Sigmund Freud History

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    Sigmund Freuds

    Reporter:

    Gleam Bill B. Balais

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    Sigmund Freud (18561939) was born on either March 6 or May 6 inFreiberg, Moravia (now Pribor, Czech Republic).

    His father was Jakob Freud, a wool merchant. lived 81 years His mother was Amalie Nathansohn lived 95 years until 1930 Freud had half-brothers as old as his mother and a nephew older than he

    was. Sigmund was the oldest child in the immediate family (3rd family of

    Jakob), however, and clearly Amalies favorite. From early on, Sigmund showed great intellectual ability; to aid his

    studies, he was given an oil lamp and a room of his ownthe only one inthe large household to have those things.

    His mother would often serve him his meals in his room, and a piano wastaken away from one of his sisters because the music bothered him.

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    Sigmund began reading Shakespeare when he was eight years old, andhe deeply admired that authors power of expression and understandingof human nature all his life.

    Freud also had an amazing gift for languages. As a boy, he taught himselfLatin, Greek, French, Spanish, Italian, and English, and later in life he

    became an acknowledged master of German prose. He entered high school at age 9 (a year earlier than normal) and was

    always at the head of his class; at age 17, he graduated summa cumlaude. Until his final year of high school, Freud was attracted to a careerin law or politics, or even in the military; but hearing a lecture onGoethes essay on nature and reading Darwins theory of evolutionaroused his interest in science, and he decided to enroll in the medicalschool at the University of Vienna in the fall of 1873, at the age of 17.

    Freud enrolled in medical school in 1873, it took him eight years tocomplete the program; because he had such wide interests, he was oftendiverted from his medical studies. For example, Brentano caused him tobecome interested in philosophy, and Freud even translated one of JohnStuart Mills books into German.

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    The term psychoanalysis has threemeanings:

    (1) a theory of personality andpsychopathology,

    (2) a method of therapy for personalitydisturbances,

    (3) a technique for investigating an individualsunconscious thoughts and feelings.

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    Freud employed a topographical modelofpersonality organization. According to him,

    psychic life can be represented by three levelsof consciousness the conscious, thepreconscious, and the conscious.

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    The conscious level consists of whatever sensations and experiences you areaware of at a given moment in time. Freud insisted that only a small part ofmental life (thoughts, perceptions, feelings, memories) is contained in the realmof consciousness. Whatever content of consciousness there may be at a giventime, is the result of a screening process largely regulated by external cues.Furthermore, it can only be conscious at a given time and can be quicklysubmerged into preconscious or unconscious levels as the persons attentionshifts to different cues.

    The preconscious domain, sometimes called the available memory,encompasses all experiences that are not conscious at the moment but which caneasily be retrieved into awareness either spontaneously or with a minimumeffort. It bridges the conscious and unconscious region of the mind.

    The unconscious is the deepest and major stratum of the human mind. It is thestorehouse for primitive instinctual dries plus emotions and memories that are sothreatening to the conscious mind that they have been repressed, orunconsciously pushed into the unconscious mind. For Freud, such unconsciousmaterial is responsible for much of everyday behaviour.

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    Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, comparedthe human mind to an iceberg. The tip above the waterrepresents consciousness, and the vast region below the

    surface symbolizes the unconscious mind. Of Freuds threebasic personality structuresid, ego, and superegoonlythe id is totally unconscious.

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    Psychoanalysis has as its core the idea that each of

    us has an unconsciouspart whose existence,

    activities and thoughts are hidden behind a mental

    barrier that we cannot voluntarily remove. Behind

    this barrier are repressed and psychologicallydangerous thoughts that give rise to unconscious

    conflicts, which in turn, can result in psychologicaland physical symptoms.

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    Another is the thanatos (named after the Greek god of death). The lifeinstincts seek to perpetuate life, and the death instinct seeks toterminate it. To all the other conflicts that occur among the id, ego, andsuperego, Freud added a life-and-death struggle. When directed toward

    ones self, the death instinct manifests itself as suicide or masochism;when directed outwardly, it manifests itself in hatred, murder, cruelty,and general aggression.

    For Freud, aggression is a natural component of human nature.

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    Transference is when an unconscious impulse is directed upon someobject rather than the one toward it was originally directed.

    Freud encourages a miniature neurosis called Transference Neurosis in

    therapy. In which the individual develops a recognition of the importanceof transference of his or her former relationships to his or her currentrelationships. It helps the individual grasp a better insight and deeperknowing of ones self and relationships.

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    What are the Defense Mechanisms?

    Defense mechanisms help regulate the conflict within the id, ego, andsuperego and the proper release of the libidinal energy.

    Repression is a fundamental defense mechanism which is involved in allothers. It hides or disguises undesirable thoughts, memories and ideasand push them to the unconscious or disguise it so it would not causeanxiet. Modified repressed ideas show up in dreams, in humor, in

    physical symptoms, during free association, and in parapraxes.

    Displacement is another very important defense mechanism. It involvesreplacing an object or goal that provokes anxiety with one that does not.

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    Sublimation is substituting a nonsexual goal for a sexual one. Freudconsidered sublimation to be the basis of civilization. Because we oftencannot express our sexual urges directly, we are forced to express themindirectly in the form of poetry, art, religion, football, baseball, politics,

    education, and everything else that characterizes civilization.

    Projection is to attribute an anxiety-provoking thought to someone orsomething other than ones self. One sees the causes of failure,undesirable urges, and secret desires as outthere instead of in the self

    because seeing them as part ofones self would cause anxiety.

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    Identificationis to symbolically borrow someone elses success whenone feels frustrated and anxious because one has not lived up to someinternalized value. Thus, if one dresses, behaves, or talks the way aperson considered successful does, some of that persons success

    becomes ones own.

    Rationalization (sour-graping and sweet-lemons) involves giving arational and logical, but false, reason for a failure or shortcoming ratherthan the true reason for it.

    Reaction formation is when people have a desire to do something butdoing it would cause anxiety, they do the opposite of what they reallywant to do. Thus, the male with strong homosexual tendencies becomesa Don Juan type.

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    Freud considered the entire body to be a source of sexual pleasure, hebelieved that this pleasure was concentrated on different parts of thebody at different stages of development. At any stage, the area of thebody on which sexual pleasure is concentrated is called the erogenous

    zone. The erogenous zones give the stages of development theirrespective names. According to Freud, the experiences a child has duringeach stage determine, to a large extent, his or her adult personality. Forthis reason, Freud believed that the foundations for ones adultpersonality are formed by the time a child is about five years old.

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    The Oral Stage. The oral stage lasts through about the first year of life,and the erogenous zone is the mouth. Pleasure comes mainly throughthe lips, tongue, and such activities as sucking, chewing, and swallowing.If either overgratification or undergratification (frustration) of the oral

    needs causes a fixation to occur at this level of development, as an adultthe child will be an oral character. Fixation during the early part of theoral stage results in an oral-incorporative or oral-passive character. Such aperson tends to be a good listener and an excessive eater, drinker, kisser,or smoker; he or she also tends to be dependent and gullible. A fixation

    during the latter part of the oral stage, when teeth begin to appear,results in an oral-sadistic or oral-agressive character. Such a person issarcastic, cynical, and generally aggressive.

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    The Anal Stage. The anal stage lasts through about the second year oflife, and the erogenous zone is the anus-buttocks region of the body.Fixation during this stage results in an anal character. During the firstpart of the anal stage, pleasure comes mainly from activities such as

    feces expulsion, and a fixation here results in the adult being an anal-expulsive character. Such a person tends to be generous, messy, orwasteful. In the latter part of the anal stage, after toilet training hasoccurred, pleasure comes from being able to withhold feces. A fixationhere results in the person becoming an anal-retentive character. Such an

    adult tends to be a collector and to be stingy, orderly, and perhapsperfectionistic.

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    The Phallic Stage. The phallic stage lasts from about the beginning ofthe third year to the end of the fifth year, and the erogenous zone is thegenital region of the body. Because Freud believed the clitoris to be asmall penis, the phallic stage describes the development of both maleand female children. The most significant events that occur during thisstage are the male and female Oedipal complexes. According to Freud,both male and femalechildren develop strong, positive, even eroticfeelings toward their mother because she satisfiestheir needs. Thesefeelings persist in the boy buttypically change in the girl. The male childnowhas an intense desire for his mother and great hostilitytoward his

    father, who is perceived as a rivalfor his mothers love. Because thesource of hispleasurable feelings toward his mother is his penisandbecause he sees his father as much more powerfulthan he, the malechild begins to experience castration anxiety, which causes him to represshissexual and aggressive tendencies.

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    The male child solves the problemby identifying with the father. Thisidentificationaccomplishes two things: Symbolically becominghis father(through identification) allows the childat least to share the mother; and itremoves hisfather as a threat, thus reducing the childs castrationanxiety.

    The female childs situation is much differentfrom the males.

    Like the male child, the femalestarts out with a strong attraction andattachmentto the mother. She soon learns, however, that shelacks a penisand she blames the mother for its absence.She now has both positive and

    negative feelingstoward her mother. At about the same time,she learns thather father possesses the valued organ,which she wants to share with him.This causes asexual attraction toward the father, but the fact thather fatherpossesses something valuable that shedoes not possess causes her toexperiencepenis envy.

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    To resolve the femaleOedipal complex in a healthy way, the female childmust repress her hostility toward her mother andher sexual attraction toher father. Thereafter, shebecomes the mother and shares the father.The repression and strong identification necessaryduring this stage

    result in the full developmentof the superego.

    When a child identifies with his orher parent of the same sex, the childintrojects thatparents moral standards and values. Once thesestandards have been introjected, they control thechild for the rest of his

    or her life. For this reason,the final and complete formation of thesuperego issaid to go hand in hand with the resolution of theOedipalcomplexes.

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    The Genital Stage. The genital stage lasts from puberty through theremainder of ones life. With the onset of puberty, sexual desires becometoo intense to repress completely, and they begin to manifestthemselves. The focus of attention is now on members of the opposite

    sex. If everything has gone correctly during the preceding stages, thisstage will culminate in dating and eventually marriage. Theundergratifications or overgratifications and fixations that a personexperiences (or does not experience) during the psychosexual stages willdetermine the persons adult personality. If the person has adjustment

    problems later in life, the psychoanalyst looks into these earlyexperiences for solution to the problems. For the psychoanalyst,childhood experience is the stuff of which neuroses or normality aremade. Indeed, psychoanalysts believe that the child is father to theman (Freud, 1940/1969, p. 64).

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    Deterministic He was a strict biological deterministic (Kline, 1984). Heassumed that all human events (actions, thoughts, feelings, aspirations)are governed by laws and determined by powerful instinctual forces,notably sex and aggression.

    IrrationalIn Freuds view, people are motivated by irrational, almostuncontrollable, instincts which are largely out of the sphere of consciousawareness. While a degree of rationality exists within the ego, thiscomponent of personality structure is ultimately subservient to thedemands of the Id.

    Holistic Freud leaned towards a holistic view of persons, believing thatthey must be studied as totalities in order to be understood. Central tohis theory is the portrayal if the individual in terms of id-ego-superegointeractions and interdependencies.

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    ConstitutionalismSeveral of Freuds early concepts (psychic energy,instincts, pleasure principle) were derived from neuroanatomy andneurophysiology (Weinstein, 1968). Psychoanalytic theory neversubstantially altered its course from the beginning, and on balance,

    Freud must be regarded as having adopted a constitutional positionconcerning human nature.

    Unchangeability Freud believed that the adult personality isunchangeable that it is shaped by the early childhood experiences. He

    depicted the individual as progressing through a series of psychosexualexperiences and that the adult personality depends on which stages aperson has accomplished or fixated upon.

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    Subjective Freud was one of the theorists that saw persons living in asubjective world of feelings, emotions, perceptions and meanings. Whilehe recognized the private world of an individual as an important part ofpersonality, Freud also considered it as a guide to something else

    objective conditions like traumas, repressions, and universal humandrives.

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    Proactive Freud took the proactive position and is reflected in hisconcept of motivation: the locus of causality for all human behaviour isfound in the energy flowing from the id and its instincts. People do notconsciously generate their own behaviour; rather, the sexual and

    aggressive instincts generate the psychic energy which underlies themultiplicity of human actions. Individuals are not proactive in the fullsense of the term. They are reactive to the extent that their instinctshave external objects that operate as environmental stimuli to elicit theirbehaviour.

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    Homeostatic Freud believed that all human behaviour was regulatedby the tendency to reduce excitations created by unpleasant bodilytensions. The id constantly clamor for expression, and people tend toreduce the tensions generated by this instinctual energy source. Rather

    than seek for tension or excitement, individuals are actually driven toseek a tensionless state of nirvana, reflecting a homeostatic position.

    Knowable Freud committed that the human nature is ultimatelyknowable in scientific terms. For instance, he insisted that people obey

    the same laws of nature as any other organism. Likewise, he views thehuman organism as biologically determined and whose deepestmotivations can be uncovered by the scientifically based techniques ofpsychoanalysis.

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