Freuds Life And His Theories Research Paper.
Sigmund Freud was one of the most innovative and pioneering figures in the field of psychology, pioneering many of the basic principles and practices of the field that are still used to this day in one form or another. However, in order to fully understand where these concepts came from, it is vital to know more about Freud’s complex, intriguing and short life. The things he experienced and observed all form the basis and inspiration for many of his essential theories (psychoanalysis, Oedipus complex, and so on). In this essay, we will explore many of his more popular theories, and what in his life led him to create them. As a result, we will know the impetus for their development, and better comprehend their intention in the canon of Freud’s school of psychoanalysis.Freuds Life And His Theories Research Paper.
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Freud’s connection of his life events to psychoanalysis is admitted even by Freud himself, stating that “my life is interesting only if it is related to psychoanalysis” (“Theory,” 2011). With this in mind, it is vital to understand where he came from and the events that shaped his life, as they also shaped his psychoanalytic theories. After he was born in 1856, his childhood immediately began being affected by his parents, a textile dealer named Jacob and his third wife, Amalia Nathansohn. Their relationship was a pitch-perfect Freudian match up, with the father being withholding, reasoning, and skeptical and the mother being affectionate and caring. This led to unconditional love from the mother, leading to Freud’s later assertion that “when you were incontestably the favorite child of your mother, you keep during your lifetime this victor feeling, you keep feeling sure of success, which in reality seldom doesn’t fulfill” (“Theory,” 2011).
Freud often performed quite a bit of self-analysis, which is one of the primary things that led to his development of many of his theories. As he first started to analyze himself, these findings would be offered in the books “The Interpretation of Dreams” and “The Psychopathology of Everyday Life.” In “The Interpretation of Dreams,” Freud would analyze his own dreams; one of the more famous examples is Irma’s Injection – a dream in which he meets a woman named Irma in a crowded room. Other events in the dream include the titular injection, which is administered rather thoughtlessly by a dream version of his friend Otto.Freuds Life And His Theories Research Paper.
The events of this dream were interpreted by him in order to understand what subconscious feelings would have brought this about; in this case, it was an attempt to free himself of the guilt he felt about the unsatisfactory treatment of a prior patient of his. As a result, the science of dream analysis was developed, as Freud felt he could extend this same practice of determining subconscious desires through dream expression to his patients (“Theory,” 2011).
Freud perpetually valued rationality in lieu of subjectivity and public opinion. He followed the Jewish value of reason, feeling that there was a justification and a cause for nearly every type of human want, desire and action. Life needed to be made sense of, and Freud was to be the one to make that happen. With this philosophy, he emphasized objectivity in psychoanalysts, as they needed to ignore the biases that both they and their patients carried, looking only at the facts and truths of their behavior. Freud would suppress his own emotions often, as he thought that they should take a back seat to reason, which was his primary mode of deduction (Wollman, 1984).
Freud never had a positive view of humanity; the events of World Wars I and II dampened his faith in human morality, as well as his experiences with anti-Semitism, both toward his father and himself. As time went on, his works would start to move to more societal problems in lieu of looking inward to the self, which was influenced by the effects that these great wars had on him. The fact that he also contracted cancer in the early 1920s did not help his already dour disposition, and these factors “increased his natural skepticism about human nature and its inability to adhere to the banners of truth and reason” (Wollman, p. 182).
Freud, particularly later in life, tended to have somewhat darker theories on human instinct and nature, which may have had something to do with the tragic events in his life at that time. Freud was always fascinated and horrified with death, having a preoccupation with it. As he aged, he grew increasingly distressed and turned more toward thoughts of death than ever (Wollman, 1984). Many of his friends and family passed on quite young around the early 1920s, including his daughter Sophie, his niece Caecilie Graf, and his grandson Heinerle. This led him to construct his theories on the death instinct; our tendency towards self-destruction and entropy. That, in addition to his diagnosis with cancer and the beginning of those treatments, combined to make him incredibly distressed and develop further theories on the impermanence of life, and the anxiety that stems from that.Freuds Life And His Theories Research Paper.
The Oedipus complex is one of Freud’s more famous theories – one wherein the patient carries a subconscious desire to love one’s mother and kill one’s father, seeing them as a rival for the affections of the former. These notions were found in Freud himself, who developed the complex in order to understand his own desires. There was a letter written to his friend Fleiss by Freud that helps explain his predicament, noting that he had found this type of phenomenon in himself, and considered it “a universal event in early childhood, even if not so early as in children who have been made hysterical” (“Theory,” 2011).
Freud’s issues with his father were very deep and complicated. In 1896, Jacob Freud, Sigmund’s father, died at the age of 81. Months after this, his correspondence with Fliess indicates that his own self-analysis leans toward a bevy of complex emotions regarding his father, such as a “seething ferment” and the fact that he “treasured him highly and had understood him exactly,” conflicting emotions that had their basis in what would come to be the Oedipus complex (Bernstein, p. 272).
In himself and his patients, Freud was forced to admit his own dark impulses toward incest and patricide, the “worst in himself,” taboo thoughts that were absolutely abhorrent (Bernstein, p. 281). At the same time, it brought him a catharsis, freeing himself from the restriction of not even being able to think these horrible thoughts. In this way, he found his own liberation from his latent feelings toward his parents, and denoted that it could help others.
Freud named the complex, obviously, after the tale of Oedipus Rex, who had unknowingly married his mother and killed his father. The tale is something that “everyone recognizes because he senses its existence within himself.” Freud noted his own desires to love his mother as well as his jealousy toward his father, determining that these subconscious desires lay within all human beings to some extent. (“Theory,” 2011). In addition to that, Freud almost certainly saw the Oedipus complex in his analysis of Hamlet in the play of the same name, wherein the story “has its roots in the same soil as Oedipus Rex” (Bernstein, p. 270).Freuds Life And His Theories Research Paper.
Psychoanalytic theory is thought to have come about in Freud’s life through his association by a patient of his colleague Josef Breuer, named Anna O. She was a hysteric who began to open up to Breuer about her life, performing a lot of the work and development of what she called the “talking cure” (Gay, 1988). Freud was fascinated by Breuer’s interesting method of treating Anna, which involved analyzing the way she thought and behaved, talking about her problems and history. This allowed patient and analyst alike to make the same discoveries together, forming a collaborative method of therapy known as psychoanalysis.
Another important milestone in the development of psychoanalysis was his correspondence with Fleiss, the same friend whom he opened up to about his Oedipus complex. Fleiss became the “idealized other” for Freud; an impartial and understanding party who is able to completely comprehend what he was going through. Despite the fact that this relationship was likely projected on Fleiss, it also provided a precedent for that particular aspect of psychoanalysis – the idea that a person can attribute personality traits or actions that they see in themselves onto another person (“Theory,” 2011).
Over the course of his studies in psychoanalysis, Freud determined that there is a difference between the unconscious and the repressed, and the dichotomy between reason and passion existed in a very real way for him. This was then expressed in the development of the id – the part of the personality that contains sheer passion and want; the ego – which carries all the reason and rationality in our personality; and the superego, which carries our narcissistic tendencies and our desire to believe that we are better than others. Many of these theories stemmed from his own experience; the struggle of Freud between reason and emotion was always there, as he wanted to repress his own id. Therefore, this constant struggle became a significant part of the narrative for Freud, claiming that it was present in all people (Gay, 1988).Freuds Life And His Theories Research Paper.
In conclusion, there are a variety of events in Freud’s life that led to the psychoanalytic theories that he developed. The first and foremost of these was his relationship with his parents; he was the favored child of the mother, and did not get enough attention from his withholding father, leading to his experience of the Oedipus complex. Sensing this desire in others, he developed it as a psychoanalytic practice. These same basic principles would be later honed by his correspondence regarding the patient Anna O., whose participation in psychology and the “talking cure” would form the basis for Freud’s ideas for psychoanalysis. The id, ego and superego all stemmed from Freud’s battle between reason and emotion. Freud’s unique, dark and inspiring life led to a great many of the principles that he wrote about, developed and innovated.Freuds Life And His Theories Research Paper.