SigmundFreud is one of the greatest psychologists of all times. He was anAustrian psychologist who developed one of the most importanttheories, the theory of psychoanalysis. He was born in the modern dayCzech Republic in May 1856. His parents were struggling financiallyand thus, they lived in deplorable conditions. spentthe early years of his life in Freiberg Austria before his familymoved to Vienna when he was about four years (Jacobs, 2008). This iswhere he spent most of his life. At the age of 17 years, SigmundFreud joined the University of Vienna. Initially, his desires were tostudy law but he was admitted in the medical school. While in medicalschool, he developed an interest in zoology, philosophy, andpsychology. After graduating in 1881, he started his medical careerat Vienna General Hospital (Jacobs, 2008).
Whilstworking in the hospital, he began his research on cerebral anatomy.In 1884, he published his first research paper which discussed theeffects of palliative cocaine on patients. He worked in differentdepartments in the hospital including the psychiatric clinic. Due tothe substantiated publications, he was appointed a universitylecturer in 1885. In 1986, he resigned from his position in thehospital and started private practice dealing with nervous disorders.In the same year, got married to Martha Bernays andsired six children.was a smoker and argued that itenhanced his abilities to work (Jacobs, 2008).
Thereare many philosophers and psychologists who influenced and inspired him to develop an interest in psychology. In medicalschool, he was influenced by his tutors such as Ernst Brucke andFranz Brentano. Contemporary theorists such as Theodor Lipps, whohad interests in the unconscious mind, had a huge influence onFreud’s thoughts and research (Thurschwell, 2008). He also readworks of great writers and thinkers such as Charles Darwin, FredrickNietzche, and William Shakespeare among others. The greatestinfluence came from his friend Josef Breuer. The work of Josef Breuerhinted to him that the neuroses had a huge relationship withtraumatic experiences. Based on this finding, it was evident that ifthe patients were allowed to talk about the symptoms uninhibitedly,the suffering abated. These findings were published in the studiesin hysteria(Thurschwell, 2008).
Despitethese influences, he made a huge contribution to psychology becausehe was an original thinker. developed scientificstudies and methodologies that were significantly different from theapproaches of his colleagues. Some of his concepts and arguments werebased on his experiences in the past. Some of these experiences werecaptured in one of his work, TheInterpretation of Dreams.For example, he probed his childhood relationship with his father andthe emotional distress he underwent after his death. admitted that during his childhood, he had a contrasting feelingabout his father. He hated him and wished that he was dead due to therivalry for his mother’s affection but also loved and admired himas a father. These experiences formed the basis of his psychoanalysistheory (Thurschwell, 2008).
SigmundFreud proposed several theories of psychology which have an influenceon modern studies. His Theory of Unconscious is based on the role ofthe unconscious mind in the development of mental conditions such asneuroses. The activities of the unconscious mind are revealed throughobsessive behaviors or dreams. Freud theory aimed at explaining theunderlying causes of some of the mental problems by studying theunconscious mind. The unconscious mind was also liked to drivers andinstincts such as Erosand Thanatos.Erosare life instincts which are concerned with self-preservation, whileThanatosare death instants which result in self-destruction. He alsoconcluded that not all actions by humans are motivated by sexualpleasure since death instincts do not involve sexual motivators(Jacobs, 2008).
SigmundFreud also proposed the theory of infantile sexuality which formedthe basis of his arguments on how childhood experiences influenceindividuals in their adult life. He argued that during childhood, anindividual undergoes several stages of development, which includesoral stage, anal stage, phallic stage, and latency stage. Every stageis characterized by a different type of sexual pleasure. Unresolvedconflicts and other experiences during childhood can negativelyaffect the mental health of the individual in adulthood (Jacobs,2008). For example, inability to identify with a parent of the samesex can result into homosexuality in adulthood. Another importantcontribution of in psychology is in the understandingof the structure of the mind. He proposed that the human mind iscomposed of the id, ego, and superego. These elements define thepersonality of the individual. The id is the unconscious impulses,ego mediates between the id and reality, and superego is theperfectionist part of the mind. These formed the foundations of thepsychoanalysis theory, in which the main concept is disharmonybetween the three elements of the mind (Jacobs, 2008).
Jacobs,M. (2008). SigmundFreud.London: SAGE.
Thurschwell,P. (2009). SigmundFreud.Routledge, ISBN 1134027052.