Sigmund Freud was born, Sigismundo Schlomo Freud in Pribor or Freiberg, in Moravia which used to be part of the Austrian Empire, now known as Czech Republic. It was on May 6, 1856 that he became the first born to a wool merchant (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigmund_Freud). Later, seven more children were born to this Jewish family of modest means. Freud was four when they traveled to Vienna to transfer there. Very little actually was known about his growing up years because Freud himself ruined his personal papers two times (in 1885 and in 1907) during the times when he was just starting (www.psychology.about.com).
The good thing with his parents was that they tried hard to encourage and develop Freud in his intellectual capacity; he showed he was a very intelligent child right from an early age. This was evident when he emerged top in his class for six of his eight years in school. It was at age seventeen that he went to the University of Vienna between 1873 up to 1881(www.psychology.about.com).
In the year 1885, Freud attended school under a Jean Martin Charcot who was then a famous neurologist in Paris. Charcot became known for the medical condition hysteria which was treated with hypnosis. Later, under the tutelage of a friend Dr. Josef Breuer, Freud had developed gradually his theoretical perspectives. Anna O, a patient was known to be Freud’s case study to work on testing and using hypnosis and catharsis in the duration of the practice with Dr. Breuer. In 1886, Freud came home to Vienna to start working with patients suffering hysteria. With the practice, he slowly came to develop his own system of understanding, explaining and treating hysterical patients and which had become the thesis for his theory and treatment of mental illness. It was during this time that he started to use the term psychoanalysis for both. Doctors did not like his ideas when Freud presented them in the 1890’s. But then on, Freud started to draw attention to himself and his ideas which eventually catapulted him to international renown. He lost Adler and Jung, two ardent followers, in due course. At this time, he had no fixed ideas yet regarding the kind and scope of the development of his theory and treatment; he constantly changed his theories until in 1923, he published a newly improved previous earlier versions of these theories. Around this time Freud came to know that he had mouth cancer and work became hard with the disease. In 1938, Freud fled to England when Hitler’s Germany came to conquer Austria (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigmund_Freud). With his wife and daughter Anna, England now became their home. Freud died from morphine overdose assisted by his doctor because of his cancer illness. Freud left an enduring legacy despite critiques on the methodology he used to obtain his data. Testing his theories, many critics took the ideas and procedures that Freud made as unscientific. His contributions to the world of psychology were immense specially that he made a very controversial theory and treatment approach. He presented the world a psychosexual stages theory which had been one of the most notorious in his day and age. Despite this fact, today, many still follow Freudian psychoanalysis (www.psychology.about.com).
Photo: Courtesy of Wikipedia Encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigmund_Freud
Psychoanalysis has the unconscious mind as its basic concept that Freud worked on. With it, he also introduced repression. Concepts like libido and mortido comprised among his many innovative ideas. He treated patients using transference and became very much interested in dreams as entry points into understanding the unconscious. Freud had since then became recognized as the father of psychoanalysis, with additional concepts incorporated in his evolving theory. He pointed to such philosophical concepts as defense mechanism, Freudian slips and dream symbolism as part of the whole psyche of the human individual. He contributed largely to other disciplines like literary criticism, Marxist and feminist theories, in philosophy and in psychology. His influence is comprehensive due to the fact that he was able to introduce a theory of the mind and a theory also of human behavior. Add to that, Freud had developed his system of treatment, his clinical method to assist in the cure for neurotics (www. Esterson.org/Mythologizing_psychoanalitic_history.htm).
Freud on the Austrian 50-Schilling Note from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigmund_Freud
Today, many psychotherapists have modified what Freud innovatively started. What branched out from his following is now called the Neo-Freudian school of thought. Psychoanalysis, as a psychological perspective in understanding human mind and behavior, is still an influence even today. His position on the early influences in the home life and upbringing of a child and their effects on development of the personality is still very much used today in psychology and in education essentially (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigmund_Freud). However, then and now, Freud’s critics had not ceased to examine and evaluate his work. In the 1970s, a lot of mental health practitioners and experts in the field strongly attacked Freud’s works. For instance, the Feminist movements focused on Freud’s alleged implications in his theories that women are inferior to men in some aspects. Another is the question on his idea that some patients’ memory of chidlhood sexual abuse was actually more likely fantasies than authentic sex abuse experiences. Moreover, he also failed to cite many times his sources for his thinking (by Katz, 2004 on Silverstein, Barry,as accessed in www. Division39.org). With these challenges on Freudian theory, many practitioners now look and utilize his concepts objectively and sensibly (www.a2zpsychology.com).
Psychoanalysis is a system of psychology directed toward the understanding, cure and prevention of mental disorders. As conceived by Sigmund Freud, psychoanalysis is a dynamic system of psychology which seeks the roots of human behavior in unconscious motivation of conflict (Morris et al., 1999, p.14). Literature reveals how psychoanalysis is extensively utilized in virtually many fields today. Whether reel or real, almost a greater part who applied Freudian theory, never dug deeper into examining his claims or those counter claims regarding his methods and concepts. However, because of its appeal, its controversiality, and popularity, they maintain to be in continued use.
Police work is no exception. Themes in movies more often depict Freudian ideas in the suspense thrillers that abound today. These thrillers have become successful formulas for very bankable films because the element of surprise on the workings of the criminal mind is very appealing. According to Psychoanalysis Beyond the Couch author Joyce Edward, psychoanalysis influence is actually more than what occurs in the client and therapist setting. She said that in more ways than one, psychoanalytic concepts are being appropriated in various settings such as schools, police stations, courtrooms and even in diplomatic relations. She also explained that one of those who implemented psychoanalytic ideas in this kind of work was Aichorn, one of the few people who last worked with Freud. Freud even gave a foreword on Aichorn’s “Wayward Youth (1926) book. Aichorn started a “Training School Program” for juvenile delinquents in which he emphasized the role of unconscious motives influencing the youth’s commission of crimes (www.youradvocateonline.com). Juvenile work is one of the major applications of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy in the country today. Police work has benefited due to the understanding of juvenile behavior and the precursors to criminal activities in the youth and even children.
In Police and Mental Professional, Collaborative Responses to the impact of Violence on Children and Families study, clinicians in collaboration with police officers have “developed a common language for assessing and responding to the needs of children and families who have been exposed to or involved in violence (Marans et al., 1998).” With work that mental health professionals do in helping with interventions and treatments, police officers gained deeper understanding on the behavior and mind of the youth in delinquent activities. Their first hand experience with these professionals enabled them to develop intervention programs to assess, treat and prevent the increase of juvenile youth crimes. Findings in this study showed that there was a marked decrease in crimes in the inner city areas that the collaboration was made; in fact, it has become a model for other projects in other inner cities to follow. Other works include the “police-mental health program for children exposed to violence” by Murphy et al (2005) and “Psychoanalysis on the Beat. Children, Police and urban trauma” (Marans, 1996) which clearly illustrate the impact of Freud’s system of theory in the field.
1. Edward, Joyce. Beyond the couch.www.youradvocateonline.com.
2. Marans, S, Berkowitz, SJ, Cohen, DJ. 1998. Police and mental health professionals. Collaborative responses to the impact of violence on children and families, Child Adolescent Psychiatric Clin N Am.;7(3):635- 51.
3. Morris, Charles G., and Maisto Albert A., 1999. Understanding Psychology 4th Ed. Prentice Hall. New Jersey.