Sigmund Freud

Posted by on May 10, 2013 in Sigmund Freud | 3 comments

Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud


Date of Birth:                                     May 6th1856

Date of Death:                    September 23rd 1939

Hometown:                                Freiberg, Moravia

Nationality:                                         Austrian

Family:  Married to Martha Bernays. Children: Mathilda, Jean Martin, Oliver, Ernst, Sophie, Anna

Personal Summary

Influential scholar, psychoanalyst, psychiatrist with controversial ideas. Contributed to many disciplines such as childhood, personality, memory, sexuality, therapy. Known as one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century and pioneer in psychoanalysis.


Academic Qualifications

 Spurling Gymnasium

 1865 – 1873                                                                                                                 

Graduated  1st in class with Summa cum Laude

University of Vienna

1873 – 1881                                                                                                                     

Doctorate degree in Medicine


Career History

Private Practice, Vienna

 1886 – 1936                                                                                                 

  • Worked with many patients such as Anna O. (aka Bertha Pappenheim), Little Hans (Herbert Graf), Dora (Ida Bauer), Rat Man (Ernst Lanzer) and Wolf Man (aka Sergei Pankejeff) to help treat various psychological disorders
  • Helped patients to bring subconscious traumatic experience to their conscious awareness through free association and hypnosis. This alleviated patient’s symptoms.

Salpetriere Hospital, Vienna

1885- 1886                                                                                                  


  • Worked with Charcot on hysteria and hypnosis


Notable Works/Ideas

  • Freudian Slip– a verbal or memory mistake which is thought to be linked to unconscious processes. These slips reveal unconscious beliefs, wishes or ideas.
  • Repression– process of repressing unacceptable or distressing thoughts or beliefs from conscious awareness.
  • Denial- the process of pretending or wishing that a traumatic did not occur, denying reality.
  • Oedipus/Electra Complex- The Oedipus complex describes how boys feel attracted to their mothers and jealous of their fathers, whereby the Electra complex is the attraction girls feel towards their fathers and jealousy towards their mothers. Each child regards their same sex parent a rival that they are in competition with. They are competing for the opposite sex parents attention. This helps the children attain their sexual identity. Resolution of this conflict occurs when the child is able to identify with their same-sex parent.
  • Free Association– process of expressing whatever comes into the mind without inhibition, helps to discover thoughts in the subconscious.
  • The Unconscious– our innermost feelings, wishes, thoughts, ideas, emotions or urges which are outside of our conscious awareness. The content tends to be unacceptable, distressing, or traumatic and may cause us anxiety. It exerts influence over our behaviours, speech and experiences although we are unaware of it.
  • Id, Ego and Superego– The Id is the unconscious part of our personality which is present from birth. It includes our instincts and primitive behaviours. Freud believed it to be the source of all psychic energy. It is driven by the pleasure principle which seeks immediate gratification for all wants and needs such as hunger, thirst, sex. When these needs are not met, the person would experience anxiety or tension. This Id is important for survival when the child is young; however, should diminish somewhat as one gets older and more mature. The Id tends to be socially unacceptable and needs to be controlled by the Ego and Superego. While the Id lives in fantasy, the Ego is grounded in reality. It keeps the Id’s impulses in check. The Ego is partly unconscious and partly conscious. It is driven by the reality principle which weighs the consequences and benefits of possible courses of action. The last personality component is the Superego which is entirely conscious. It is our sense of right and wrong as determined by our society, education, parents and religion. It is able to make judgements of what is considered good or bad. All three of these components need to find balance within the person so that the person can function in everyday life without experiencing too much or too little anxiety over his/her thoughts, feelings and actions.
  •  Life and Death Instincts (Eros and Thanatos)- Life instincts, also known as sexual instincts, deal with basic survival, pleasure and reproduction. These instincts are important for the survival of the species and pro-social behaviours. The energy that they crease is called libido. The death instinct deals with people’s unconscious wish to die. It explains aggression, violence and self-destructive behaviours.
  • Dreams- “the royal road to the unconscious.” The analysis of dream content can lead to understanding the unconscious.



  • The Interpretation of Dreams| 1900
  • The Psychopathology of Everyday Life| 1901
  • Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality| 1905
  • Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria| 1905
  • Five Lectures on Psycho-Analysis| 1916
  • The Ego and the Id| 1923
  • Civilization and Its Discontents| 1930
  • Moses and Monotheism| 1939


Activities and Interests

  • Cigar smoking
  • Travel
  • Writing


References available upon request

Cherry, K. (n.d.). Sigmund Freud – Life, Work and Theories. Psychology. Retrieved May 9, 2013, from

Sigmund Freud. (2013). The Biography Channel website. Retrieved 03:07, May 09, 2013, from



  1. Funny! But, Freud is not the father of psychoanalysis. Maybe the Godfather, but not the proper founding father of it.

    • Thank you for your comment! I’ll change the post accordingly. Would you happen to know who the proper founding father is? I would be interested to find out 🙂

      • Freud was the father of psychoanalysis and that was one theory that made him a controversial man. Thanks.

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