary Member of the British Royal Society of Medicine, and later dies on September 23,1939.
Sigmund Freud’s revolutionary ideas have set the standard for modern psychoanalysis in which students of psychology can learn from his ideas spread from the field of medicine to daily living.  His studies in areas such as unconsciousness, dreams, sexuality, the Oedipus complex, and sexual maladjustments laid the foundation for future studies.  In result, better understanding of the small things, which shape our lives.
He was the first to talk about psychoanalysis, a technique that allows an individual to recount dreams by what psychologists call free association.  Free association is the individual saying whatever comes to mind when something is said.  The definition of psychoanalysis can best be defined as “emphasising the roles of unconscious mental forces and conflicts in determining behaviour.”  The main branch of psychology is “normal thinking” of the mind.  Freud thought that many of our problems lived inside of our unconsciousness and that we where not aware of this.

In Freud’s psychoanalysis, he believed that all humans were born with instincts, which drives a person to act the way in which they do.  There are two classifications for this, they are the libido, this is based on sexual pleasures, and the second type is called aggression this motivates the behaviour. This type of thinking happens from the time a person is born, according to Freud. When growing up, the child will go though three different libidinal stages. The first is called the oral stage, in this stage the infant takes his or her thumb and stimulates the mouth with it, we may know this act as the baby sucking his or her thumb. The second stage of libidinal is the anal stage. In this stage, pleasures like the ones in the oral stage are similar.

These pleasures are repeated through pleasures to the anus. The bowel movements mark this pleasure. The final stage in the libidinal stages of a child is the phallic stage.  This is done when the child manipulates their genitalia in order for gratification.  Freud thought that a child in the phallic stage had a strong attraction to the parent of the opposite sex. He called this Oedipus complex.  Most people throughout the world turned against this idea of Freud’s. Which was the attraction to the parent of the opposite sex. According to Freud, the child is taught to turn against those feelings and desires which then fall into their unconscious minds. This leads to three defence mechanisms of the mind in Freud’s psychosexual theory of personality development.  The first one is the ID, this is “the unconscious system of the personality, which contains the life and death instincts and operates only on the pleasure principle.”  The ID is completely unconscious and is the source of basic impulses and drives; it is the biological reservoir that underlies all actions.  It operates in accordance with the pleasure principle and seeks immediate gratification and satisfaction.

The second is known as the Ego, “in Freudian theory, the rational, largely conscious system of personality, which operates according to the reality principle.  It derives its energy from the ID, but it is the instrument of reason and sanity.  Much of the ego is conscious, and uses memory, perception of the environment, and habits to perform the role of a rational executive.  The last and final stage in the Freudian theory is the Superego.  By definition the Superego can best be defined as “the moral system of the personality, which consists of the conscience and the ego ideal.”   It incorporates absolute standards of morality and ethics.   Certain avenues of satisfaction are not allowed, and so, loosely speaking, the superego plays the role of the conscience.  According to Freud, they all function together in a healthy personality largely as a result of a strong ego.  When the Id, Ego, and Superego clash, a problem can occur.  What can happen is a person can have nightmares or a slip of the tongue can happen. When a traumatic event takes place, the Id, Ego and Superego become significantly out of balance. If this should occur, then a psychological disorder is present. The psychological disorder includes: depression, anxiety, hysteria, and phobias. This is known as psychoneurotic theory. Hysteria was called the first application of psychoanalytical treatment back then. Hysteria today is referred to as a conversion disorder. This sickness can intrude on a completely healthy person. The symptoms include numbness or paralysis of limbs, blindness or laryngitis.  In Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis, he believes that this can be caused by fantasies produced by the unconscious mind. One must bear in mind that the id, ego and superego are only metaphors despite the fact that Freud wrote of them as though they were real entities resident somewhere within the person.

Unlike his companion Charcot, Freud believed that based on his clinical studies, some mental disorders like hysteria were based on sexual manner. For example, Freud linked “the etiologic of neurotic symptoms to the same struggle between a sexual feeling or urge and the psychic defences against it”.  He felt that being able to talk about such problems were crucial in helping the patient and using free association was the best way to confront and treat these feelings. In his clinical observations Freud found evidence for the mental mechanisms of repression and resistance. He described repression as a device operating unconsciously to make the memory of painful or threatening events inaccessible to the conscious mind.  Resistance is defined as the unconscious defence against awareness of repressed experiences in order to avoid the resulting anxiety.  He traced the operation of unconscious processes, using the free associations of the patient to guide him in the interpretation of dreams and slips of speech.  He also developed the theory of transference, the process by which emotional attitudes, established originally toward parental figures in childhood, are transferred in later life to other.

The end of this period was marked by Freud’s most important work, The Interpretation of Dreams in 1900. Here Freud analysed many of his own dreams recorded in the 3-year period of his self-analysis, begun in 1897 (“Freud: Interpretation Of Dreams”). This work expounds all the fundamental concepts underlying psychoanalytic technique and doctrine.
In 1902 Freud was appointed a full professor at the University of Vienna. This honour was granted not in recognition of his contributions but as a result of the efforts of a highly influential patient (“Freud”). The medical world still regarded his work with hostility (“Freud”). As a result, Freud continued to work virtually alone in what he called “splendid isolation.” In 1904, Sigmund Freud published the book, The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, which explored everyday errors in speech, which he believed, were of interpretable importance (Appignanesi).  These “Freudian slip’s” were contrasted dreams in the sense that they can arise from immediate hostile, jealous, or egotistic causes.

Freud stated that sexuality was of importance in human behaviour. He derived his attitudes toward women and his beliefs about the roles of individual sexes from personal experiences in the strict culture of the time.  He made clear his views on a woman’s role in society, but he was unable to explain the behaviour of women. He resorted instead to studying the development of females from their childhood through adulthood in an attempt to figure out their complicated psyche. Freud’s research was conducted on strictly middle-class whites during the early twentieth century. We are a society that has always had clear delineation between childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. It is in the stage of childhood in which Freud believes that female development is distinguished from that of the males. The breakdown of development into various stages is unique to our specific culture. In most other cultures, there is only one transition that takes place in life and that is the one from childhood to adulthood.

This “graduation” of sorts occurs immediately after the child hits puberty. According to Freudian theory, the significant turning point in psychosexual development for gender identity occurs at about the age of three. For the first three years of life, pleasure is centered on oral gratification such as sucking a bottle or breast for milk. The person who provides this to the child is the main object of the baby’s love and affection. The child develops a sense of trust as a result of this relationship. This is the called the oral stage because there is a fixation that the child has to always have something in its mouth. The next stage is the anal stage. This struggles around issues such as toilet training, and a sense of self-control and control of the environment characterize it. The three-year-olds shift of focus to the sexual organs as the source of pleasure is labelled the phallic stage of psychosexual development. It is at this stage that girls notice that men and boys have penises, and they don’t. We, according to Freud, recognize that without this organ, we cannot “possess” the mother (our original love object) the way a man can, especially our fathers. This recognition leads girls to develop a sense of inferiority and the desire for a penis, which Freud called Penis Envy. At the same time, boys notice that girls and women do not have penises, and this leads the boy to believe that the girls were somehow denied them, or they had them taken away.

Freud concluded that this created a sense of anxiety in boys because they are afraid of losing their penises. Freud labelled this the Castration Complex. He also argued that girls blame their mothers for our “inferior anatomy,” and therefore turn our affections to our fathers in an effort to attain the desired object. By contrast, boys desire to marry their mothers and replace their fathers. Freudian theory labels this the Oedipus complex (named after the Greek myth about Oedipus, who unknowingly killed his father and married his mother). When they learn that they cannot “possess” their mothers because their rivals are bigger and stronger, they fear that their fathers will punish them for feeling this way by castrating them.  Boys get over the Oedipus complex rather quickly and they seek a new love interest and identify with the father.  Girls identify with their mothers reluctantly, because this identification does not help us achieve what we are wishing for during the phallic stage. The critics of Freud’s ideas about female development can be divided into two groups. The first group questions whether or not these psychological events actually take place. Because these are psychologically developed and not physically developed, there is no way to tell if they actually exist because they cannot be observed directly. Since there is no proof or test of the unconscious process, or even of the unconscious, some argue that these theories cannot be considered scientific.

The second group includes a number of Freud’s students. They do not directly attack the psychoanalytic approach but they disagree with the basic Freudian formulation of female development. Dorothy Dinnerstein, a psychologist who has written about the development of gender roles, says: “I am disturbed, like the other radical critics of our gender arrangements, by the sexual bigotry that is built into the Freudian perspective. But I am disinclined to let the presence of that bigotry deflect my attention from the key to a way out of our gender predicament that Freud, in a sense absent-mindedly, provides”.  The conceptual tool that he has put into our hands is a revolutionary one. The aspect of Freudian theory that is most criticized by feminists is the emphasis on penis envy and the view that our lives must be determined by our anatomy. Many critics have pointed out that women have many anatomical features and capacities that men lack. Why should girls be the ones to envy and boys are the ones to fear loss?  Boys might observe that only women have breasts; later, they learn that only women can bear children. Why not “breast envy” or “womb envy”?  Freud failed to look at the situation from the female perspective, and it is blatantly obvious in his beliefs on female development. There are large numbers of females and males who consider themselves to be students of Freudian theory.  It must be understood however that just because they believe in and support most of the major principles that Freud chose to elaborate on, does not mean that they are without their own various arguments against some of his beliefs.

Karen Horney (1885-1962) was a psychoanalyst and a student of Freud. She believed that Freud’s theory of female psychosexual development reflected a deep male bias, and that it did not make sense to assume that a woman is mentally affected by a wish for attributes of the opposite sex. She also notes that what Freud described as characteristics of the “Masculinity Complex” (egocentric ambition, envy, and the desire for dictatorial power) are exhibited by neurotic men as well as neurotic women and therefore are not necessarily related to the envy of the penis. She points out that self-confidence of either sex is based on the development of a wide range of human characteristics: talent, initiative, erotic capacity, achievement, courage, and independence. It seems as though men feel the need to place the “inferiority” on the shoulders of women in an attempt to hide their own insecurities, and envies regarding female roles in reproduction and societal progression. While the psychologists of today base their theories and ideas on the various studies done by others, Freud based his ideas primarily on the recollections of women who had consulted him for help. When he actually began to write about human sexuality and legitimise it as an up and coming field of study, Freud stated that women were indeed beings with sexual needs. He also suggested that the repression of sexual expression was a major cause of neurosis in women.  His theories evolved out of his own personal interpretation of these women’s underlying emotions and unconscious motives. While he believed women should express our sexuality, he also believed that our fulfilment could only come about in the form of a vaginal orgasm (distinct from the clitoral orgasm, which Freud considered “masculine” and “childish”) and the resulting bearing and nurturing of children. Although in many ways

Freud began a “liberation of female sexuality,” his theories had certain stigmas attached which passed on yet another set of masculine standards against which women were to judge themselves.
One of Freud’s greatest contributions to society was his expertise in the field of sexology. Because of his work, Freud introduced a way to people that allows them to understand how they were brought up and allows them to figure out the best way to bring up their own children. Also, Freud’s discoveries in sexual problems and perversions allow people to have a greater understanding of what makes people do the things that they do. Sigmund Freud’s work can have an effect on all people’s lives if they know what his has done and if they take a moment to analyse their own lives.  In the history of approaches to the treatment of mental illnesses we see a similar progression from punitive and physical procedures to more enlightened attempts at understanding and treating mental illness.  Sigmund Freud laid the foundation for modern psychoanalysis so that students of psychology could study and expand on his ideas.  His development of psychoanalysis and later modifications of his approach by his successors, together with the development of psychoactive agents (drugs) and other approaches to therapy, have revolutionised the treatment of mental illness.
Freud’s ideas were groundbreaking and were not like anything that anyone had ever heard of. Although never accorded full recognition during his lifetime, Freud is generally acknowledged as one of the great creative minds of modern times. All of his ideas can be directly related back to people and applied to everyday life. Because of Freud, people can step back and look at exactly what their thoughts mean and what their mind is trying to tell them. In all the examples in which Freud psychoanalysed, he went through a particular system. He chose the best way to manipulate every psychological move. In any psychologist, they have their own way of dealing with the troubled. They have work so many years to find the best curriculum to go through. In result, psychologists use their own psychoanalysis. “I am actually not a man of science at all … I am nothing but a conquistador by temperament, an adventurer” (Freud).


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Williams, Juanita H.; Psychology of Women NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 1987 Works Cited American Psychoanalytic Association. (Online). Available http://www.APSAA.com Appignanesi, Richard.
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Past Biography. 1995 ed. Freud, Sigmund. A General Introduction Of Psychoanalysis. New York: Boni and Liveright,

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