’s Essay, Research Paper
Sigmund Freud’s revolutionary ideas have set the standard for modern psychoanalysis that students of psychology can learn from, and 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 and a better understanding of the small things that shape our lives. In 1873 Freud graduated from the Sperl Gymnasium and, inspired by a public reading of an essay on nature by Goethe, Freud decided to turn to medicine as a career(Gay, 10). He worked at the University of Vienna with one of the leading physiologists of his day, Ernst von Brucke, and in 1882 he entered the General Hospital in Vienna as a clinical assistant. After making several conclusions about the brain’s medulla, Freud was appointed lecturer in neuropathology. At this same time in Freud’s career, he developed an interest in the medical uses and benefits of cocaine(Britannica, 582). Even though some beneficial results were found in some forms of eye surgery, cocaine use was generally denied by the surgeons of his time. This interest in the narcotic hurt Freud’s medical reputation for a time. This episode in Freud’s life has beenlooked at as an example of his “willingness to attempt bold solutions to relieve human suffering(Wittels,98).” From 1885 to 1886 Freud spent nineteen weeks with Jean Martin Charcot, a world famous neurologist and the director of a Paris asylum. It was Charcot that first introduced Freud to the idea of hysteria and hysterics. Freud became intrigued by the idea of hypnotism as a method of therapy, but he was told that only hysterics could be treated with hypnotism(Appignanesi, 34). There was a firm belief that only women could be hysteric and that no man or non-hysteric woman could be affected by the use of hypnotism. Freud knew that hysteria could only develop where there is a degeneration of the brain, not just with women but with men too and that hypnotism could have an effect on normal people. Freud lost his interest in hysteria and hypnotism, but developed a liking of the psychoanalytic method of free association. This method encouraged the patient to express any random thoughts that came to the mind, which promoted a “stream of consciousness” that helped tap into the unconsciousness. The material that the patient said in this stream of consciousness was a link to the ideas of the unconscious mind that was normally hidden, forgotten or “unavailable to conscious reflection”(Freud, 47). 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 etiology of neurotic symptoms to the same struggle between a sexual feeling or urge and the psychic defenses against it.(Gay, 536)” 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. After the death of Freud’s father in 1899, Freud decided on analyzing the last words of his father that seemed to have touched Freud. This led to an interest in the analyzation of dreams which were what Freud called “the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious”(Britannica, 585). Published in 1899, The Interpretation of Dreams which is considered his master work, Freud presented his findings. In the book, Freud used his own dreams and the dreams of some of his clinical patients as evidence and he concluded that dreams played a fundamental role in a person’s psyche. Freud called the mind’s energy the libido which was related directly to one’s sexual drive. This libido usesdreams in order to purge pleasurable or painful feelings as an outlet (Appignanesi, 64). According to Freud, all dreams, including nightmares, are outlets of this libido energy. In order to understand and fully interpret dreams, Freud devised a fourpoint system that is used to interpret dreams: The first point is called condensation, which operates through the fusion of several different ideas or elements into one vision. The second point, called displacement, involves substitution of one thing for another such as a king and a father. The third point, called representation, involves the transformation of thoughts into images. The final point involves looking at the dream from a different perspective and recollecting the thoughts in a conscious state(Wittels, 211). 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. These “Freudian slip’s” were unlike dreams in the sense that they can arise from immediate hostile, jealous, or egotistic causes.
Just one year after publishing his book on psychopathology in everyday situations, Freud published Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious. In this book, Freud compared jokes to dreams in the sense that like dreams, jokes had a double sided meaning. What he meant by this was that jokes were formed in the conscious, but had a base in the unconscious mind. In addition to publishing a book on jokes in 1905, Freud published Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality. This book established Freud and some of his associates Richard von Kraft-Ebing, Havelock Ellis, Albert Moll, and Iwan Bloch as the “pioneering experts of sexology.”(Gay, 613) Sexual development starting young children, along with the ease of maladjustment in sexual development were the main basis of this publication. Freud stated that sexuality was one of the main “movers” in human behavior. Sigmund Freud outlined three stages of the sexual development of children: The oral phase, which occurs first, plants the seed of the mother being alove object because of breast feeding. The mother is the first love object for the child. The anal phase, occurs second because of the introduction to toilet training. This stage is especially important because the skill of self-control is put upon the child. As the child develops, he/she learns that defecation is pleasurable, and must be controlled. The phallic stage is the final stage of sexual development. Freud based it on the story of Oedipus Rex(Appignanesi, 98). The general story of Oedipus is the urge to sleep with your mother and kill your father. The reason that Freud associated this story is because in 1896, the year that his father died, he began the analyzation of his dad’s dreams. In doing so, he confronted a hatred toward his father through his dreams. Through the studies that Sigmund Freud conducted in sexology, he asked himself the question of how are homosexuals developed? After studying for a time he concluded that due to possible trauma as children(such as sexual abuse), homosexuals could have been forced in the wrong direction. This maladjustment forces a perversion into the person which the libido(the mind’s energy and the person’s sexual drive) takes over in the form of an obsession. In 1923 Freud published the book The Ego and the Id. He split up thehuman psyche into three different forms: The Id was the first and represented the primitive urges of children and which were based centrally on the desire for pleasure.The ego is considered to be the guide for reality and changes with the situation that the person is in. The super-ego is related to the Id in the sense that it is based in feelings of the past and it provides an outlet for a person’s aggressions(Britannica, 584). Sigmund Freud laid the foundation for modern psycochanalysis so that students of psychology could study and expand on his ideas. His ideas were ground-breaking and were not like anything that anyone had ever heard of. All of his ideas can be directly related back to people and applied to everyday life. Such ideas like jokes and their relation to the unconscious are extremely fascinating because of their significance to what people really are. Because of Freud, people can step back and look at exactly what their dreams mean and what their mind is trying to tell them. 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 which allows them to understand how they werebrought 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. Freud’s ingenious development of the three stage way that children form their sexual identies allows parents to have a better understanding of what their children are going through and the importance of small things in life like toilet training and it’s relation to controlling the pleasures of every day life.Sigmund Freud’s work can have an effect on all people’s lives if they know whathis has done and if they take a moment to analyze their own lives. “I am actually not a man of science at all … I am nothing but a conquistador by temperament, an adventurer.”