Sigmund Freud

(1856 - 1940)

Creator of Psychoanalysis-- "Analyzing the Mind".

Freud was one of the first to infer that mental disorders could be a result of individual history, and not just physical impairment.

Freud developed a complete theory of personality, composed of an interplay between psychic structures and incidents within psychosexual stages of development.

Although Freudís specific theories have been roundly criticized for their circularity and gender specificity since their introduction, it should be remembered:

Freud sparked the psychological revolution and personally trained the second generation of psychoanalysts.

Freud introduced a new way of analyzing human behavior which was adapted by many psychiatrists and psychologists in Neo & Non-Freudian terms.



Mental Energy

In Freudís view:

1. All mental energy was derived from the body.

2. Humans only have a limited amount of energy. 3. There is causation for all human behavior.

4. The goal of human behavior is tension-reduction.

Human Behavior appeared as a result of impulses.

Freud postulated two basic Impulses:

Sexual Impulses (or more generally, life affirming impulses)Libido (or libidinal energy) is the energy source for this impulse. Basic Life impulses are referred to as needs.

Aggressive Impulse (or more generally, death encouraging impulses) Aggressive energy is the energy source of this impulse.

As an Impulse grows, it becomes more likely that the person will choose an action which will reduce this need.




Using Mental Energy


Libido, the energy of life affirming impulses, is invested by a person in various activities, people, objects and goals.

The process of investing libidinal energy is called cathexis.

Excessive cathexis in a single object or person can lead to Neurosis.

Neurosis can be cured through the process of catharsis, which allows the cathected energy to be released. Catharsis is generally referred to as "the talking cure"

Neurosis: A mild psychological disorder. Psychological trauma can sometimes produce physical complaints: loss of sleep, selective paralysis, overeating.

Psychosis: A severe psychological disorder such as schizophrenia. Freud himself did not believe that catharsis (the talking cure) could successfully treat people with psychosis.


Freudian Levels of Mental Awareness

Freud distinguished three different levels:


Conscious: Includes only what we are aware of at any given minute. The awake, everyday feelings of life represent consciousness.

Preconscious : The easily accessible portion of the unconscious. This could include recent memories (what you did yesterday), phone numbers, or favorite foods, to name a few. Basically, long term memories which are easy to retrieve.

Unconscious : Instinctual elements, as well as censored and repressed memories. Our earliest childhood memories may be locked in the unconscious, yet might still influence our everyday behavior.

Freud believed that by understanding the memories "trapped" in the unconscious, he could explain "unexplainable" behavior.


The Freudian Structure of the Mind


The Id - (Das Es) The original core of an individuals personality. The Id is biologically driven and contains the libidinal energy. The Id is primitive and unchanging, because it has no contact with the outside world (primarily unconscious).

The ID wants its impulses satisfied and does not care how this happens.

The Ego - (Das Ich) Self-Identity which arises out of the ID. The ego controls voluntary motion and self-preservation behaviors. The ego must satisfy the impulsive demands of the ID while obeying the standards of the superego.

The Superego (Das uber Ich)- Developing out of the ego, this structure serves as the conscience, which can develop both standards of conduct and inhibitions on prohibited behavior. The superego can be both conscious, and unconscious (as in extreme guilt feelings which the individual can not trace ). Our superego is modeled after our parents superego.



Psychosexual Stages of Development

According to Freud, at least 5 stages of human development exist.

At each stage, there is a crisis which must be worked through.

If the crisis is not properly worked out, the person could become fixated at that stage of development.

Fixations are seen in adulthood as child like approaches to gratifying the basic impulses of the Id.

Beginning at Birth:

The oral stage: The lips, tongue, and teeth are at the center of understanding the world. The impulses of hunger are thirst are paramount -- and can only be gratified orally. Energy becomes cathected to the mouth region and some energy remains there permanently.

In the late oral stage, aggressive impulses can cause the baby to bite the mothers breast.

Oral Gratification in adulthood is seen as pathological only in extreme instances. Partial fixation in the oral stage is seen as a cause of smoking, overeating, or heightened interest in oral sexual gratification.

Psychosexual stages of development


Stage 2: Ages 2 to 4. The Anal Stage. As children learn how to control their own bladder, urination and defecation play an increasing role in the childís life. Children associate both praise and criticism with the withholding or release of body waste. Anal fixation can occur due to the discrepancy between the praise given for successful toilet practice and the coexisting disgust of fecal material.

Partial Anal Fixation: Orderliness, parsimoniousness, and obstinancy define the "Anal Character" . Also referred to as "anal retentive".













Stage 3: The Phallic Stage: Starting as early as three, if the child has passed through the anal stage. Genital focus now captures the childís interest, and the child is either obsessed with having a penis or not having one. Sexual pleasure is linked to the closeness of oneís parents. During this stage, children often want to sleep with their parents and become jealous when they are not the focus of their parents attention.

The crisis in this stage for boys is the Oedipus complex, where boys want to possess their mother and kill their father. The father is seen as vying for the attention of the mother by the boy, hence the jealousy. However, the superego has strong condemnation for patricide, so another solution must be sought. By identifying with the father, the boy can suppress the unconscious desires to kill h him. Fear of castration also helps to control this wish.

In The female Oedipus Complex, the girl desires the father and resents the mother. Penis Envy is strong, as the girl wishes to desire this appendage. Penis Envy is seen as girls acting as Tom boys, and in adulthood, the healthy result of penis envy is the desire to give birth to a baby boy. In the resolution of this crisis, the girl will give up the idea of sexually possessing their father and again identify with their mother.

After the resolution of the Phallic Stage, children enter a latency period of psychosexual development. Children repress sexual thoughts (partly due to the development of the Ego and Superego) .

Freud believes that the Latency Stage is due to shared societal conditioning as a result of early Oedipal complex solutions. Early on, brothers bound together and killed their father, to possess their mother. Killing their father led to feelings of guilt, which helped them to develop taboos on incest. Subsequently, when their own children showed sexual interest, they suppressed that sexual interest, and over generations led to this latency period now observed.

Internal feelings of shame, guilt, and morality help maintain this latency period.









Psychosexual Stages of Development

On entering puberty, children enter the final stage of development.

The Genital Stage: The sexual impulses of the Id are reawakened in the adolescent. The sexual behavior is now directed toward other people, rather than the self-centered exploration of the phallic period. Females generally lose their penis envy during this stage, so that female genitalia may take the same place of importance as male genitalia. Libidinal energy shifts from the mouth and the anus to the genitalia. This increased cathextion in the genitalia is what increases the overt sexual drive of an individual.

Heterosexuality (desire for a sexual partner of the opposite sex) is seen as a healthy direction for mature sexual impulses.

Homosexuality is seen by Freud as a genital fixation.





Other Gender Differences of Freud



The female has a less well developed superego.


Penis envy leaves young female children unsatisfied, and beset by feelings of inferiority.



Freud himself, however, sometimes did state that his understanding of women was lacking. Despite this, he did speak out against feminists who were crusading for female equality.



Later Psychoanalysts such as Karen Horney revised Freudian ideas into a more complete and less gender based theory of female personality.





Freudian Psychoanalysis

Freud wanted to get to the root of peopleís anxieties; Not only to alleviate the presenting symptoms, but to uncover the underlying repressed thoughts or memories which create the anxiety.

The goal of the psychotherapist is to help the patient explore their unconscious, come to grips with the demands of the Id, and create the highest level of Ego functioning as possible.

Since the Ego is the bridge between the Id and the superego, this is the mental structure which can benefit the person most by its growth.

The psychotherapist helps to interpret your memories and dreams, and is the final word on what interpretation is to be made.

Not surprisingly, interpretations are made with respect to the psychosexual stages of development.

Psychoanalysis is often a very long (several year) process.

Successful candidates for psychoanalysis must be highly verbal.



Source of all Mental Energy

Hunger Thirst Sexual Desire Sleep

"I want it all and I want it Now"

Disconnected From Reality

Pleasure Principle

Basic Driving Force behind all human behavior


Sometimes these impulses appears directly


Sometimes the impulses are modified by the Ego and appear in a different form (Sublimation & Reaction Formation)









Mostly conscious and in touch with reality.

Must interpret the demands of the ID and satisfy those demands through realistic behavior.

Also, must deal with the moral prohibitions of the Super-Ego.

Super Ego

"Morality Principle"

Social Conscience of an individual

Tells people what they should not do:Social Prohibitions

Also contains our image of the "Ideal Self"

Guilt: Feeling of anxiety when we violate the Social Prohibitions

Shame: Feeling of anxiety when we fail to live up to our

"Idealized Self".


Sources of Dreams

Prior to Sleep: Certain foods or indigestion can lead to dreams.

Example : Scrooge complaint that a bad bowl of porridge caused the appirition of Marleyís ghost.

Physical: How a person sleeps can affect their dream

Example: Sleeping on your arm and dreaming of partial paralysis.

Frued noted that dreams contain two mental sources:

1. Very recent memories of the immediately previous day or days.

2. Childhood memories, often long ago conciously forgotten.

Because the ID is not in touch with reality, these two memory types can exist side by side within a dream with no contradiction.




Freud and Cocaine


In 1884 Freud wrote a monograph on the Coacoa plant.

He stressed the reinvigorating effects of the drug,

And also its usefulness as a local anesthesia.


Another researcher followed up on this paper and was credited with discovering this wonder drug, much to Freudís dismay.


Freud was initially thrilled with cocaine, but eventually began to see its destructive properties and stopped using cocaine 8 -12 years after he started using.

One of his close friends died of a cocaine overdose after Freud had recommended the drug to him.

Later in his life, he attributed his use of this drug to the aggressive, or death instincts.




Humor and Freud


Freud felt that humor was a window into the unconscious.


Humor was a way to say things that people really feel, but canít openly express.

Someone Saying " I will kill you If you did that, Ha, Ha, Ha ! "

Might actually have some underlying hostility.


Freudian Slips: When a person makes a misstatement, sometimes the mistaken word tells us more information about what that person is thinking than the original statement.