Many people associate psychology to be synonymous with Sigmund Freud. He undertook extensive studies that supported the notion that not all mental illnesses are caused by psychological factors. He also proved that cultural differences have a significant impact on psychology and behavior. Freud’s work helped in advancing people’s understanding of personality, human development, personality, clinical psychology and abnormal psychology. Other great psychologists in history have used Freud’s work as the foundation of their theories whereas others have developed new theories that dispute his ideas. Therefore, despite the fact that his theories have attracted a raging debate and controversy, his impact in psychology is undeniable (Schimmel, 2013).
Sigmund’s theories were influenced by his experiences. Therefore, to understand the theories, it is vital to undertake an analysis of his life. Sigmund Freud was born on May 6, 1856 in Pribor, Austro-Hungarian Empire, which is not part of Czech Republic. His father was a wool merchant. His parents were struggling financially. They lived in a rented room. Freud joined the University of Vienna when he was 17 years old. He initially planned to study law. However, he joined the medical faculty of the university. Freud’s studies included philosophy, psychology, and zoology under renowned scholars of the era (Reef, 2001).
Freud’s theories were highly were highly influential. They are subject to criticism now and during his lifetime. However, his theories have become intertwined into the contemporary society. Terms such as Freudian slip, denials, and repression, which were proposed by Freud, are common in daily language. Some of the psychologists who have been influenced by Freud include Erik Erikson, Carl Jung, and Alfred Adler.
Freud’s ideas have greatly influenced psychology such that an entire school of thought developed from his work. The ideas have had a significant impact on psychotherapy and psychology. Freud has many published books and articles. Some of his books include “The Future is an Illusion,” “The Interpretation of Dreams,” Totem and Taboo,” and “The Psychopathology of Everyday Life.” The Interpretation of Dreams was his personal favorite book. The book details valuable discoveries he made in his lifetime (Schimmel, 2013). The ideas presented in the book are still used by contemporary psychologists in their daily activities.
Freud is considered as the father of psychoanalysis and the psychodynamic approach to various issues in psychology. The field focuses on how the unconscious mind influences the behavior of people. According to Freud, the human mind was made up of the id, ego, and superego. Id refers to the personality component of an individual. It comprises of unconscious psychic energy that people use to meet their urges and desires. On the other hand, ego refers to the component of personality that helps in mediating between the demands of the superego, id, and reality. It ensures that people achieve a moral balance. Finally, superego refers to the personality of an individual, which is made up from the ideals that the individual has acquired from parents and the society. It strives to suppress urges and strives to make the ego act in a moral manner (Schimmel, 2013).
Talk therapy also helped in the development of talk therapy. He claimed that talking about problems is critical in alleviating them. Discussing the experiences that one has helps in providing relief from the symptoms of the traumatic experiences. Freud made this observation while working with Anna O., a patient.
Despite the fact that people are skeptical about Freud’s works, his works on psychosexual stages dream symbolism, and the unconscious mind are still popular in the contemporary world. Freud based his theories on clinical cases and case studies. This helped in improving the relevance of his studies as the findings could be generalized for a larger population (Reef, 2001).
Erik Erikson is one of the psychologists who was greatly influenced by Freud. He has undertaken extensive studies that have helped in expanding Freud’s theories. He emphasized the importance of growth throughout the lifespan of an individual. Freud used Freud’s theories as a foundation of his most popular theory, the psychosocial stage theory of personality. The theory is vital in the understanding of human development (Reef, 2001).
Various parties have criticized Freud’s theories by claiming that the theories put unnecessary focus on the unconscious mind, and childhood experiences (Westerink, 2009). In addition, they claim that it is difficult to measure and quantify the concepts proposed by Freud. Various parties also claim that Freud used case studies and clinical observations as the basis of his theories instead of empirical, scientific research, which they claim is more accurate.
The field of psychology has made huge strides. Various tools and theories help in treating people. However, it would have been difficult for such advancements to take place were it not for the efforts of Sigmund Freud. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest psychologists in history. His theories are still relevant in the contemporary practice of psychology.
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