Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Sigmund Freud: The founder of psychoanalysis

Sigmund Freud was the founding father of psychoanalysis, a method for treating mental illness and also a theory which explains human behavior. He developed this theory based on the development of the physical science of that time.

Sigmund Freud was born May 6, 1856, in a small town – Freiberg – in Moravia. His father was a wool merchant with a keen mind and a good sense of humor. His mother was a lively woman, her husband's second wife and 20 years younger.

A brilliant child, always at the head of his class, he went to medical school, one of the few viable options for a bright Jewish boy in Vienna those days. Freud studied medicine, but as a young graduate without a clear idea of his future career his first preference was for physiological research. His mentor was Ernst Brücke, a German scientist who was also the director of the university's physiology laboratory.

In 1882, he went to work at the General Hospital, where he gained experience in surgery, internal medicine, psychiatry, dermatology, and nervous diseases, until he settled on the discipline of neurology in 1885. In this capacity, he wrote highly praised works on aphasia and cerebral paralysis in children before shifting his gaze to the mental causes of physical illness.

In 1885 he received a travelling scholarship and went to Paris to study under Jean Martin Charcot at the Saltpêtrière, Europe’s center for neurological research, where his ideas about the relationship between body and mind crystallized further.

After spending a short time as a resident in neurology and director of a children's ward in Berlin, he came back to Vienna, married his fiancée of many years Martha Bernays, and set up a practice in neuropsychiatry,

He formulated several theories throughout his lifetime including the concepts of infantile sexuality, repression and the unconscious mind.

Freud attracted many followers, who formed a famous group in 1902 called the "Psychological Wednesday Society". The group met every Wednesday in Freud's waiting room. As the organization grew, Freud established an inner circle of devoted followers, the so called "Committee" (including Sàndor Ferenczi, and Hanns Sachs (standing) Otto Rank, Karl Abraham, Max Eitingon, and Ernest Jones).

He died (23 September 1939) of the cancer of the mouth and jaw that he had suffered from for the last 20 years of his life.
Sigmund Freud: The founder of psychoanalysis

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