What comes into your mind when you think of Psychology? Probably a bearded guy with glasses seated right in front of a couch. Not any ordinary couch though. A couch that looks typically like the ones in a therapists office. If you imagine these things when someone mentions Psychology then you are more aware of Father of classic Psychoanalysis than you think.
Sigmund Freud, aka “Professor Extraordinarius”, was born on May 6, 1856 in Frieburg, a small town in Moravia which is currently part of Czech republic. Although he is known to everyone as Sigmund Freud, his original name was Sigismund Schlomo Freud. His family moved to Austria when he was four years old and lived there till the Nazis overran Austria. He spent most of his life in Vienna where he got admission in university of Vienna at age 17. Following medical school he specialized in neurology and studied for a year in Paris.
Since he first took interest in Psychoanalysis in 1887 and till his death in 1939, Freud presented many theories regarding the human mind most notably Topographical model of the mind, instinct or drive theory, theory of psycho-sexual development, structural theory of mind, theory of anxiety and classical psychoanalytical theory of Neuroses. Freud improved the old method of catharsis by introducing the free association method. Catharsis raised problems like resistance by the patient and repression of certain memories i.e process of exclusion of distressing material from the mind. Free association proved to be one of the best methods of therapy as it invited the patients to say whatever came into their minds without even censoring their thoughts. Freud became aware of the significance of dreams when he noted that his patients frequently described their dreams during therapy sessions. Hence this lead to the appearance of one of his most monumental works “The interpretation of dreams”. In this Freud asserted that a dream is the disguised fulfillment of an unconscious childhood wish that is not readily accessible to conscious awareness in waking life.
Although some of his theories have been rejected later after his death but no one can deny Freud’s role in laying the foundation of modern Field of Psychology, Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. Freud’s most controversial essays i.e three essays on the theory of sexuality sparked great adversity between him and other psychologists and scientists. This theory was rejected after further scientific research. These essays and his theory on psycho-sexual development resulted him in being labeled a pervert fanatic by his colleagues and other personnel . Freud was never awarded the Nobel prize on his achievements in the development of the field of Psychology Because at that time most of the scientists didn’t consider the school of psychology to be a real science and that psychologists aren’t really scientists.
Freud quietly died (aged 83) at three in the morning of September 23, 1939, 77 years ago in London. It was an assisted death through lethal dose of morphine.