Information by: DeAnna Pope

Questions to address:
  1. Why did Sigmund Freud decide to go into that particular field of psychology?
  2. What was going on in that time period that made Sigmund Freud's theories applicable to life?
  3. The urges and subconscious mind that Freud discusses in his theories suggest a normal behavior, but how can it also lead to physiological illnesses?
  4. Did Sigmund Freud have any childhood experiences similar to the Oedipus Complex that he created?
  5. How can this theory be proven if so many people, even years after this theory was proposed, have lived their lives successfully even when they don't end up killing their parent of the same sex (and resulting in neurosis, pedophilia, and homosexuality)?
  6. Why does Freud change the theory of the female Oedipus complex? Why shouldn’t it initially be: the female will kill the mother to marry the father?
  7. Why does this first theory change in 1920s to the Electra Complex?
  8. Why is the super-ego considered the "heir of the Oedipus complex"?
  9. If someone else had another theory, before Freud in the 1890's, then what would become of psychology today?
  10. What does the classical theory say about resolving the Oedipus complex?
Who was Sigmund Freud?
Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist who is known today as one of the most influential and controversial thinkers of the twentieth century. Freud is known as the father of psychoanalysis for his theories on the unconscious mind and psychodynamics. Being the first one to actually bring up the idea of the unconscious mind, people in the 19th century respected his ideas, and believed them as true. He studied treating and prevention of hysteria and other mental conditions, dream analysis, and human behavior. There isn't much evidence to prove whether Sigmund Freud had childhood experiences similar to his theories, or why he decided to study psychology but whatever it was, it made him infamous for being the father of psychoanalysis. However, he could have been effected by the unusual amount of attention he got when he was a child, the favorite in his family out of eight other children. His theories could have been due to the fact that he was effected by him being an aeithiest or the trauma of his father's business going bankrupt.

19th Century Views
In the 19th Century, cases of hysteria and delusions were considered non treatable illnesses of the mind. Personal matters were never discussed in polite society. Women went to their doctors with a chaperon. Professional therapists didn't exist. Mental patients were sent to asylums and sometimes experienced unusual attempts at treatment such as long periods of drug-induced sleep, alternating the patient in hot and cold baths, and sometimes a dangerous brain surgery that often resulted in death. Freud started treating patients in 1886 with a method that was simple and new: he listened to them. He strongly encouraged his patients to talk as much as possible about their experiences, especially their childhood memories because he believed that one could trace back to these origins to find the source of the problem.

Freud's Theories
Freud created many theories throughout his career such as:
  • Theory of human nature: determined by irrational forces, unconscious motivations, and biological and instinctual drives.
  • Theory of dreams: symbolic representations of needs, wishes, desires, and conflicts that store all memories, experiences and repressed material. Conciousness is a thin slice of the total mind.
The kinds of anxieties and problems he worked with were named:
  • Reality anxiety: the fear of danger from the external world
  • Neurotic anxiety: the fear that one's instincts will become uncontrollable and and cause to do something in which one will be punished.
  • Moral Anxiety:the fear of one owns conscious.

Oedipus Complex
One of Freud's more controversial topics:the Oedipus Complex comes from the Greek character, Oedipus Rex who unknowingly kills his father and marries his mother. Freud has a theory that every child has a sexual identity established at ages 3 -5. It is when a boy regards his father as a competitor for his mother's affection. Freud's report on the Oedipus theory says that "the wish had been taken that father should be 'dead'". However, the female version of this theory is controversial and was somewhat changed in 1925. Sigmund Freud contemplated how females will eventually abandon the desire for their mother, and shift their sexual desires to their father. Freud began arguing that females supposedly experience the Electra comlex, where the female sees their father in a sexual way and their mothers are the competition.

The Id, Ego, and Super-Ego
The Id, Ego, and Super-Ego are three parts of the "psychic apparatus" (or, brain) that Freud identified in one's consciousness. Freud created a metaphor for these "three structural models of the psyche" with the idea of an iceberg. The tip of the iceberg, the conscious and awareness of the outside world is shown above the water is the Ego. This includes using reality as a tool to make decisions.This is the psychological component. Below the surface is the Id, which is the primary process in thinking and wish fulfillment. This is the biological component. To the side of this iceberg, is a mix of both: the Super-Ego, the social component. It contains one's conscious and moral imperatives. "Classical theory, (before Freud) holds that a "resolution" of the Oedipus complex takes place through identification with the parent of the same sex and (partial) temporary renunciation of the parent of the opposite sex; the opposite-sex parent is then "re-discovered" as the growing individual's adult sexual object."


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