Freud and Psychoanalysis Life and career Intellectual influences

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Freud and Psychoanalysis

  1. Life and career

  2. Intellectual influences

  3. Intellectual biases

  4. Early theory

  5. Later theory

  6. Influence and importance

Freud’s Life

  1. Born in Moravia 1856

  2. Moved to Vienna soon

  3. Parents were Jewish middleclass

  4. Vienna almost all life

  5. London just before death in 1939


  1. Enter U of Vienna in 1873

  2. Good classical education

  3. Studied medicine

  4. Never much desire to practice

  5. Lectures

  6. Brentano

  7. Main influence was Brücke – colleague of Helmholtz

  8. Studied hypnosis with Charcot


  1. Wanted academic career but anti-Semitism

  2. Work with Breuer

  3. First major publication was Interpretation of Dreams in 1900

  4. Therapist – modest living

  5. WW I deeply affected

  6. Escaped Nazis in 1937

Major Intellectual Influences

  1. Unconscious

  2. Hypnosis

  3. Materialism

  4. Hegel

  5. Darwin

  6. Jewish

Major Intellectual Influences – The Unconscious

  1. Like all German philosopher-psychologists accepted the Leibnitsian idea

  2. Studied

  3. Hypnosis

  4. Free association

  5. Mistakes

  6. Dreams

  7. Self-analysis

  8. Gave it a dynamic twist

Major Intellectual Influences II

  1. Hypnosis

  2. Charcot

  3. Saw relationships between hypnosis and hysteria

  4. Materialism

  5. General German biological perspective

  6. All mental life reduced to material forces

  7. Newtonian

  8. Conscious and unconscious ideas reduced to forced

  9. Newton of the Mind

Intellectual Influences III

  1. Hegel

  2. A cultural Geist – collective, racial mind

  3. Conflict – thesis, anthesis, synthesis

  4. Darwin

  5. Instinct

  6. As chief motive force

  7. German Trieb has a more mechanical connotation

  8. Struggle and competition __ Darwin through Hegelian eyes

  9. Mind was a process rather than a structure

Intellectual Influences – Jewish Background

  1. The outsider

  2. Intellectual and intellectualize

  3. Messiah

Three Major Biases

  1. Medical-Scientific

  2. Aristocratic – Victorian

  3. Pessimism

The Medical-Scientific Bias

  1. Emphasis on body

  2. Determinism

  3. Causal-genetic

  4. Energy as fundamental process

  5. Disease analogy

  6. Symptom-cause distinction

  7. Causes not always directly observable

  8. Therefore inferred causes crucial

The Aristocratic – Victorian Bias

  1. Supreme rationalist – not always understood

  2. Never trust masses

  3. Women are less rational

  4. Young non-rational

The Pessimist

  1. Ultimately bad more real than good

  2. Feelings of impending doom

  3. Middle-aged and old when most writing

  4. World War I devastating

  5. Destroyed intellectual confidence

  6. New war technologies

  7. Destroyed cultural institutions and monuments

Characteristics of Theory

  1. Scientific?

  2. Reliance on inferred constructs

  3. Reliance on analogy

  4. Closed system

Freud’s Claim of Science

  1. His claims

  2. Theory rests on firm science in biology and physics

  3. Theory rests on systematic observation

  4. Science deals with causes and his theory was fully deterministic

Criticisms of Scientific Nature of Theory

  1. Most sciences can make predictions

  2. He never claimed theory could predict

  3. Could postdict

  4. However, also true of most theories of human behavior

  5. No experimental possibilities

  6. Freud always claimed experiments were irrelevant to his theory

  7. And almost all experimental tests have failed

Inferred Constructs

  1. Like all sciences inferred constructs loom large in his theory

  2. Also true of physics and biology

  3. Atoms

  4. Genes

  5. The unseen have a greater reality

  6. Also leads to sloppiness

Closed System

  1. No practical way to prove theory wrong

  2. Even criticisms are seen as support for the theory

Development of Theory

  1. Theory has several stages

  2. Pre-psychoanalytic stage

  3. The early theory

  4. Later developments

Pre-Psychoanalytic Stage

  1. Early work with drugs

  2. Stumbled into work with neurotic patients

  3. Assumed to have “weak” nerves”

  4. Fit interest in physiology

  5. Work in 1890s – two accounts

  6. Published work

  7. Project for a Scientific Psychology

The Early Work on Hysteria

  1. Treated hysteric women

  2. Initially hypnosis

  3. Then work with Breuer

  4. Talking cure and free association

  5. Hysteria must have psychological roots

  6. Book with Breuer important

  7. Intellectually moved beyond Breuer

The Controversy Over Early Sexual Abuse

  1. Many women reported sexual abuse

  2. So sexual trauma must be cause

  3. But then “discovery” that cases were often not true

  4. Crucial development in theory

  5. Such reports were symptoms

  6. But implicate early sexual feelings

  7. Repression and symptoms as coverups

  8. But Masson’s book In the Freud Archives

The Project for a Scientific Psychology I

  1. Basically letters and notes to Fliess

  2. Stimulated by recent developments in neurology

  3. Neurons are structurally separate

  4. Assumed barrier between neurons

The Project II

  1. Assumed neurons mirrored entire system

  2. Efficiency requires binding of energy and then release

  3. Please-pain was crucial – hedonism

  4. Pain was binding of energy that needed release

  5. Please was discharge of energy

  6. At “ego” (not yet fully developed) was neurons that could divert and direct energy

Early Psychoanalytic Theory

  1. Self analysis

  2. Interpretation of Dreams (1900)

  3. Great intellectual act

  4. Laid down structural theory

  5. Conscious

  6. Unconscious

  7. Preconscious

  8. But no designation of id-ego-superego yet

  9. Psychosexual development

  10. Distribution of energy and changes through life

  11. Psychosexual stages

The Psychosexual Stages

  1. Nature of libido

  2. Stages

  3. Oral

  4. Anal

  5. Phallic

  6. Latency

  7. Genital

  8. Also primary vs. secondary processes

  9. Reality principle

  10. Impulse control

  11. Not fully worked out in terms of ego yet

Extensions to other Areas

  1. Psychopathology of Everyday Life (1901)

  2. Totem and Taboo (1913)

The Case Studies

  1. Only published a half dozen

  2. Controversy about how important they were as data for theory

  3. Doctored to fit theory?

  4. Interesting and creative

Case of Dora

  1. Philipp Bauer brought daughter Ida (15) to Freud for cough but she refused treatment (1898)

  2. Later began full treatment in 1900

  3. Various hysteria systems

  4. Cough and hoarseness

  5. Vague depression

  6. Female problems

  7. Had been treated with various electrical treatments

Ida’s (Dora) Family

  1. Close to father

  2. Disliked mother

  3. Frau K (Hans Zellenka)

  4. Father and Frau K had an affair (1895)

  5. Dora had crush on Frau K.

  6. Imparted facts of life to her

  7. Unhappiness in own marriage

  8. Often shared bed on family vacations

  9. Herr K.

  10. Tried to kiss her when she was 13

  11. Later tried to seduce her

Freud’s Analysis

  1. Saw everything in sexual terms

  2. Repressed homosexuality

  3. Failure to respond to Herr K.

  4. Hysteric symptoms

  5. Failed to treat real condition

  6. Ida had continued unhappy and neurotic life

Theoretical Crisis in 1910s

  1. Grouping of instincts

  2. Conscious and unconscious

  3. Socialization and guilt

Problems with Instincts

  1. Previously

  2. Instincts that promote survival of self (hunger)

  3. Species (hunger & sex)

  4. Aggression seems more important

  5. “Mourning and melancholia”

  6. Repetition compulsion

  7. Sadism

  8. War

New Theory of Instincts

  1. Hunger and sex

  2. Preservation

  3. And life enhancing

  4. Aggression and death

Conscious/Unconscious Distinction Problems

  1. Earlier theory had grouped parts of the mind on basis of conscious/unconscious

  2. Control and repression

  3. Previously went with conscious part

  4. Now seen to be largely unconscious

  5. Made the distinction messy

  6. Also narcissism

Socialization and Guilt

  1. Began to see guilt as crucial

  2. Allied with aggression directed inward

  3. But had to be directed outward

  4. Part of socialization

  5. But not deliberate

  6. Oedipus complex

A New Structural Theory

  1. The components

  2. Id

  3. Ego

  4. Superego

  5. Based now on controlling function rather than conscious status

  6. Later theories

  7. More emphasis on ego

  8. Anxiety and defense mechanisms

The Revision of the Theory

  1. Beyond the Pleasure Principle

  2. Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego

  3. Ego and Id

  4. Civilization and Its Discontents

Evaluation of the Theory

  1. Never played a large role in scientific psychology

  2. Role of emotions

  3. Spotlight in development

  4. Not easy to translate into experiments or even observations

  5. Considerable influence in therapy

  6. But that is rapidly declining

  7. Never much documental of success

Emphasis in Culture

  1. Huge influence

  2. Advertising

  3. Child-rearing

  4. Limitations of rationality

  5. Mistrust of the obvious


  1. Not much empirical support for any part of the theory

  2. Repression never been documented

  3. Nor has dynamic unconscious

  4. Done great mischief

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