Sigmund Freud: a Life in Psychoanalysis

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Freud was the pioneer of Psychoanalysis and he laid the grounds of unconscious mental activity. He rigorously studied psychoanalysis for the next forty years of his life. He left a legacy behind unmatched by any other, he poised his graceful thoughts of the mind, dream interpretation and the technique of psychoanalysis, he developed his theory on his principles, objectives, techniques and methodology.

Psychoanalysis is a method of understanding mental functioning and the stages of growth and development. Psychoanalysis is a theory of individual and experience, and it has both contributed to and been enriched by many other disciplines. Psychoanalysis seeks to explain the complex relationship between the body and the mind and furthers the understanding of the role of emotions in medical illness and health.

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Freud developed the first systematic approach of how unconscious mental life exerts its influence on our view of the world. The structural theory organizes the functions of the mind into three conflicting parts: the ego (governed by the “reality principle”); the superego (the conscience, a sometimes too rigid commitment to the rules of society); and the id (the desire for pleasure, sooner rather than later).

Id is the driving force for human relationships; hence it falls under human nature itself. It stresses on the notion of libido, commonly referred to as sexual energy and aggressiveness. Id seeks instantaneous satisfaction and is utterly selfish. Modern woeld neuroscientist might locate it in the amydala, whereas, ego is compatible and deals with self control and according to the modern knowledge, resides in prefrontal cortex. Super ego rather deals with managing conflict and danger.

Psychoanalysis seeks to explain the compound relationship between body and the mind and helps in understanding the role of emotions in medical illness and health. Freud proposed two instincts, eros and the death instinct, where eros preserves unity through relationships whereas death instincts undo relationships. They either work together via attraction or operate against each other via repulsion.

Freud in his theory, psychoanalysis, poses the fact that humans by default go through five important developmental phases of their life. First being the oral phase, it falls into the first year of human life, where mouth is the main focus of pleasure and children are totally dependent on the carer, hence they acquire close relationships with them. Second being the anal stage, where the focus of pleasure shifts from mouth to anus, where the child learns to retain and expel faeces at will. Third stage refers to the phallic stage (phallus meaning penis) where the child develops strong attachment to the opposite sex parent and consider the same sex parent as their rival. Following this phase comes the latency time period, where everything comes at halt and later on the genital phase, where the sexual function is completely organized.

His sexual developmental theory was also proved by freud. He studied a little boy namely Hans. Herbert Graf. He was a jewish boy from Vienna. He was 5 years at the start of the study, or as quoted by other researchers, younger than that. He was suffering from the phobia of horses, hence his father reported the case to freud.

When Hans was 3 years old, he developed this strange interest of playing with his penis, infront of his mom, his mom got angry with him and threatened his if he doesn’t stop, she will have it removed. Hans got scared and developed a fear of castration. Hans repeatedly mentioned his fear of horses, where freud depicted that the horses depict the large penises and also, the conflict between him and his dad. Hans fantasized that he had several children and their mother was hans own mother, while his father being the grand father. Frued examined this case as the example of Oedipus complex.

Another case was reported according to Thombs, D., 2006 where the patient was habitual of substance abuse and was influenced by psychoanalysis that was in turn caused by her mother. As it was his mother who over protected him, indulged his id and caused his excessive drinking. As when the substance abuser grew up, he never developed appropriate coping mechanisms. Instead, he just grab the bottle, stayed in bed all day watching TV, avoided going for a job interview, making friends, and learning how to deal with rejection. He used alcohol to dampen anxiety and avoid threatening situations.

In his book an outline of psychoanalysis he mentions the method that analysist use, first they extract the information from their patients, via free association, transference, dream interpretations and patients slips. The they form a hypothesis, as to what happened to the patients in the past, and what is happening to them currently. For the analysist to actually end their research, their conclusions must be in sync with that of their patients and once the patients accept the conclusions, they are cured and free to leave.

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