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Sigmund Freud

Information about Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud perhaps popularised Psychology far more than anyone since. Images of him are seen in everything from Psychology Text books, to Bacardi adverts.

He was born in 1856 in Frieberg, Moravia. When he was four years old his family moved to Vienna. When Freud was eight years old, he was reading Shakespeare and, during his adolescence, hearing a lecture about Goethe's essay on nature impressed him deeply and influenced his choice of career (which was originally to be law). He completed his medical degree from the University of Vienna in 1881. His medical career began with an apprenticeship in 1885 to 1886 under J. M. Charcot in Paris. Once he returned to Vienna he began collaborating with Josef Breuer. Together they discussed the use of hypnosis in the treatment of hysteria the ideas of which they published in a paper entitiled 'On the Psychical Mechanism of Hysterical Phenomena' released in 1893. They continued to improve upon these ideas eventually releasing another paper entitled 'Studien ├╝ber Hysterie' in 1895. It was this collaboration, which marked the beginnings of psychoanalysis. The discovery that symptoms of hysterical patients could be traced to psychological trauma in earlier life and could eventually manefest itself as hysteria - was the catalyst for subsequent developments of Psychoanalytical techniques. They developed a therapy known as the cathartic method. The patient was placed in a state of hypnosis and would be instructed to recall the forgotten scenes which were the core of the hysteria. Unfortunately this work was largely ignored by the medical profession. Soon after Freud and Bruer were to go their separate ways because of Freud's preoccupation with sex.

Freud moved away from Hypnosis and began to use free association. He also published 'The Interpretation of Dreams' in 1900 which he considered the most important of all his works. He was appointed professor at the University of Vienna in 1902. In this year he also founded the psychological "Wednesday Society" which was a weekly meeting of friends at his home, where his discoveries were discussed. In 1904 he published 'The Psychopathology of Everyday Life' and 'Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality' in 1905. He worked alone due to the shocking nature of his theories regarding sexual energies. Then in 1906 he was joined by Eugen Bleuler, Jung, William Stekel, Otto Rank, Abraham Brill, and Alfred Adler amoung others. In 1908 the "Wednesday Society" became the Viennese Association of Psychoanalysis.

The psychoanalytic movement became increasingly popular. Due to this recognition a worldwide organization called the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA) was founded in 1910. The psychoanalytical magazine 'Imago' was founded in 1912. Adler, in 1911 and Jung in 1913 left the Viennese Association of Psychoanalysis to form their own schools of psychology. The primary catalyst for this was Freud's emphasis on sexual origins of neurosis.

Freud's Collected Works was released in 1925, he was honoured with the Goethe Prize for Literature in 1930 and he was elected Honorary Member of the British Royal Society of Medicine in 1935.

In 1933 Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of the German Reich. After an incident where the Gestapo searched Freud's house, arrested and interrogated his daughter Anna, Freud emigrated to England with his family. For a short he lived in the house at 20 Maresfield Gardens, which was eventually turned into the Freud Museum London. It was there that Sigmund Freud died, on September 23rd 1939, at the age of 83.


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