Sigismund Schlomo Freud
(May 6, 1856 – September 23, 1939), was an
Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who founded the psychoanalytic school of psychology.
Freud is best known for his theories of the unconscious mind, especially involving the
mechanism of repression; his redefinition of sexual desire as mobile and directed towards a wide
variety of objects; and his therapeutic techniques, especially his theory of transference in the
therapeutic relationship and the presumed value of dreams as sources of insight into unconscious
He is commonly referred to as "the father of psychoanalysis" and his work has been highly
influential — popularizing such notions as the unconscious, the Oedipus complex, defense
mechanisms, Freudian slips and dream symbolism—while also making a long-lasting impact on
fields as diverse as literature, film, Marxist and feminist theories, philosophy, and psychology.
However, his theories remain controversial and disputed by numerous critics, among them one
who called him the "creator of a complex pseudo-science which should be recognized as one of
the great follies of Western civilisation".
Sigmund Freud was born on
1856 to Galician Jewish parents in
Empire, now Czech Republic. His father Jacob was 41, a wool merchant, and had two children
by a previous marriage. His mother Amalia was 21. Owing to his intellect, which was obvious
from an early stage of his childhood,
his parents favored him over his siblings, and even though
they were poor they offered everything to give him a proper education. Due to the economic
crisis of 1857, father
Freud lost his business, and the family moved first to Leipzig, Germany
before settling in Vienna, Austria. In 1865, Sigmund entered the
, a prominent high school. Freud was an outstanding pupil and graduated the
Matura in 1873 with honors.
Lectures on Physiology
, Brücke set forth the radical view that the living organism is a
dynamic system to which the laws of chemistry and physics apply.
This was the starting point for
Freud's dynamic psychology of the mind and its relation to the
1886, after opening his own medical practice, specializing in
neurology. After experimenting with
hypnosis on his neurotic patients, Freud abandoned this
form of treatment, in favor of a treatment where the
patient talked through his or her problems.
This came to be known as the "talking cure”. The "
talking cure" is widely seen as
the basis of
Freud held the opinion (based on personal experience and observation) that
sexual activity was
incompatible with the accomplishing of any great work. Since he felt that the great work of
creating and establishing psychotherapy was his destiny, he told his wife that they could no