ALPHABETICAL BRAIN™ VOCABULARY
#6 of 100 MOST INFLUENTIAL SCIENTISTS
#6 SIGMUND FREUD
Life Dates: 1856-1939
PSYCHOLOGY OF THE UNCONSCIOUS
Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist, now known as the Father of Psychoanalysis. Freud qualified as a doctor of medicine at the University of Vienna in 1881, and then carried out research into cerebral palsy, aphasia and microscopic neuroanatomy at the Vienna General Hospital.
Upon completing his habilitation in 1885, Freud was appointed a docent in neuropathology in the same year and became an affiliated professor (professor extraordinarius) in 1902.
In creating psychoanalysis, a clinical method for treating psychopathology through dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst, Freud developed therapeutic techniques such as the use of "free association" and he discovered the phenomenon of "transference," thus establishing its central role in the psychoanalytic process.
Freud's redefinition of sexuality to include its infantile forms led him to formulate the Oedipus complex as the central tenet of psychoanalytical theory, but now largely ignored by cognitive therapies.
His analysis of dreams as "wish-fulfillments" provided him with models for the clinical analysis of symptom formation and the mechanisms of repression as well as his theoretical elaboration of the "unconscious" as a brain function that can be disruptive of conscious states of mind.
Freud assumed the existence of the "libido," a type of sexual energy with which mental functions are invested and which generates erotic attachments. Also he assumed that a "death drive" was the source of repetition, hate, aggression and neurotic guilt. Simply stated, he believed there was competition between the life drive (eros) and the death drive (thanatos).
In his later work Freud developed a wide-ranging interpretation and critique of religion and culture.
Psychoanalysis remains influential within some areas of psychiatry, and across the humanities where science is not understood. As such, it continues to generate extensive and highly contested debate with regard to its therapeutic effectiveness, its scientific status, and whether it advances or is detrimental to feminism and women's rights.
Nonetheless, Freud's work has been influential, especially in contemporary 20th century Western thought and popular culture.
The Scientific 100 by John Simmons (33-39); Britannica Encyclopedia; and Wikipedia.
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