Sigmund Freud Essay

949 words - 4 pages

Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud, physiologist, medical doctor, psychologist and father of psychoanalysis, is recognized as one of the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century. As the originator of psychoanalysis, Freud distinguished himself as an intellectual giant. He invented new techniques and for understanding human behavior, his efforts resulted in one of the most comprehensive theories of psychology developed.
Freud was born May 6, 1856 in Freiberg in Moravia (what is now Czechoslovakia) to his Jewish parents, his father Jacob who was a wool merchant and his mother Amalia Nathansohn. His father Jacob was 20 years older than, Amalia, Freud's mother and Freud had to older brothers from his father's previous marriage. Sigmund Freud was born Scholomo Sigismund due to increased anti-Semitism he changed his name in 1878. Freud was the firstborn in a Viennese family of three boys and five girls. When he was four, his family moved to Vienna were he spent the rest of his life. Although Freud's family had limited funds and a small apartment, his parents made every effort to fuel his intellectual genius. Although he had many interests, because of his Jewish background his fields of choice were limited.
At the age of 17, he began to study medicine at the University of Vienna. After graduating in 1882, he joined the staff of the Vienna General Hospital, specializing in neurology. He studied in Paris (1883-5) under Jean Martin Charcot, and it was there that he changed from neurology to psychopathology, the branch of psychology that deals with the abnormal workings of the mind. Working with the Austrian neurologist Josef Breuer in the treatment of hysteria by recalling of painful experiences under hypnosis. In 1893, Freud and Breuer wrote Studies of Hysteria, which marked the beginning of psychoanalysis. Shortly afterwards he met a young woman, Martha Bernys, whom he eventually married. Freud and Martha gave birth to six children, the youngest of whom, Anna, was herself to become a distinguished psychoanalyst and founder of child psychoanalysis. Freud set up a private practice to treat psychological disorders and gave him much material which he based some of his theories. At first, Freud's theories shocked some of his colleagues. Some of Freud's most creative work came at a time when he was experiencing severe emotional problems of his own. When he was forty he had numerous psychosomatic disorders, such as exaggerated fears of dying and other phobias. Freud continued to study and attracted support from few people such as Jung and Adler who were themselves to make major contributions to the school of psychoanalysis. Because of his controversial work, when Nazi storm troopers invaded the city in 1938, Freud was arrested in his home and held captive until his unsold books were...

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