Originally, Sigismund Schlomo Freud, Sigmund Freud was born on May 6, 1856 in Freiberg, Moravia, Austria. His father, Jacob, is a former widower and a Jewish merchant. His mother, Amalia, is the second wife of Jacob. Freud is the first born, among the eight children of Jacob and Amalia. He is the favorite child of his parents; thus, giving him all the educational opportunities. He attended high school at Leopoldstadter Communal-Real-und Obergymnasium, where he already exhibited excellent intellectual prowess. At the age of four, his family moved to Vienna, where Freud would spend most of his life. In 1881, he graduated from the University of Vienna with a degree in medicine. He then worked as a research assistant focusing on neurology at the Institute of Physiology from 1876 to 1882. In 1885, he obtained a one-year scholarship at the "Salpetriere" in Paris, and in 1886, he opened his first neurologist's office in Vienna, Rathausstrasse. During his scholarship, he became interested in hysteria, that is a disorder which usually afflicted women. It was also during this year that he married Martha Bernays with whom he sired six children. Freud became a professor in neuropathology at the University of Vienna from 1902 to 1938. He devoted his life developing theories in human psychology, particularly in the area of psychoanalysis. Freud died in London on September 23, 1939 at the age of 83 due to a physician-assisted morphine overdose.
Foremost among the theories that Freud developed was his Theory of Dreams. In this theory, he contends that dreams contain both manifest and latent content. The manifest contents are those which a person remembers when he wakes up while the latent contents are the unconscious desires. According to Freud, dreams are a person’s unconscious wishes in disguise. In his Dream Theory, Freud cites that a major function of a dream is to fulfill one’s wishes. He also developed universal symbols of dreams.
In 1923, Freud developed his theory of the structural model of the mind. He mentioned that the mind is psychic apparatus which contains the id, ego and super ego. The id is composed of two biological instincts namely the Eros or life instinct and the Thanatos or death instinct. The ego, on the other hand deals with the reality principle, specifically the conscious and unconscious mind. The morality principle is the focus of the super ego. In this theory, Freud also talks about defense mechanisms of the ego to prevent anxiety. These defense mechanisms are repression, denial, projection, displacement, regression and sublimation. When threatening thoughts are directed towards the unconscious mind, the defense mechanism applied is repression. Denial is the refusal of an individual to accept the situation. A person who attributes his undesirable thoughts or emotions to another person is using projection as his defense mechanism. Displacement is when an individual turns to another object to satisfy his impulse. A person who is stressed may choose to go back in time and use regression as a defense mechanism. Sublimation is when an impulse is satisfied in an acceptable manner through a substitute object.
One of the most controversial theories of Freud is his theory of psychosexual stages of development that states that every child born has a libido. According to Freud, depending on which stage the child is in, he will seek pleasure from different objects. These different stages are oral, anal, phallic, latent and genital. Oral involves the mouth, while the anal involves the anus. The phallic is concerned with the penis or clitoris. Latent deals with little or no sexual motivation, while the genital is concerned with sexual intercourse. Freud points out that a person may suffer from a mental abnormality unless each stage is completed. . This theory state that the experiences during childhood have an effect on the personality as an adult. The popular term “Oedipus Complex” was used by Freud in this theory. He described Oedipus Complex as a little boy’s fixation towards his own mother, being attached to her emotionally and sexually. They view their own fathers as their rivals for their mother’s attention. In the same way, a daughter’s desire for his father and jealousy towards her mother is known as the “Electra complex”.
Freud wrote several books that embodied the theories he developed. These books are The Interpretation of Dreams (1900), The Psychopathology of Everyday Life (1901), Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905), Totem and Taboo (1913 on the prohibition of incest), On Narcissism (1914), Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920), The Ego and the Id (1923 on structural theory of the mind), The Future of an Illusion (1927, analysis of religion), Civilization and Its Discontents (1929), and Moses and Monotheism (1939).
Freud still received recognition in the field of psychology, although his critics claim that his researches are based on unrepresentative samples and that his interpretations are biased, . In 1930, he was awarded the Goethe Prize for Literature. To this day, he is considered as the originator of psychoanalysis and Father of modern psychology.
Biography.com. "Sigmund Freud." 2014. biography.com. Web. 14 April 2014 <http://www.biography.com/people/sigmund-freud-9302400#synopsis&awesm=~oBo3VVSqaCIXGZ>.
Cherry, Kendra. "The interpretation of dreams by Sigmund Freud." 2014. psychology.about.com. Web. 14 April 2014 <http://psychology.about.com/od/sigmundfreud/gr/interpretation.htm>.
McLeod, Saul. "Sigmund Freud." 2013. simplypsychology.org. 14 April 2014 <http://www.simplypsychology.org/Sigmund-Freud.html>.
Rana, Himmat. "Sigmund Freud." May 1997. muskingum.edu. Web. 14 April 2014 <http://www.muskingum.edu/~psych/psycweb/history/freud.htm>.
Soylent Communications. "Sigmund Freud." 2014. nndb.com. Web. 14 April 2014 <http://www.nndb.com/people/736/000029649/>.