A physiologist, medical doctor, psychologist and father of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud, is generally recognized as one of the most powerful and convincing thinkers of the twentieth century. Freud’s most important and frequently re-iterated right, that with psychoanalysis he had invented a new science of the mind, which remains the subject of much critical debate and argument.
Freud was very successful with his research, especially neurophysiology, and invented a special cell staining technique. While he was successful with what he had accomplished, there were limited available positions available and Brucke helped him receive a grant to enable his to study with the great psychiatrist in Charcot in Paris and then late his rival Bernheim in Nancy. Both studied the use of hypnosis with hysterics.
Freud did not create the idea of the conscious versus the conscious mind; however he was responsible for making it popular. The conscious mind in what you are aware of at any particular moment, your present perceptions, memories, thoughts, fantasies and feelings. The largest part, however, being the un-conscious. The unconscious includes things that are not easily available to awareness, including out drives or instincts and things that we cannot bear to look at, such as memories and emotions associated with trauma. According to Freud’s theories, the unconscious is the source of our motivations.
The id, the ego and the superego are another well-known theory that plays off of the conscious and un-conscious mind. Freudian psychology begins with a world full of objects. Among them is a very special object, the organism. An extremely important part of the organism is the nervous system. At birth, the nervous system is a little more than of other animals, an “it” or id. The id, or the nervous system, translates the needs of the organism into motivational forces, or otherwise called the primary process. The id works in conjunction with the “pleasure principle”, which is the demand to take care of the immediate need.
The ego derives from the id or the “it to the “I” that takes place during the first year of one’s life. The ego relates the organism to reality by means of its unconscious, and searches for objects to satisfy the wishes that the id creates to represent the organism’s needs. This is called the secondary process. The ego, unlike the id, functions according to the reality principle, which says, “take care of a need as soon as an appropriate object is found.”
The ego then struggles to keep the id, or the organism, happy. The ego keeps record of the obstacles, aids, rewards and punishments, and from there forms the superego. This theory is usually not complete until the age of seven, if ever.
There are two aspects of the superego: conscious and ego ideal. The conscious is an internalization of punishments and warnings. The ego ideal derives from rewards and positive models presented to the child. The conscious and the superego communicate their requirements to the ego with feelings like pride, shame, and guilt. The id, ego and superego lead to the fact that, as if acquired, that a new set of needs and wishes are of social, not biological, at this time.
Freud once said, “Life is not easy.” Anxiety is a familiar part of each day for many; anxiety is another aspect of the mind that Freud investigated. Anxiety sits at the centre of powerful forces: reality: society, as represented by the superego; biology, as represented by the id. When conflicting demands are made upon the ego, the feeling is called anxiety. It serves as a signal to the ego that its survival as a whole is in jeopardy. There are three different types of anxiety: realistic, moral and neurotic. Realistic anxiety is considered fear. Moral anxiety is a feeling that comes from the outer world, although could be considered shame, guilt and the fear of punishment. Neurotic anxiety is the fear of being overwhelmed by the impulses of the id. This is the anxiety that intrigued Freud the most.
The theory works in this manner: the fist love-object for humans is out mother. We want her affection, her caresses and her in a broadly sexual way. In earlier readings, I found that Freud defined “sexual” as not just intercourse, but all pleasurable sensations of the skin. Freud’s emphasis on sexuality is another area that is highly criticized. When exploring Freud’s theories further, I was amazed at the emphasis on just the word “sex” alone. In further researching the meaning, I found that Freud defined “sexuality” as a sensation to the skin. These types of affections are non-verbal forms of love that humans need to survive.
Freud made people aware of the fact that human behaviour was based on biology and rationale. Freud showed the impact that human behaviour had on society when it was realized that each individual is responsible for his/ her own actions. Freud proved the importance of family dynamics in a time where society believed that God determined the roles of men and women. The id and the superego will be a part of modern psychology from here on out.
The ego defences are something that I feel is another important part of Freud’s theories. Many criticize Freud’s idea of the “unconscious”, however it seems to be clear that people in general will manipulate reality and our memories to suit our own needs. There are several situations from my past that I know have manipulated to suit what my needs were during those transitions. I also strongly believe that we all have “ghosts in the closet” from past experiences, some that we are even unaware of. These are two specific situations that play into the theory of the “unconscious”.
Finally, if not the most useful, is Freud’s creation of basic therapy. Most therapists today still adopt the “talking cure” and provide a relaxed, physical and social, atmosphere in which they treat their patients. I feel that this will be another theory that will stick to psychology now and for times to come.
I think that many people tend to disregard all of Freud’s ideas because they do not agree with a few. I think that many of Freud’s ideas are tied to his times, although I think that there is a few that play an important role in today’s society and will continue to play a strong role in the times to come. Freud was excellent at research and was an excellent observer of human conditions. Freud is a name that you can find regarding psychology today and will be a part of psychology in the future.