The Idea of Psychoanalysis – Sigmund Freud

In the following paper, the reader will grasp the idea of psychoanalysis with the history, as well as examples of Freud’s own psychoanalytic work. Also, the examples of Freud’s own technique of psychoanalysis. Sigmund Freud’s revolutionary ideas have set the standard for modern psychoanalysis in which students of psychology can learn from his ideas spread from the field of medicine to daily living. His studies in areas such as unconsciousness, dreams, sexuality, the Oedipus complex, and sexual maladjustments laid the foundation for future studies. In result, better understanding of the small things which shape our lives (Jung).

Psycho-Analysis is the name of a procedure for the investigation of mental processes which are almost inaccessible in any other way, of a method (based upon that investigation) for the treatment of neurotic disorders and of a collection of psychological information obtained along those lines, which is gradually being accumulated into a new scientific discipline (Freud). Psychoanalysis is used still to this day, because of its appreciation of so many great psychologists. From 1885 to 1886, Freud spent nineteen weeks with Jean Martin

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Charcot, a world famous neurologist and the director of a Paris asylum. It was Charcot that first introduced Freud to the idea of hysteria and hysterics. Freud became intrigued by the idea of hypnotism as a method of therapy, but he was told that only hysterics could be treated with hypnotism. There was a firm belief that only women could be hysteric and that no man or non- hysteric woman could be affected by the use of hypnotism (Appignanesi). Freud knew that hysteria could only develop where there is a degeneration of the brain, not just with women but with men too and that hypnotism could have an effect on normal people (Jung). Freud was on to something and developed his own creations.

His subsequent writings were devoted entirely to that field, which he had named psychoanalysis in 1896 (Jung). The work was presented in 1893 in a preliminary paper and two years later in an expanded form under the title “Studies on Hysteria” (Appignanesi). In this work, the symptoms of hysteria were ascribed to manifestations of undischarged emotional energy associated with forgotten psychic traumas (Freud). The therapeutic procedure involved the use of a hypnotic state in which the patient was led to recall and reenact the traumatic experience, which could help solve the problem (Freud). The publication of this work marked the beginning of psychoanalytic theory formulated on the basis of clinical observations.

During the period from 1895 to 1900 Freud developed many of the concepts that were later incorporated into psychoanalytic practice and doctrine (Jung). Soon after publishing the studies on hysteria he abandoned the use of hypnosis as a cathartic procedure and substituted the investigation of the patient’s spontaneous flow of thoughts, called free association, to reveal the unconscious mental processes at the root of the neurotic disturbance (“Freud Archives”). This method encouraged the patient to express any random thoughts that came to the mind, which promoted a “stream of consciousness” that helped tap into the unconsciousness (Freud).

The material that the patient said in this stream of consciousness was a link to the ideas of the unconscious mind that was normally hidden, forgotten or “unavailable to conscious reflection” (Freud). Unlike his companion Charcot, Freud believed that based on his clinical studies, some mental disorders like hysteria were based on sexual manner. For example, Freud linked “the etiology of neurotic symptoms to the same struggle between a sexual feeling or urge and the psychic defenses against it” (Gay). He felt that being able to talk about such problems were crucial in helping the patient and using free association was the best way to confront and treat these feelings.

In his clinical observations Freud found evidence for the mental mechanisms of repression and resistance. He described repression as a device operating unconsciously to make the memory of painful or threatening events inaccessible to the conscious mind (Appignanesi). Resistance is defined as the unconscious defense against awareness of repressed experiences in order to avoid the resulting anxiety (Freud). He traced the operation of unconscious processes, using the free associations of the patient to guide him in the interpretation of dreams and slips of speech.

He also developed the theory of transference, the process by which emotional attitudes, established originally toward parental figures in childhood, are transferred in later life to others (Jung). The end of this period was marked by Freud’s most important work, The Interpretation of Dreams in 1900. Here Freud analyzed many of his own dreams recorded in the 3-year period of his self-analysis, begun in 1897 (“Freud: Interpretation Of Dreams”). This work expounds all the fundamental concepts underlying psychoanalytic technique and doctrine (Freud).

In 1902 Freud was appointed a full professor at the University of Vienna. This honor was granted not in recognition of his contributions but as a result of the efforts of a highly influential patient (“Freud”). The medical world still regarded his work with hostility (“Freud”). As a result, Freud continued to work virtually alone in what he called “splendid isolation.” In 1904, Sigmund Freud published the book, The Psychopathology of Everyday Life which explored everyday errors in speech, which he believed were of interpretable importance (Appignanesi). These “Freudian slip’s” were contrasted dreams in the sense that they can arise from immediate hostile, jealous, or egotistic causes. Just one year after publishing his book on psychopathology in everyday situations, Freud published Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious (Appignanesi).

In this book, Freud compared jokes to dreams in the sense that like dreams, jokes had a double sided meaning(“Freud”). What he meant by this was, jokes were formed in the conscious, but had a base in the unconscious mind (“Freud”). Such ideas like jokes and their relation to the unconscious are extremely fascinating because of their significance to what people really are. In addition to publishing a book on jokes in 1905, Freud published Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality. This book established Freud and some of his associates Richard von Kraft-Ebing, Havelock Ellis, Albert Moll, and Iwan Bloch as the “pioneering experts of sexology” (Gay). Sexual development starting young children, along with the ease of maladjustment in sexual development were the main basis of this publication (Freud). Freud stated that sexuality was of importance in human behavior.

Sigmund Freud outlined three stages of the sexual development of children: First, the oral phase plants the seed of the mother being a love object because of breast feeding. The mother is the first love object for he child.Second, the anal phase, occurs second because of the introduction to toilet training (Gay). This stage is especially important because the skill of self-control is put upon the child. As the child develops, it can distinguish that defecation is pleasurable, and must be controlled (Gay). Third is the phallic stage, which is the final stage of sexual development. Freud based it on the story of Oedipus Rex (Appignanesi). Oedipus Rex is a Greek story about a man killing his father and marrying his mother. When they learn that they cannot “possess” their mothers because their rivals are bigger and stronger, they fear that their fathers will punish them for feeling this way by castrating them (Gay). Boys get over the Oedipus Complex rather quickly. They seek a new love interest and identify with the father.

Freud’s ingenious development of the three stage way that children form their sexual identities, allows parents to have a better understanding of what their children are going through, and the importance of small things in life like toilet training and it’s relation to controlling the pleasures of every day life (Jung). Through the studies that Sigmund Freud conducted in sexology, he later pondered the reason in which homosexuals develop. After studying for a time he concluded that due to possible trauma as children-such as sexual abuse-,homosexuals could have been forced in the wrong direction (Gay). This maladjustment forces a perversion into the person which the libido,the mind’s energy and the person’s sexual drive, takes over in the form of an obsession. He moved on after completing his final sexual questions.

By 1906 a small number of pupils and followers had gathered around Freud, including the Austrian psychiatrist William Stekel and Alfred Adler, the Austrian psychologist Otto Rank, the American psychiatrist Abraham Brill, and the Swiss psychiatrists Eugen Bleuler and Carl Jung (Appignanesi). Other notable associates, who joined the circle in 1908, were the Hungarian psychiatrist Sándor Ferenczi and the British psychiatrist Ernest Jones (“Freud”). Increasing recognition of the psychoanalytic movement made possible the formation in 1910 of a worldwide organization called the International Psychoanalytic Association (Freud). Freudians was their political name (“Freud”).

As the movement spread, gaining new adherents through Europe and the U.S., Freud was troubled by the dissension that arose among members of his original circle (Jung). “Most disturbing were the defections from the group of Adler and Jung, each of whom developed a different theoretical basis for disagreement with my emphasis on the sexual origin of neurosis” (Freud). Freud met these setbacks by developing further his basic concepts and by elaborating his own views in many publications and lectures.

After the onset of World War I Freud devoted little time to clinical observation and concentrated on the application of his theories to the interpretation of religion, mythology, art, and literature (Appignanesi). Afterwards, he went on with psychoanalysis. In 1923 Freud published the book, The Ego and the Id (Leland). He split up the human psyche into three different forms: The Id was the first and represented the primitive urges of children and which were based centrally on the desire for pleasure (Leland). The ego is considered to be the guide for reality and changes with the situation that the person is in. The super-ego is related to the Id in the sense that it is based in feelings of the past and it provides an outlet for a person’s aggressions (Freud).

Freud created an entirely new approach to the understanding of human personality by his demonstration of the existence and force of the unconscious (Jung). In addition, he founded a new medical discipline and formulated basic therapeutic procedures that in modified form are applied widely in the present-day treatment of neuroses and psychoses. One of Freud’s greatest contributions to society was his expertise in the field of sexology. Because of his work, Freud introduced away to people which allows them to understand how they were brought up and allows them to figure out the best way to bring up their own children (“APSAA”). Also, Freud’s discoveries in sexual problems and perversions allow people to have a greater understanding of what makes people do the things that they do. Sigmund Freud’s work can have an effect on all people’s lives if they know what his has done and if they take a moment to analyze their own lives.

Sigmund Freud laid the foundation for modern psychoanalysis so that students of psychology could study and expand on his ideas (“APSAA”). His ideas were ground-breaking and were not like anything that anyone had ever heard of. Although never accorded full recognition during his lifetime, Freud is generally acknowledged as one of the great creative minds of modern times (Leland). All of his ideas can be directly related back to people and applied to everyday life. Because of Freud, people can step back and look at exactly what their thoughts mean and what their mind is trying to tell them.

In all the examples in which Freud psychoanalyzed, he went through a particular system. He chose the best way to manipulate every psychological move. In any psychologist, they have their own way of dealing with the troubled. They have work so many years to find the best curriculum to go through. In result, psychologists use their own psychoanalysis. “I am actually not a man of science at all … I am nothing but a conquistador by temperament, an adventurer” (Freud).


  1. American Psychoanalytic Association. (Online). Available
  2. Appignanesi, Richard. Freud For Beginners. USA: Pantheon Books,1990.
  3. Gay, Micheal. Freud’s Theory On Sexuality. New York: Manitoba Publishing, 1993.
  4. Freud Archives.(Online).
  5. Freud’s Interpretation Of Dreams. (Online).
  6. “Freud, Sigmund.” Past Biography. 1995 ed.
  7. Freud, Sigmund. A General Introduction Of Psychoanalysis. New York: Boni and Liveright, 1992.
  8. Freud, Sigmund. New Introductory Lectures On Psychoanalysis. London: Hogarth Press, 1937.
  9. Freud, Sigmund. The Writings of Sigmund Freud. New York: Running Press, 1995.
  10. Jung, Carl Gustav. Translated by R.F. Hall. Freud and Psychoanalysis. USA: Princeton Publishing, 1961.
  11. Leland, John. “Ego’s and ID’s: What Does It All Mean?” Newsweek 12 October 1998.


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