Sigmund Freud explored the human psyche and is responsible for developing the theories known as Psychoanalysis. With sexual desire and battles for supremacy at the heart of most of his psychological theories, Freud has as many advocates as critics when it comes to his most fundamental ideas.
1. Impact on World of Mental Health
Freud was consistent in his beliefs of what does and does not constitute the human psyche. His ideas are such that most either agree with his notions or dismiss them completely. Regardless of whether you subscribe to his ideas are not, it is hard to debate the impact that Freud has had in the world of mental health.
Psychoanalysis is what Freud calls his fundamental idea. According to Freud, all humans are born with an unconscious drive towards sexuality and dominance. Freud talks of the struggle that we are all in fighting for supremacy. He blames sexual maladjustments for the erotic desires of men and claims that these desires are with us even in infancy. The Oedipus complex, where a boy loves his mother and hates his father unconsciously, is one of the Freud’s more popular theories.
Freud was more of an inquisitor than a man interested in healing. His studies were focused on explaining why people had the drives that they did rather than finding ways to reverse those drives or reconstruct mental defects.
4. Vienna Psychoanalytic Society
Freud’s psychoanalytic structure distanced him from others in the mainstream of contemporary psychiatry though he was not alone in his theories. Those who were loyal to his ideas formed the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society in 1908.
5. Other Pioneers
Adler and Jung were also pioneers in the study of psychology along with Freud. Although comrades at first, the three men became more and more distanced from each other in their theories. It was Alder who first broke off and developed his own psychology. Jung followed due to irresolvable disagreements that brought the topic of one’s religious beliefs into the context of psychology.
6. Neurasthenics and Dream Interpretation
Freud continued in his study of the mind and discovered that there was still much to be learned in the field of neurasthenics and dream interpretation. He studied his own dreams and was convinced that dreams held some sort of key to understanding the actions and motivations of our reality. Self-analysis then became his focus.
Freud was engrossed in his self-analysis because he could make observations without threat of outside opinions or opponents. He made up the rules as he went and eventually made a name for himself in the practice of dream interpretation.
8. The Interpretation of Dreams
Freud wrote a book entitled, The Interpretation of Dreams. This book was part dream analysis and part autobiography as he was the subject of most of the patient analysis that took place in the book. It was in this book that he explained how everything has meaning. Just as a Freudian slip now means that any slip of the tongue must have happened because there was some truth in your statement.
9. Psychoanalytic Therapy
Psychoanalytic therapy thus encourages the patient to talk freely. To let any thoughts, no matter how random or seemingly inappropriate, be verbalized. The psychologist is then responsible for interjecting his thoughts and recommendations as well as his observation of what the patient is really trying to say.
10. Denouncing Religion
Freud himself denounced religion as he could not see how faith and scientific inquiry could co-exist honestly. To him, faith was an institution established in order to stifle the natural born erotic desires that we have.