Psychoanalysis it Is Sigmund Freud Term Paper

  • Length: 8 pages
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  • Subject: Psychology
  • Type: Term Paper
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Excerpt from Term Paper :

(Hobdell; Fordham, 1998)

Freud also contributed to sociology and closely linked the works with psychoanalysis. The consideration that Freud's work is about individuals has alienated sociologists from considering the work as a sociological Inquiry. While the psychoanalysis was progressing and gaining ground in Europe and America, Sociologists were being influenced by the theories that related to socialization. This was more related to the gender roles in children, and about sexuality. The social group life was also analyzed with the backdrop of psychoanalysis but not in the direct way. (Bocock, 2002)

The theory of infantile sexuality was published in 1905 although Freud has talked of it earlier. It became the basis of psychoanalytic investigations. The letters he wrote to Fliess from 1896 shows the ideas shaping up it was in 1905 that infantile sexuality as a concept was published. The biogenetic laws and the theory of infantile sexuality shaped later speculations in psychoanalytic investigations. Fliess was admired by Freud to a great extent and the same was recorded by Ernest Jones. The same time the exploration of his own mind by Freud earned him the latter's respect. Freud's self-analysis was the momentous in the history of psychoanalysis because that was the single factor that would give birth to the discipline and pose a lot of controversial questions, both to Freud, and the establishments and other thinkers. The taboos that surrounded science and the very attempt to think in the lines of the taboos require an intellectual discipline that is uncommon. (Bocock, 2002)

Mystery of the missing disease

The neurosis was a medical condition described by Charcot. The neuroses were described by Charcot in a vivid manner and later called hysteria suddenly vanished from society. Frank Sulloway called it "the mysterious clinical diminution of hysteria in the course of the twentieth century." (Bocock, 2002) Recently it was also observed by Anthony Storr that the basis of the analysis - the severe conversion hysteria found in women is not seen today. In 1977 there are questions raised by researchers like Jacques Lacan who did never find such hysteric women any more. Etienne Trillat the historian says that hysteria is dead and took its secrets to its grave. There is not yet an answer to the question as to why a disease that was prevalent for centuries previous to Freud, and diagnosed at his time simply disappear from the face of the earth? (Bocock, 2002)

The disappearance of diseases could be on account of improvements in society, like hygiene, vaccination and so on, or the pathogenic cause disappearing. There is no explanation to the disappearance of hysteria in women from our midst. (Bocock, 2002) Another important question or mystery that surrounds the psychoanalysis history relates to the psychoneuroses that he outlined early in 1895. The theory was that Hysterical symptoms were the result of the unconscious memories of sexual molestations in infancy. Freud claimed that most of the patients with hysteria had a childhood abuse problem. This resulted in the lecture titled, "The Aetiology of Hysteria," and insisted that the theory was sound with eighteen patients. The patient's reaction to sensory regression to infantile scenes according to him revealed the problem at the root. The extreme case of this claim was with a patient who had "a facial tic and eczema around the mouth." (Esterson, 2003) Freud who claimed after the analysis that the patient had been in infancy engaged in fellatio, which was refuted by the patient, which resistance was also taken as a symptom of the occurrence. There was some mist and smoke and the reasons of the mystery of the disappearing disease and the disappearing hypothesis is yet not clear. In two years after the declaration of the aetiology of the neuroses the author of the theory lost faith in it and a substitution was made with unconscious fantasies. (Esterson, 2003) Thus there are severe gaps in the history of psychoanalysis that stops scholars from taking the system as true entirely. It also caused dissent from within and from other psychologists who totally reject Freud as unbelievable.

Breuer's Contributions

The influence of Charcot prompted the study of hysteria and also made the change to the study of psychology possible for Freud. The Paris connection proved to be a great impetus in the direction of thinking that the progress of psychoanalysis was taking. The Viennese physician, Josef Breuer contributed the most important concepts of psychoanalysis. Freud was greatly influenced by him. Breuer already had a reputation for his research in anatomy and his discovery of the role of the vagus nerve in breathing and the subsequent discovery in 1873 of the sense of balance by the ear canals distinguished him in the medical research circles. Then he gained interest in neuro pathology, which brought him closer to the concepts of psychoanalysis. (Webster, 2005)

Breuer was a great influence is without doubt established by Freud himself. With him the traumatic conditions and the symptoms and the repression that occurs in the subconscious and what they called the repressed effect was studied by both in common. Freud admits that the fundamentals of their work related to the cathartic method. They experimented with patients and the trauma gene incident and the situation from which the situation came, and tried to identify the conflict and thus free the mind from the trauma. It is claimed that both together "discovered the procedure characteristic of the psychic processes of the neuroses." (Esterson, 2003) Freud later called it regression. This led to the belief that psychoanalysis needs to look up the past of the patients and a pathological condition may be brought about by a mental cause, although a physical pathological condition may not exist. The famous analysis of a patient of Freud called "Dora," which he carried out in 1899 he claims to be the turning point in analysis the aspects of the dream was encountered and this made the difference. (Freud, 1914)

Questioning the veracity of the History

The claims that were put forth by Freud himself and the others who followed him both with regard to the theories of psychoanalysis and their observations and the patients and records have been questioned by modern writers and some of the criticism is valid. It is claimed that some of the stories of psychoanalysis are fictional. One questionable myth is that Freud brought up the seduction theory based on the statements of his female patients. It is claimed that these female patients were sexually abused in childhood by their parent. Freud it is said came to realize that the women were fantasizing, and he discovered infantile incestuous fantasies. Freud's patients in never have told him anything, but based on his own interpretations, the hysterical symptoms were attributed by him to sexual molestations in infancy. (Esterson, 2003)

It is also a fact that just after he announced the aetiology of the neuroses he abandoned it. The seduction theory episode is patently false and the change over to the fantasy theory and the subsequent analysis into the unconscious all has elements of uncertainty. There may have been a lot of false claims, false starts and illusions. It is argued that the seduction theory episode is "false in all its essentials is especially important in recent times, when it has been drawn into the debate about the repression of memories of childhood abuse that are supposedly 'recovered' some decades later." (Esterson, 2003) There is a need to conduct further enquiry into the historical papers and material to determine the truth of the claims and there need be an account that is accurate as to the cause of "Freud's transition from the seduction theory to the fantasy theory" which was the motif with which Freud recreated the contents of the unconscious and the infantile fantasies in theory.


The history of psychoanalysis begins and most probably ends with Freud and a handful of psychologists who discussed the system threadbare in the last century. The system of analysis has been criticized on many counts, and much of it was claimed to be what we may say as 'sensationalism' However the theory of the unconscious, the ego and the psychology of Freud has stood the test of time. The analysis using hypnosis is still a method widely used, although the principles have come a long way from Freud. Freud's work was incomplete in the sense that the taboo attached to the explorations that were necessary with regard to fantasies, incest and other matters that formed the basis of the hypothesis of the childhood trauma can be reinvestigated with modern methods to affirm if he was right or wrong. In the modern free society Freud can be revisited in…

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