06 May 2019

6th May 1856 - Sigmund Freud was born

Sigmund Freud was born on 6th May 1856. He was born in Austria. His birth name was Sigismund but he preferred Sigmund. He was a clever child and could have been a lawyer but decided to study medicine instead. Freud studied the sex lives of eels but could not find their sexual organ. He then went on to study neurology with Charcot who was interested in hysteria.

Freud became the founder of psychoanalysis, and best known for his idea that our unconscious mind controls a lot of what we do. He thought that we repress things into our unconscious as a defense mechanism. But the unconscious mind can reveal its secrets in dreams and slips of the tongue.

He saw sexual desire as a primary motivational energy of human beings although that too can get repressed. Children went through a series of psycho sexual stages of development (oral, anal, phallic) and some got fixated at an earlier stage with consequent effects on behaviour. He thought that young boys wanted to kill their fathers and have sex with their mothers but when the boy realised the father was too powerful this thought got repressed - the Oedipus Complex.

His therapeutic techniques involved getting people to lie on a couch and talk. The relationship between therapist and patient allowed transference where the therapist becomes a representation of an important figure from the patient's past, possibly father or mother.

Freud went on to see the mind divided into the primitive id with its desires, the super-ego with its conscience, with the ego - the rational part - trying to mediate between id and superego. He wrote a lot of books, and that got his ideas very well known.

Hitler did not like him because Freud was Jewish, and a psychoanalyst - two of Hitlers biggest hates. Hitler's followers burnt Freud's books. Freud had to come to England for his own safety. Four of his sisters died in Nazi concentration camps.

Freud died in Hampstead in 1939 but his ideas lived on in his books and through other psychoanalysts. His ideas are still controversial and often difficult to verify scientifically.

Thankyou to Wikipedia May 6th for the dat

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