The field of psychology is perhaps one of the most important fields which have enhanced civilization. The society heavily depends on the psychologists especially on the issue of social order which arguably is one of the most important aspects in the society. Over time psychologists have developed theories which have been found to have great applicability in the society.
In this article, the works of Sigmund Freud on the origin and development of psychoanalysis will be examined. Sigmund Freud has made great contribution to the world of psychology and this article will make an attempt to show that significance.
The article will also cite a number of authors who feel that Sigmund has made significant contribution as well as those who feel that the contribution is not that much significant. An overview of the work of Sigmund is given with the important concepts being brought out. I chose to examine the article by Sigmund Freud because I admire the views that Freud presented. I find most of reasoning to be quite practical in life.
Sigmund Freud’s views on psychology have been considered as “indispensable starting point for any serious student of psychoanalysis or psychotherapy” (Holt and Freud 4). It has further been claimed that “Freud has much to teach the contemporary reader and that the latter’s task is unnecessarily difficult” (Holt and Freud 4). Freud has been referred to as the founder of psychoanalytic theory (Cherry 1) though others have viewed his views to be quite irrelevant (Holt and Freud 4).
Personally going through the article I find the theories proposed by Freud and the illustrations given to be quite relevant. Freud came up with his theory of personality through his numerous observations that he made on his patients. From these observations, he divided the mind into two: the conscious and the unconscious mind (Thurschwell 5). I must say that I identify with the reasoning of Freud on the two divisions of the mind:
The conscious mind includes everything that we are aware of. This is the aspect of our mental processing that we can think and talk about rationally. A part of this includes our memory, which is not always part of consciousness but can be retrieved easily at any time and brought into our awareness. Freud called this ordinary memory the preconscious. (Cherry 1)
The second division, the unconscious mind, is very significant as most of the ideas that Freud developed were based on the unconscious mind:
The unconscious mind is a reservoir of feelings, thoughts, urges, and memories that outside of our conscious awareness. Most of the contents of the unconscious are unacceptable or unpleasant, such as feelings of pain, anxiety, or conflict. According to Freud, the unconscious continues to influence our behavior and experience, even though we are unaware of these underlying influences. (Cherry 1)
Freud in his determination to find a cure for seemingly abnormal behavior among adults made attempts to dig deep into the root of the cause of such problems. In his observations he found out that when people display some behaviors which are not considered normal it is usually due to some occurrence in their past life, to put it in his own words, “hysterical patients suffer from symptoms which are the remnants of traumatic experiences” (Freud 1).
I find this very practical in real life, is not what Freud was trying to explain an issue of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? No one can deny that after a person is exposed to traumatizing experience he/she is likely to have develop some funny or rather abnormal behaviors.
Freud made observations that hysterical patients are treated by being exposed to the conditions which had caused the traumatizing event: Freud drew up this conclusion after making several observations on hysterical patients. As a matter of fact exposure of a PTSD patient to the causal agent is one of the treatment means used in modern day clinical counseling. I therefore feel that Freud was quite accurate in his observation though his work has not been generally acknowledged.
Freud’s way of treating patients follows the path of exposing the patient to the causal effect. One way he did this was by talking to the patient when not in the normal state.
Freud acknowledged the fact that the patients tend to deny the state of condition by pushing the bad memories to the unconscious mind or rather by suppressing them such that one needs to assure them that they can remember the thoughts for them to remember the thoughts. Suppressing bad memories is an activity that takes place in anybody’s mind or rather at least to me it does happen.
One author who has greatly admired the work of Sigmund Freud is Catherine Reef. Reef has argued that the findings of Freud have had great influence upon the modern society as their applicability is widely relevant: “Freudian psychology has changed the way people do things, from creating literature and art to bringing up their children” (Reef 5).
The ideas of psychoanalysis especially the way that Freud attaches everything to sexuality has not obtained a common accepted among many scholars especially the modern day ones. Some of the ideas which have strongly been brought under criticism are:
Other studies indicate that Freud was wrong in thinking that girls do not value being girls and are not aware for a long time that Freud was wrong in thinking that girls do not value being girls and are not aware for a long time of their sexual organs; that girls want babies only as substitutes for a penis; that children begin to understand themselves as boys or girls only after observing genital difference; that the male superego is stronger than the female’s and that it derives primarily from fear of castration. (Winer and Anderson 72)
Winer and Anderson however have pointed out that it is Freud who proposed that children are often more observant than it is often thought, “children observe more than we think they do” (72).
Arguing from the view of Kant, it can be said that some of the ideas that Freud put across are both of priori and posteriori knowledge. For instance, the fact that a person will tend to resist a traumatic memory can be said to be of prior in nature but other issues such as girls hating who they are may need to be proved thus being posterior in nature.
Sigmund Freud laid a foundation for psychoanalysis. Though some of his conclusions have been severely criticized, it has generally been agreed that his work forms a very basic foundation in the field of psychoanalysis. Freud gave significant insight into the nature of the mind making a significant contribution to the society even at the current time in various fields including literature and art. Sigmund Freud was a great psychologist.
Cherry, Kendra. The conscious and Unconscious mind. Psychology, 2011. Web. May 04, 2011.
Holt, Robert and Freud Sigmund. Freud reappraised: a fresh look at psychoanalytic theory. New York: Guilford Press, 1989. Print.
Reef, Catherine. Sigmund Freud: pioneer of the mind. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2001. Print.
Thurschwell, Pamela. Sigmund Freud. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2008. Print.
Winer, Jerome and Anderson, James. Sigmund Freud and his impact on the modern world. New York: Routledge, 2001. Print.