Biography Of Sigmund Freud Essay

3131 words - 13 pages

Sigmund Freud has been heralded as one of the greatest thinkers of the twentieth century. He is renowned for his discoveries about the human mind, particularly dreams, fantasies, and the role of the unconscious. Even though many of his theories were (and are) viewed as controversial, his ideas revolutionized the way people think about themselves. The potency of his notions have permeated almost every discipline, including literature, art, and medicine. This paper will examine the life, the influences, and the impact of Sigmund Freud. It will begin by discussing who he is, his personal history, and then talk about his role in the development of psychoanalysis. Next it will ...view middle of the document...

Freud then moved on to focus on studying neurology. Freud graduated as a doctor of medicine in 1881, and began working at the Vienna General Hospital (Thornton, n.d.). His plan at Vienna’s hospital was to obtain the experience needed to treat actual patients so as to eventually start a successful private practice. Freud began working as an entry-level laboratory assistant, eventually working his way up to the department of psychiatry (Gay, 1989). It was here where his interest in neurophysiology thrived, and he developed an interest in working with a mental illness known as hysteria, a nervous disorder in which patients experienced physical symptoms but had no underlying physical disease (Kumar, Aslinia, Yale, & Mazza, 2011). Mental illness was the backwater of nineteenth century medicine, both in terms of understanding and treatment. During this time, mental illness was thought to be of physical origin, such as a lesion on the brain or nerve damage (Leahey, 2013). For this reason, Freud’s focus of mental illness of being psychologically derived versus medical was the new approach.
In 1885, Freud received a grant to work with psychiatrist and neurology specialist Jean-Martin Charcot at Paris's Salpêtrière Mental Hospital. Charcot (who will be discussed further in later sections) also had an avid interest in hysteria. He provided Freud with new insights into hysteria through his ideas, particularly through the use of hypnosis (McLeod, 2009). Freud worked with Charcot until 1886, and then moved back to Vienna to marry his fiancé of four-years, Martha Bernays, with whom he had six children (Crosskurth, 1991).
It was at this time he continued his work with mental illness, setting up his own private practice out of his home in which he specialized in treating disorders of the nervous system and brain disorders. In 1903, he also took on a position as a professor of neuropathology at his alma mater, the University of Vienna. It was during these years as a physician and teacher where Freud fostered the development of his theories of the human mind and behavior, as well as a clinical technique to help reduce human suffering. He published over thirty books, along with hundreds of essays and compositions. All of Freud’s works, ideas, and techniques led to the development of his theory of psychoanalysis (Gay, 1989).
Paul Larson (2002) proposes a model of understanding peoples’ roles, contexts, interests, and activities. This model helps define said factors through categorizing individuals into certain archetypes. Given the aforementioned information presented about Freud, one can see that he has taken on many roles throughout his career. As a result, he falls under more than one archetype. The first archetype befitting to Freud is that of the Scientist. According to Larson, the archetype of the scientist materialized in the sixteenth century with the development of astronomy and physics, and later became more solidified as the...

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