Sigmund Freud was a crucial individual in paving the path towards better understanding psychology. From his theories of psychoanalysis to the unconscious mind to the psyche, Freud’s contributions to the study of psychology were extremely influential for all future psychologists and his theories are still used today.
Sigmund Freud was born in Austria in 1856. He attended the University of Vienna in 1873, studying medicine. Twelve years later, he decided to study neurology in Paris and returned to Vienna the following year, setting up his own practice, which specialized, in mental disorders. From then on, he began to uncover the then unknown world of psychology (BBC).
Sigmund Freud’s most famous theory is his psychodynamic approach to psychoanalysis. This theory focuses on getting inside the head of individuals to unravel the problems they are facing. Psychologists can use this theory to make sense of an individual’s emotions and behaviors by looking back at childhood experiences and looking into the unconscious self of the individual (Sigmund).
Another one of Freud’s important theories that helped to unravel the truths of psychology is his model of the mind, called The Psyche. According to Freud, The mind is comprised of the id, the ego, and the superego. The id is where our instincts lie; there are two sets of instincts within the id called Eros and Thanatos. Eros is what Freud calls the life instinct, thus directing humans towards activities that keep us alive, like eating. Thanatos is the exact opposite the death instinct. Freud believed we all have instincts at times to be destructive and aggressive, but that our life instincts are stronger, allowing us to live on instead of self-destruct. The ego develops over time from the id and works to achieve the needs of the id as safe and socially acceptable as possible. The ego is also different from the id because it functions in both the conscious and unconscious mind. Lastly, the superego develops during early childhood. It is what sets and enforces moral standards in the individual’s mind, and is what drives us to be socially responsible individuals (Sigmund).
Sigmund Freud’s discoveries as one of the founder’s of general psychology were essential in order for future psychologists to reach where we are today with psychological research. Though his theories seem somewhat basic, they were the stepping stones in countless other psychological findings and completely changed the way that the mind was looked at and studied forever.
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