Sigmund Freud is an Austrian neurologist, considered to be the father of psychoanalysis. “I began my professional activity trying to relieve neurotic patients, I discovered very important data about the unconscious” were the few words of my own recorded in the history of Sigmund Freud.
Freud managed to advance in the fields of clinical observation to explain the behavior of men, while he was questioned by the practices he carried out. A man who was controversial for his time, his Jewish condition did not allow him to develop freely, but it was precisely this rejection of his religion that would allow human history to develop one of the most important writers and thinkers of the 20th century.
However, he was considered a person who wrote atrocities, insulted the family tradition and was even considered depraved and mentally ill for his theories. Here is the history and life of Sigmund Freud and how he became the father of psychoanalysis.
Who is Sigmund Freud?
Sigmund Freud is a neurologist of Jewish origin. His research gave way to psychoanalysis and he coined several scientific terms during his 83 years of life, since from his early years as a child he learned to speak several languages and studied the behavior of his parents and how his older brothers related.
Freud was passionate about his work, he coined several psychoanalytic terms used today, he was a leading man in his field and he revolutionized the concept of sexual libido, sex, dream analysis, the unconscious and other sensitive terms for his time.
He is considered the father of psychoanalysis, he wrote several books that are used today to study the foundations of psychoanalysis and all the concepts that he coined throughout his career. His books were not accepted in the early part of his career, but with the arrival of his works in the West, they took on an important value for the nascent psychological study of the twentieth century.
Sigmund Freud Biography
Since he was a child, he did not share games or external motivations. He was a child who even ate in his room and was pleased by his parents. This was earned by his excellent grades in school and even Freud’s parents removed anything from their home that made noise or caused disturbance in Sigmund.
However, the curious thing about his childhood was that he kept a log or track of all the dreams he had. He was not just any kind of blog, he was a man who categorized and sought an exact explanation of what could happen once he had these dreams.
Motivated by his surroundings, in 1873 he entered the university at the age of 17 to study medicine in Vienna, a career that would allow him to earn enough money to be able to support his first girlfriend. During his time, he did several investigations related to the sexual organs of eels and the nervous systems of fish.
Sigmund Freud applied several times to be a scientist, however, being Jewish he was not allowed to be part of this select group, despite being a promise in his area. It was the beginning of 1882 when Freud fell in love with Martha Bernays, looked for a way to earn a living and be able to visit her, since she lived in Germany and for 4 years, he only saw her six times, but he wrote her more than 900 letters of intense and passionate love.
His studies on cocaine
Much of Sigmund Freud’s biography is based on his early studies on cocaine that are part of the discovery of psychoanalysis. But it was in 1884 when when he began his studies on cocaine, he publicly recommended its use as a therapeutic treatment.
However, he was ignorant of the addictive properties and even sent 5 grams to Martha Bernays to be divided into 5 doses. This was recorded in the letters he sent her to Germany and in a romantic and sexual touch, he told her that when he visited her, her entire body would be covered with cocaine for her. However, years later it was known that Freud used it occasionally, therefore, he was never an addicted man and he was unaware that this self-control was not easy for everyone.
Although he began to be publicly questioned by his colleagues, Sigmund Freud used and studied cocaine until 1895, when he departed from this field.
Precisely, he worked as another general practitioner in the Vienna hospital. His field of action was nervous diseases, hysterics and other disorders, chosen to work not as a form of study, but because nobody wanted this field and the places to fill them were available and Freud needed the money to marry Martha Bernays.
During the 19th century there were no studies related to mental illnesses. These were not understood by the doctors of the time and even their treatments included simply bathing the sick with cold water, beating them or subjecting them to a lot of stress with chains and abuse.
Sigmund Freud and the Origin of Psychoanalysis
The terms discovered by Sigmund Freud were the ones that started modern psychoanalysis. Jean Martin Charcot sowed the first theories of psychoanalysis, but his ideas were transferred and explained by himself to Freud, since he considered that he would be the man who would develop his theories.
Jean Martin Charcot and Sigmund Freud discussed the term “The Second Mind.” That place where all the information and an idea were stored could cause illness. Charcot showed and taught the way of hypnosis to Freud, giving him as the main tool that a patient in a hypnotic state was capable of receiving an idea that the hypnotist proposed.
Charcot believed that this “second mind” was responsible for mental illnesses, while Freud, as a result of this idea, would call it “the unconscious” and his research would address this scientific term during the following years.
However, it was thanks to Josef Breuer who taught Freud the results of the Cure of Talks, a method that consisted of telling the patient about his illness so that the patient would then reduce his symptoms. The patient to study was Anna O, and after seeing her results and carrying out a series of experiments, Freud coined the concept of transference, which would lay the foundations of psychoanalysis.
Following his research, also I stated that a neurotic nsiedad men was due to contraceptive methods at the time and the inability of a man is sexually satisfied. If you practiced any of these methods, Freud claimed that man would become mentally unstable.
Freud turned these studies into a passion and even abandoned sex for several years to understand many behaviors. However, to understand what occurred throughout the origin of psychoanalysis, it is necessary to explain the details during its investigation.
Sigmund Freud with Charcot: Origin of the Unconscious
During his time at the Vienna General Hospital he found the opportunity to work with Charcot. By then, Charcot was the world’s authority on mental illness knowledge. He used hypnosis as a treatment and this piqued Freud’s interest in Charcot.
To understand the impact, you must remember that Sigmund Freud was a man of science and with higher education, but he was fascinated with Jean Martin Charcot , which caused him to change all his objectives, studies and began to study the psyche of his patients. After years of research on the life of Sigmund Freud, the life-changing phrase heard by Charcot was found “Diseases can be caused by ideas.”
Charcot showed Freud that people in a state of hypnosis were more susceptible to receiving new ideas and reproducing them once awake. What Charcot was looking for was to discover how the mind caused hysterical diseases and what he should attack so that this did not happen again.
Charcot called it “the second mind”, that part of the mind that kept all these diseases. A place where an idea that was reproduced over and over again, would end up making the patient ill and causing mental illness. Charcot called it “the second mind”, while Freud called it and established it as “The unconscious.”
The unconscious was the most important term discovered by Freud, but on April 5, 1886, when he opened his own medical office, it was where he would begin the real studies on this new term.
Influenced by Charcot, he began working on hypnosis. He discovered that it was easier to hypnotize someone when they were lying down and this became the object of study years later, but Freud was interested in working on the theory of the unconscious.
Sigmund Freud with Josef Breuer: Origin of Cure of Talks
The only thing that Sigmund was looking for was that through hypnosis he could reach the second mind. Once in this place, he would find a way to end the hysteria of his patients, using the method of hypnotic suggestion.
Of course, its first beginnings did not give the expected result. Hypnotic suggestion was useless and even Freud used various methods of that time that were not efficient with the intention of reaching what he considered the unconscious.
Magnetism stood out among his applied methods. At one time, Sigmund Freud was considered the magnetizer, because in his practices he managed to pass the symptoms from one part of the body in particular, to another part that did not have them.
However, far from being a frustration, each experiment and treatment he performed on his patients generated new questions, which led Freud to search for answers and found Josef Breuer.
Josef Breuer is a key part of the history of Sigmund Freud, since Josef mentioned to him about a patient, known in psychoanalysis as Anna O and the procedure of the cure of talks.
The Curious Case of Anna O: The Curate of Talks
Anna O was a hysterical patient with the most serious symptoms that this disease could cause. In addition to hysteria, he had contractures, suffered paralysis, and spoke little. Josef Breuer explained to Freud that every time he visited Anna O and began to describe her symptoms and inform her about her illness, the patient’s symptoms began to disappear.
Anna O became the patient with whom the term Cure of talks would be discovered . Josef Breuer laid the foundation for any psychotherapy performed today. But it was Freud who, using what was mentioned by his colleague, began to use the cure of talks in the hypnosis that he performed on his patients.
The Theory of the Unconscious According to Sigmund Freud: Concept of Transference
Once the ideas were clarified for Freud and he put into practice the cure of talks, he began to find unpublished results for his time and that would mark the beginning of Psychoanalysis.
From this point, Freud began to use the talk cure to explain the disease to his patients trying to find the origin of it. Through hypnosis, he began to take his patients a little further from their present to the point of origin of the problem, which caused a discovery that to date impacts psychiatric studies.
The patients studied by Freud demonstrated problems with their childhood related to sex. Freud began to spread the theory that sexually abused people had problems as a result of sexual abuse in their childhood.
Sex became the bottom of the problem and Sigmund Freud quickly discovered the opportunity to investigate this. Female patients began to fall in love with Freud and there is a record written by Sigmund where he assures that several patients passionately kissed him after finishing the medical consultation.
As a result of these investigations, Freud discovered that patients manifested hidden feelings they had towards their parents and even expressed their love constantly, which made the doctor-patient relationship a constant challenge for their investigations. At this point the concept of transference is known , another term discovered by Freud.
On October 23, 1896, Sigmund Freud’s father died. This event changes the course of the history of his studies and would sow the path of psychoanalysis. Freud, a 40-year-old man with the pain of having lost his father, decides to analyze himself. This self-analysis is the first psychologically recorded and would give off several theories for study.
Freud made a journey into his own unconscious. He became the man capable of raising his own defenses and overcoming his own fear. He began to discover the way to overcome his own resistances, fears and analyze his own unconscious. It should be noted, that for this time there was not a single supporting record, Freud simply experimented on himself, with results impossible for this time.
Through self-conducted research and influenced by his constant studies and recommendations by Charcot and Breuer, he created what he called “The Royal Road to the Unconscious,” what dream analysis really meant . I relate this term to free association, which consisted in relating everything to the mind without any limit.
Freud began to go to bed practicing free association after treating all his patients. From this point on, he began to examine himself and included his own dreams in all his studies. Interestingly, she discovered that she wanted to have sex with her mother, kill her sister, and hated her father.
This last link generates more questions than answers to date, since the self-analysis and analysis of dreams began with the pain of the death of his father, a man who later in his records he described as the person he hated the most.
However, Sigmund was a man of studies and I never use these memories as a moral judgment, asking himself questions about the possibility that all children express hatred or love for their parents and how these feelings are part of the development of the human being. At this point the concept of the Oedipus Complex was born .
This research only generated a rejection in society, for the time it was unthinkable that a boy had sexual desires with his mother or a girl with her father. That there was in the mind of a child the desire to kill a member of his family and that all this influenced his formation as a person during the following years.
Thanks to these dream analyzes, Freud overcame a large number of phobias and hysterics, especially the one that did not allow him to travel.
Incest fantasies, planning how to kill someone, re-enacting rivalry with other people, and repressed hatreds were part of Freud’s dream analyzes. The records about his sexual desires with his mother and even the way of murdering his sister, describe the constant self-analysis that was carried out and the way with which he tried to escape from them.
Freud published in 1899 a book known as ” The Interpretation of Dreams “, which was nothing more than all the dreams he had had for four years. All the ideas printed on these pages would revolutionize modern psychoanalysis, but for the next six years, he only managed to sell 300 copies of his work.
During 1900, psychoanalysis began to take its strongest steps. At this time only Jews were those who showed interest in learning about Freud’s theory, since the other part of society considered it a forbidden book.
However, in 1902 it already had a study group. Here the famous Wednesday society was born, which has inspired several films and books about a group of men who were pursued by society who were studying. In this case, the topic of conversation was about Freud’s thinking.
In 1909 he would receive his first distinction, but it was in America that after a series of lectures on his work he received the title of Honoris Causa. Which would describe psychoanalysis as a part of reality and studies of his disciples.
Studies of Freud’s Theory
There are dozens of theories where Freud has sown doubt or wrote about them, however, 5 theories have been part of his work and represent a curiosity today about what he sought to interpret or explain from his writings.
The drive talks about the emotions that never die in people. I detail that there is an effort, a goal, an object and a source through which man moves, however, he describes that there are two conflicting drives that are sexual and self-preservation.
Repression, describes it as a psychic defense mechanism. He divided it into three parts, the primary repression that is related to mood and sexual drive. Then, secondary repression, which describes what can be considered intolerable for the unconscious and finally, the return of the repressed, an obsession that will always remain in man.
The Unconscious is based much of his work, which we explained earlier. He related the repression of emotions and everything that was related to human thought and its development.
The Oedipus complex was something typical of Freud, he considered the behavior and thinking of children as something fundamental in their development. This theory was the most questioned in its time, but today it is one of the most studied.
The pleasure principle , relates the whole life of Sigmund Freud, explains how from the passion and need for pleasure one seeks to achieve fulfillment as a person. Every detail of the unconscious, repression and even the Oedipus complex are part of this, always seeking the satisfaction of the individual.
Curiosities About the Life of Freud
Although he is considered a sexually shy man, his marriage to Martha resulted in 6 children. After the birth of his daughter in 1895, Freud renounced sex for several years.
The greatest social criticism of Freud was that he considered the male sex as a superior being and that he had all the guarantees to develop. While he considered women as something inexplicable and even repeated the phrase “who understands women” constantly.
Freud lived in Vienna for 47 years and all his studies were carried out in his medical office. It was not frequent to see him rest and he did not take vacations and even, the few records that are had of his rest outside the city, are related to studies of behaviors in people and family. I mean, I only went out to work while resting. Freud had a travel phobia and never left his city.
Sigmund Freud was a man who fainted if he was in front of important men and felt shy all the time.
Although his book Interpretation of Dreams was published in 1899, Freud wrote 1900 on the cover as he wanted his book to remain as the first major installment of the 20th century.
Freud smoked up to 30 cigars a day, since he considered it relaxing and had also moved away from cocaine in previous years.
Carl Gustav Jung was considered by Freud as his main disciple. A man who adored like his own son. However, Jung began to question certain aspects of Freud’s theory, which would cause them to never speak again. A relationship from early 1902 to 1914.
Freud, I consider Jung’s betrayal as something that could happen again, so I create a secret sect. They were just people who defended Freud’s ideas to the death and I even created a ring to identify them all.
The First World War and all the results of this confrontation, endorsed various theories of his philosophy, on the thought of man. This stage of war led him to failure and he even asked for potatoes as payment for his work. The poverty was so great that his youngest daughter died of malnutrition and pneumonia in 1920, prompting Freud to write one of the most controversial books of his career.
Beyond the pleasure principle, it was the title with which he published his book. Where he described that men had an instinct to destroy, to die and to end everything in their path. Although the term is not coined, he was among the first to speak about aggressive instincts.
In 1923 he developed a cancerous tumor in his mouth, for which they had to remove various parts of his jaw. This operation was the first of 33 surgeries in 16 years. This made him an introvert.
However, after this time of losing everything, he began to receive large sums of money as a result of his work and established a decent life, continuing to smoke despite his cancer.
Adolf Hitler ordered the burning of most of Sigmund Freud’s books, as his fame as a Jew was something Hitler did not tolerate. Hitler captured 4 of Freud’s sisters and they were murdered in the concentration camps.
Studies on Hysteria (1895). It was the first book where the theory of the unconscious, psychoanalysis and clinical psychology began. It is a compilation of all his work, while at this point all concepts are considered inappropriate and unscientific.
The Interpretation of Dreams (1900). It was the book that initiates psychoanalysis, developing unconscious thoughts as a sample of what people are when they are awake. Discover this dictionary of dreams interpreted according to Freud’s theory of dreams.
Psychopathology of Everyday Life (1901). It is a book considered the second part of the interpretation of dreams, since it only explains how the unconscious works and how man behaves.
Three Essays in Sex Theory (1905). It is the book that shapes the Freudian theory of psychosexual development. It is the book that most defends sexual development as the main engine of the unconscious.
Totem and Taboo (1913). In this book, he strays a bit from explaining how the unconscious works internally, but tries to describe the ways in which religion, culture, history, and even archeology influence people’s development.
Introduction of narcissism (1914). Freud writes this book based on narcissism as a part of the psyche, besides that this thought is part of a psychosexual development.
Introduction to psychoanalysis (1917). It is a more organized book about your own theories and thoughts. It explains how to be a psychoanalyst, it also develops all its neuroses, dreams and repressions. It is a book that would explain the previous theories with a more understandable language.
Beyond the pleasure principle (1920). It explains the so-called theory of instincts of Sigmund Freud. It is a book that talks about life and death and was inspired by the loss of his daughter.
The I and the Id (1923). If the introduction to psychoanalysis organizes Freud’s ideas, The I and the Id is the book where the main foundations of psychoanalysis are raised. It explains in detail the role of the human psyche and makes a deep analysis of its theories.
The malaise in culture (1930). In this book he tells about the importance of culture in the development of the individual. It is considered one of the most important and influential books in social psychology.
Death of Sigmund Freud
For several years, Freud battled throat cancer. Freud himself decided to continue smoking after his first operation, since he considered that it was the only way to get inspired.
However, after 16 surgeries it became impossible to continue the operations. So Freud told his daughter to continue caring for him until he allowed it. It was on September 23, 1939, he died from a lethal dose of morphine. He asked his doctor to help him and died peacefully at home.
Today, several of his grandchildren contributed to the biography of Sigmund Freud and there is a special museum for his works. In Vienna there are innumerable works and dedications to his name, while modern science still uses his theories to begin to understand psychoanalysis.