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Person of Issue: Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)
Authors: Mr. Ankit P. Patel*
Number of views: 366
Sigmund Freud was one of the trailblazers of modern-day psychology. As the originator of Psychoanalysis, Freud distinguished himself as an intellectual giant. He pioneered new techniques for understanding human behavior, and his efforts resulted in the most comprehensive theory of personality and psychotherapy ever developed. Freud was the firstborn in a Viennese family of three boys and five girls. He was born in Freiberg, a rural town near Ostrau in northwestern Moravia. Even though Freud's family had limited finances and were forced to live in a crowded apartment, his parents made every effort to foster his obvious intellectual capacities.
From a very early age he had many interests, unfortunately his career choices were limited because of his Jewish heritage. He attended school at "Leopoldstdter Communal-Real-und Obergymnasium" and took his leaving exam in July 1873. This was also the year that Freud registered at the faculty of Medicine at the University of Vienna. In 1881 he obtained his doctorate in medicine. From 1876 to 1882 he worked as a research assistant at the Institute of Physiology under Ernst Brcke, with neurology as his main focus. In 1885 Freud received a One-year scholarship with Charcot at the "Salpetriere" in Paris. In 1886 Freud opened his first neurologist's office in Vienna, Rathausstrasse 7. Under Jean-Martin Charcot, Freud practiced and observed hypnosis as a clinical technique, and began to formulate the beginnings of his theory on the mind.
Freud went on to make nervous ailments his speciality, concentrating on hysteria. By 1895, the year he published Studies on Hysteria with Josef Breuer, he had made significant progress in mapping out and defining his own theory of the mind. A period of intense work and self-analysis, further inspired by the death of his father, led Freud to his publication of The Interpretation of Dreams in 1900 and of Psychopathology of Everyday Life in 1901. The latter work, offering amusing and easily applicable anecdotes of Freudian slips, found a wide audience for his theories of the mind. By 1902 he finally gained the position of associate professor at the University of Vienna. In 1908 Freud established a Psychoanalytic society in Vienna, and thus his new field began to gain wider acceptance. Also in this period Freud published papers on religion, literature and more importantly his introductory lectures, which secured him a wide and popular audience. In 1920, inspired by the death of his daughter Sophie, Beyond the Pleasure Principle was published. Soon after in 1923 The Ego and the Id was published. This work contained a final formulation of his structural theory of the mind. In late 1923 Freud suffered from cancer and had surgery. However he continued to publish his work and in 1927 he published a series of papers on female sexuality.
Freud died in 1939. Today he falls under criticism from most sides, as his speculative theories fail to find support. However, Freud's work presented a new way of thinking about human nature, and his legacy lives on in the vocabulary and beliefs of millions.