Freud and psychoanalysis

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Franz Mesmer. Charcot specialized in the treatment of patients with "hysteria," the catch-all name for an ailment with various symptoms, ranging from depression to seizures and paralysis, which mainly affected women. Charcot believed that most cases of hysteria originated in the patient's mind and should be treated as such. He held public demonstrations, during which he would hypnotize patients placing them into a trance and induce their symptoms, one at a time, then remove them by suggestion.

Although some observers especially those in the medical community viewed it with suspicion, hypnosis did seem to work on some patients.

Freud was greatly influenced by Charcot's method, which illustrated the powerful role that words could play in the treatment of mental illness. He also came to adopt the belief that some physical ailments might originate in the mind, rather than in the body alone. Returning to Vienna in February , Freud opened a private practice as a specialist in the treatment of "nervous diseases.

As his practice grew, he finally earned enough money to marry Martha Bernays in September The couple moved into an apartment in a middle-class neighborhood in the heart of Vienna.

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Their first child, Mathilde, was born in , followed by three sons and two daughters over the next eight years. Freud began to receive referrals from other physicians to treat their most challenging patients -- "hysterics" who did not improve with treatment. Freud used hypnosis with these patients and encouraged them to talk about past events in their lives. He dutifully wrote down all that he learned from them -- traumatic memories, as well as their dreams and fantasies. One of Freud's most important mentors during this time was Viennese physician Josef Breuer.

Through Breuer, Freud learned about a patient whose case had an enormous influence upon Freud and the development of his theories. She suffered from numerous physical complaints, including arm paralysis, dizziness, and temporary deafness. Breuer treated Anna by using what the patient herself called "the talking cure. In talking about the experience, Anna found that she felt a sense of relief, leading to a diminishment -- or even the disappearance of -- a symptom.

Thus, Anna O became the first patient to have undergone "psychoanalysis," a term coined by Freud himself. Inspired by the case of Anna O, Freud incorporated the talking cure into his own practice. Before long, he did away with the hypnosis aspect, focusing instead upon listening to his patients and asking them questions. Later, he asked fewer questions, allowing his patients to talk about whatever came to mind, a method known as free association.

As always, Freud kept meticulous notes on everything his patients said, referring to such documentation as a case study. He considered this his scientific data. As Freud gained experience as a psychoanalyst, he developed a concept of the human mind as an iceberg, noting that a major portion of the mind -- the part that lacked awareness -- existed under the surface of the water.

Other early psychologists of the day held a similar belief, but Freud was the first to attempt to systematically study the unconscious in a scientific way. Freud's theory -- that humans are not aware of all of their own thoughts, and might often act upon unconscious motives -- was considered a radical one in its time. His ideas were not well-received by other physicians because he could not unequivocally prove them. In an effort to explain his theories, Freud co-authored Studies in Hysteria with Breuer in The book did not sell well, but Freud was undeterred.

He was certain that he had uncovered a great secret about the human mind. Many people now commonly use the term " Freudian slip " to refer to a verbal mistake that potentially reveals an unconscious thought or belief. Freud conducted his hour-long psychoanalytic sessions in a separate apartment located in his family's apartment building at Berggasse 19 now a museum. It was his office for nearly half a century. The cluttered room was filled with books, paintings, and small sculptures.

At its center was a horsehair sofa, upon which Freud's patients reclined while they talked to the doctor, who sat in a chair, out of view. Freud believed that his patients would speak more freely if they were not looking directly at him. He maintained a neutrality, never passing judgment or offering suggestions. The main goal of therapy , Freud believed, was to bring the patient's repressed thoughts and memories to a conscious level, where they could be acknowledged and addressed.


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For many of his patients, the treatment was a success; thus inspiring them to refer their friends to Freud. As his reputation grew by word of mouth, Freud was able to charge more for his sessions. He worked up to 16 hours a day as his list of clientele expanded.

Sigmund Freud And Psychoanalysis I

After the death of his year-old father, Freud felt compelled to learn more about his own psyche. He decided to psychoanalyze himself, setting aside a portion of each day to examine his own memories and dreams , beginning with his early childhood. During these sessions, Freud developed his theory of the Oedipal complex named for the Greek tragedy , in which he proposed that all young boys are attracted to their mothers and view their fathers as rivals.

As a normal child matured, he would grow away from his mother. Freud described a similar scenario for fathers and daughters, calling it the Electra complex also from Greek mythology.

Freud also came up with the controversial concept of "penis envy," in which he touted the male gender as the ideal. He believed that every girl harbored a deep wish to be a male. Only when a girl renounced her wish to be a male and her attraction to her father could she identify with the female gender. Many subsequent psychoanalysts rejected that notion. Freud's fascination with dreams was also stimulated during his self-analysis. Convinced that dreams shed light upon unconscious feelings and desires,.

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Sigmund Freud on psychoanalysis

Freud began an analysis of his own dreams and those of his family and patients. He determined that dreams were an expression of repressed wishes and thus could be analyzed in terms of their symbolism. Freud published the groundbreaking study The Interpretation of Dreams in Although he received some favorable reviews, Freud was disappointed by sluggish sales and the overall tepid response to the book. However, as Freud became better known, several more editions had to be printed to keep up with popular demand.

Freud soon gained a small following of students of psychology, which included Carl Jung, among others who later became prominent. The group of men met weekly for discussions at Freud's apartment. As they grew in number and influence, the men came to call themselves the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society.

Psychodynamic Perspectives on Personality

The Society held the first international psychoanalytic conference in Over the years, Freud, who had a tendency to be unyielding and combative, eventually broke off communication with nearly all of the men. Freud maintained a close relationship with Carl Jung , a Swiss psychologist who embraced many of Freud's theories. When Freud was invited to speak at Clark University in Massachusetts in , he asked Jung to accompany him. Unfortunately, their relationship suffered from the stresses of the trip.

Freud did not acclimate well to being in an unfamiliar environment and became moody and difficult. Nonetheless, Freud's speech at Clark was quite successful. He impressed several prominent American physicians, convincing them of the merits of psychoanalysis. Freud's thorough, well-written case studies, with compelling titles such as "The Rat Boy," also received praise. Freud's fame grew exponentially following his trip to the United States. At 53, he felt that his work was finally receiving the attention it deserved.

Freud's methods, once considered highly unconventional, were now deemed accepted practice. Carl Jung, however, increasingly questioned Freud's ideas. Jung didn't agree that all mental illness originated in childhood trauma, nor did he believe that a mother was an object of her son's desire. Yet Freud resisted any suggestion that he might be wrong. By , Jung and Freud had severed all ties with one another. Jung developed his own theories and became a highly influential psychologist in his own right.

The Influence of Psychoanalysis on the Field of Psychology

Following the assassination of Austrian archduke Franz Ferdinand in , Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, thus drawing several other nations into the conflict which became World War I. Although the war had effectively put an end to the further development of psychoanalytic theory, Freud managed to stay busy and productive. He revised his previous concept of the structure of the human mind. Freud now proposed that the mind comprised three parts : the Id the unconscious, impulsive portion that deals with urges and instinct , the Ego the practical and rational decision-maker , and the Superego an internal voice that determined right from wrong, a conscience of sorts.

This rests on the assumption that the current maladaptive perspective is tied to deep-seated personality factors. Global therapies stand in contrast to approaches which focus mainly on a reduction of symptoms, such as cognitive and behavioral approaches, so-called problem-based therapies. Anxiety disorders such as phobias, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder are obvious areas where psychoanalysis might be assumed to work.

The aim is to assist the client in coming to terms with their own id impulses or to recognize the origin of their current anxiety in childhood relationships that are being relived in adulthood. Svartberg and Stiles and Prochaska and DiClemente point out that the evidence for its effectiveness is equivocal.

Salzman suggests that psychodynamic therapies generally are of little help to clients with specific anxiety disorders such as phobias or OCDs but may be of more help with general anxiety disorders. Salzman in fact expresses concerns that psychoanalysis may increase the symptoms of OCDs because of the tendency of such clients to be overly concerned with their actions and to ruminate on their plight Noonan, Depression may be treated with a psychoanalytic approach to some extent.

Psychoanalysts relate depression back to the loss every child experiences when realizing our separateness from our parents early in childhood. An inability to come to terms with this may leave the person prone to depression or depressive episodes in later life. Treatment then involves encouraging the client to recall that early experience and to untangle the fixations that have built up around it.

Particular care is taken with transference when working with depressed clients due to their overwhelming need to be dependent on others. Shapiro and Emde report that psychodynamic therapies have been successful only occasionally. One reason might be that depressed people may be too inactive or unmotivated to participate in the session. In such cases a more directive, challenging approach might be beneficial. Another reason might be that depressives may expect a quick cure and as psychoanalysis does not offer this, the client may leave or become overly involved in devising strategies to maintain a dependent transference relationship with the analyst.

Fisher and Greenberg , in a review of the literature, conclude that psychoanalytic theory cannot be accepted or rejected as a package, 'it is a complete structure consisting of many parts, some of which should be accepted, others rejected and the others at least partially reshaped.

Psychoanalysts fight to make Freud relevant again

Fonagy questions whether attempts to validate Freud's approach through laboratory tests have any validity themselves. Freud's theory questions the very basis of a rationalist, scientific approach and could well be seen as a critique of science, rather than science rejecting psychoanalysis because it is not susceptible to refutation.

The case study method is criticized as it is doubtful that generalizations can be valid since the method is open to many kinds of bias e. However, psychoanalysis is concerned with offering interpretations to the current client, rather than devising abstract dehumanized principles. Anthony Storr , the well-know psychoanalyst appearing on TV and Radio 4's 'All in the Mind', holds the view that whilst a great many psychoanalysts have a wealth of 'data' at their fingertips from cases, these observations are bound to be contaminated with subjective personal opinion and should not be considered scientific.

Fisher, S.

The scientific credibility of Freud's theories and therapy. Columbia University Press. Fonagy, P. Several entries in the area of psycho-analysis and clinical psychology. Freud, S. Introductory lectures on psychoanalysis. SE, Freud, A. The Ego and the mechanisms of defense. Noonan, J. An obsessive-compulsive reaction treated by induced anxiety. American Journal of Psychotherapy , 25 2 , Prochaska, J. DiClemente The transtheoretical approach: Crossing traditional boundaries of therapy. Homewood, Ill. Salzman, L. Treatment of the obsessive personality.

Jason Aronson Inc. Shapiro, T. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association , 39, Svartberg, M. Comparative effects of short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy: a meta-analysis. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology , 59 5 , Learning Check: You are the Therapist.

Read through the notes below. Identify the methods the therapist is using. What do you think Albert's problem is? A young man, 18 years old, is referred to a psychoanalyst by his family doctor. It seems that, for the past year, the young man Albert has been experiencing a variety of symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, palpitations, sleep disturbances - all associated with extreme anxiety.

The symptoms are accompanied by a constant, but periodically overwhelming fear of death. He believes that he has a brain tumor and is, therefore, going to die. However, in spite of exhaustive medical tests, no physical basis for the symptoms can be identified. The doctor finally concludes that Albert's symptoms are probably psychologically based.

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