Sigmund Freud



SigmundFreud was a renowned psychiatrist who made significant contributionsto the world of psychology. He was born on May 6, 1854 in CzechRepublic, the then known as Freiberg. He is known particularly fordeveloping psychoanalysis, an approach through which an analystunveils unconscious conflicts with regard to free associations,fantasies and dreams of the patient (The European Graduate School,n.d). This made him known as the father of psychoanalysis in today’sacademic world. He developed various theories regarding childsexuality, libido as well as ego which became very popular in the20thcentury and are still applicable in the modern psychology. Freud diedin 1939 at the age of 83 (Dufresne, 2007).

Freudwas born to Jewish Galician parents in a German town of Moravian. Hewas the first born in a family of eight siblings. His father was awool merchant and had two sons from his previous marriage. His motherwas the third wife and was 20 years younger her husband. At the ageof 4, Freud’s family relocated to Vienna, a town where he spent hislife and career. At 17, he joined the University of Vienna where hehad planned to study law, but instead joined the faculty of medicinewhere he studies zoology, physiology and philosophy. In 1881, Freudreceived his degree in medicine when he also became engaged to marryin the subsequent year. He was blessed with six children, with theyoungest daughter, Anna becoming a renowned psychiatrist just likehis father (The European Graduate School, n.d).

Afterhe graduated, Freud established a private practice and startedtreating patients with different psychological disorders. During hispractice, Freud always considered himself as a scientist rather thana psychiatrist. He thus pursued to understand the journey of humanunderstanding and experience. During his early practice, Freud wasmotivated by the work his colleague and friend, Josef Breuer who hadlearnt that, when he encouraged a hysterical patient to speak withoutinterference regarding prior experiences of symptoms, there was alikelihood of the symptoms to subside gradually (Dufresne, 2007).Inspired by Breuer speculated that neuroses had their genesis inextreme traumatic experiences that had happened in the patient’spast. He believed that the initial incidences had been overshadowedfrom consciousness (The European Graduate School n.d). The intent ofhis treatment was to empower his clients to remember theseexperiences and bring them to consciousness and by so doing, dealwith it both rationally and emotionally.

Freudis remembered for his theories such as Oedipus complex, psychicenergy and the importance of dreams. His theories were inspired byother scientists of the time. For instance, Charles Darwin’sperspective of humankind as a progressive facet of the animal kingdominspired Freud’s study of human behavior.

Freudwent into exile after going into loggerheads with the Nazisgovernment. Freud’s life was full of inquiry which he pursued untilhis death. He had started smoking at age 24, and he became an addictdespite his friend’s warning about health risk of smoking. Hesuffered throat cancer as a result, which he struggled with for long.He committed suicide in 1939 after he took a lethal dose of morphinefrom his doctor while in exile in England due to the suffering he hadfrom cancer (The European Graduate School n.d).


Dufresne,T. (2007). AgainstFreud: Critics Talk Back.Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2007.

TheEuropean Graduate School. SigmundFreud – Biography. Retrieved 03, 2014).