Sigmund Freud, also known as the father of psychoanalysis, was an Austrian neurologist who founded psychoanalysis as a method of treatment of psychopathology through dialogue between the patient and his or her psychoanalyst (Cohen, 2012). Freud was born in Frieberg, moved to Vienna at 4 and later to England where he made several developments to come up with all-inclusive theories that have been used up to date (Edmundson, 2010). This is among the most remembered figures in psychology and most influential and controversial thinkers in the 20th century. Through the work of Sigmund Freud, humans can understand a range of topics such as memory, sexuality, therapy, personality and the development of an individual regarding their behavior and thoughts (Reef, 2001). Other major thinkers have developed the works of Sigmund Freud even further as some have also come up with new theories to contradict Sigmund Freud's findings. He worked closely with Joseph Breuer to critically explain the theory that the mind is a complex energy system, which has since been used as a point of reference by several scholars. Regardless of the several manifestations of psychoanalysis existing currently, it can be traced back directly to the original works of Sigmund who first came up with the idea. The accounts of the sexual genesis as well as the nature of neuroses contributed to Freud's development of the clinical treatment to deal with such disorders.
Psychoanalytic theory is the personality organization theory that has been used by psychoanalysts to guide them in the treatment of psychopathology (Freud & Bonaparte, 1954). Freud's clinical treatment has been highly influential such that when people talk about psychoanalysis, they, in most cases, refer to the clinical treatment and not the theory that lies behind the treatment. The main aim of Freud's method of treatment was generally to reestablish an agreeable connection among the three elements constituting the mind by digging and making resolutions of the unconscious repressed conflicts. As stated earlier, this method of treatment was Breuer's discovery and pioneered by Freud. Breuer discovered that when a hysterical patient opened up to share their earlier occurrences of the symptoms as well as the fantasies, the signs could subside and were successfully eliminated in cases where the patient could be made to remember the initial traumatic events that led to the symptoms (Freud, 2014). Switching away from his early exploration of the unconscious through hypnosis, Freud made further developments in his talking treatment assuming that the subdued conflicts were deeply kept in the recesses of the unconscious mind. This method was applied by Freud where he directed the patients to relax in a way that they were withheld from a strong sensory stimulation and to ignore the presence of the analyst and made them speak as freely as they could with no forethoughts. Freud believed that he could find out the unconscious forces behind the talk.
The method used by Freud was a free-association, the same reasoning involved in analyzing dreams where the super-ego is disarmed, and the performance limited to some extent, and the content is filtered through the conscious ego (Freud & Cronin, 2013). This is a difficult process that requires the analyst to make the patient make recognition of his or her natural resistances to overcome it (Freud, 2018). Freud made this resistance an indication to him that the assessment was developing expectedly and that was the reason for such condition. Because the superego performed ineffectively in sleep just as it is in the free association method of treatment, there is a difference between the manifest content of a dream and the latent content as explained by Freud (Freud, 1955). To correctly interpret the condition of a patient including their dreams, slipping tongue, free associations may guide the analyst into pointing the location of the unconscious repressions responsible for the production of the neurotic symptoms. For effecting the cure, the analyst drives the patient into becoming conscious of the unresolved conflicts that are deeply recessed in their unconscious minds in addition to confronting and directly engaging with them.
It can, therefore, be concluded that the psychoanalytic treatment is a self-understanding and the patient plays an important role to ensure the success. The analyst only gives direction on the handling of the unconscious forces to make a successful assessment and learn these unconscious forces behind the patient's talk. It is also important to note that the channeling of the sexual energy towards achieving social or artistic goals is sublimation which, according to Freud, is the force of motivation that leads to most great achievements regarding culture. Also, there would be another possibility which involves the reasonable control of the formerly repressed drives and consciousness which can be said to be suppression. In both cases, the cure is affected by the release of the pent-up energy that was causing the neurotic illness.
Cohen, D. (2012). The escape of Sigmund Freud. New York, NY: Overlook Press.
Edmundson, M. (2010). The death of Sigmund Freud: fascism, psychoanalysis and the rise of fundamentalism. A&C Black.
Freud, S., & Cronin, A. J. (2013). The interpretation of dreams. Read Books Ltd.
Freud, S. (2018). Group psychology and the analysis of the ego (No. 6). Lulu.com.
Freud, S. (2014). Wit and its relation to the unconscious. Routledge.
Freud, S., & Bonaparte, P. M. (1954). The origins of psychoanalysis (Vol. 216). London: Imago.
Freud, S. (1955). Lines of advance in psycho-analytic therapy. In The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XVII (1917-1919): An Infantile Neurosis and Other Works (pp. 157-168).
Reef, C. (2001). Sigmund Freud: Pioneer of the mind. New York: Clarion Books.
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