Historical Background of Psychoanalysis Term Paper

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It is Sigmund Freud who created the study but the concept of psychoanalysis did not stop with psychology. In the broad context of the study of mankind, sociology has also borrowed from him, and the key concepts of Freud find their way in sociological thinking. It is argued that Freud is a sociologist as much as a psychologist on the strength of the ideas he propounded was used in sociological studies. (Bocock, 2002) Though Karl Marx, Weber and mostly Durkheim are the often discussed sociologists, the study of sociology is not complete without the ideas of Freud on socialization, and culture. In tracing the historical background of the psychoanalysis therefore there is bound to be considerations of the impact of Freud on various sciences, the society and thinking. While the impact of psychoanalysis was profound on psychology, allied subjects like sociology were also affected. The study of the history of the movement has to be analyzed in this context. The theories of Freud have affected sociology in the context of socialization, gender issues, sexuality and language analysis. (Bocock, 2002) the fundamental concept of the Freudian theory was based on the concept of the unconscious. This forms the basis of the approach. A brief biography of Freud is inevitable since the history of the movement is closely tied with his life and times. (Hobdell; Fordham, 1998)Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Sigmund Freud was born in the Freiburg town on 6 May, 1856 and in 1873 entered the medical school of the University of Vienna. He was influenced by philosophy professor Franz Brentano and the theory of the "mechanistic physiology of Ernst Brucke." (Hobdell; Fordham, 1998) He later worked at the psychiatry clinic of Theodore Meynert who taught him the diagnosis of brain disorders. He later went to Paris to study neurology under the neurologist Jean Charcot. Charcot and Josef Breuer, the Viennese physician were the greater influence on Freud. The major work of Freud was the interpretation of dreams, which began with the analysis of his own dreams called the "The Dream of Irma's Injection." (Hobdell; Fordham, 1998) the next was the postulate of the Oedipus complex and the advance was into the study of hysteria. It was a collaborative research Breuer in 1895. The following which Freud got after his works were published and discussed created the International Psycho-Analytical Association and many practitioners were calling themselves "Freudians." The work by Freud on hypnotism and the controversial "Some Psychical Consequences of the Anatomical Distinction between the Sexes' in 1925, hypothesized the differences in the typical female and male superego." (Hobdell; Fordham, 1998) Later Freud had to flee to London during the Nazi invasion of Vienna and he died at London at the age of eighty three. (Hobdell; Fordham, 1998)

The impact of his antecedents on psychoanalysis

There is an argument advanced, that the antecedents of the proponents of this branch of psychology were largely influenced by Judaism. The argument is done with zeal in the context of the antecedents of not only Freud, but of all the supporters of Freud. It is a case of dissecting the analyzer to see how far the percepts of that religion affected the thinking and output. The origins of Psychoanalysis was at a time when the world was fast changing and the earlier thinking based on religious background were being dismantled by discoverers like Copernicus, Darwin and the time was apt for the emergence of the study of psychoanalysis. (Bakan, 1958)

Since the concept has deep ties with the personal life of Freud, his life itself has been arranged in terms of the 'pre- psychoanalysis period' and the 'post psychoanalysis period'. (Bakan, 1958) Freud was influenced by Brentano and later he may have been influenced by Jewish mysticism. His relation ship to the other personalities who shared the same background and who influenced him may lead us to interpret that the greatest discovery, transference may be related to mysticism. (Bakan, 1958)

The truth that there were more Jewish intellectuals who influenced him does not mean that there was a total influence of mysticism in the thing and analytical processes. It has been pointed out that Freud lived in a time when science and free thought were just emerging from the grip of the mystics and therefore there is no particular significance to the antecedents of Freud. In contrast it can be argued that Freud's vision is rationalist because it did not have the doctrines of the church to be overcome. To Freud, the doctrine of the mind and Meta physics do not meet and we can observe a scientific exploration of the thought process, perhaps the process of apocalyptic thought. (Webster, 2005)

Documents and contributions

Freud's important contributions and theories that made up the basic tenets of psychoanalysis were during the two years - between 1894 and 1896. It was during this period that the attempt was made at compiling an etiological inquiry into the aspects of psychoses, neuroses, psychiatry and neuropathology. This was the beginning when he built upon the works of the earlier analysts like Mbius and developing the theory of sexual aetiology of the neuroses. We may say that these years marked a deviation from the normal pattern of thought. (May, 1999) the evidence of the progress of the works of Freud can be found in the letters he wrote to Wilhelm Fliess, which constitute the documents available for the analysis of the history of psychoanalysis. The letters range a period from 1887 to 1904, which includes the time of the creation of the theory and its development by other researchers too. These correspondences reveal the thought process of the person who created a virtually new field of human knowledge. (Masson, 1985)

In 1908, the American psychologist G. Stanley Hall sent Freud an invitation for a lecture at the Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, on abnormal psychology. Although Freud had by that time published the 'interpretation of dreams', and had a good following at Europe, with scholars like Karl Abraham, Sandor Ferenczi and importantly Carl Jung the writing until the time was entirely in German and there was only a rumor about his works in England and America. Hall, whose views on child development and sexuality matched that of Freud was first to take cognizance in the western world. (Fancher, 1998b)

The beginning and progress of psychoanalysis

The origin and beginning of psycho analysis was stated by Freud himself in his book by the title - "The History of the Psychoanalytic Movement." (Freud, 1914) He opens the book with the introduction which claims that the subject was his design. He asserts that "psychoanalysis is my creation; for ten years I was the only one occupied with it, and all the annoyance which this new subject caused among my contemporaries has been hurled upon my head in the form of criticism." (Freud, 1914) Freud speaks of the opportunity to speak at the American university as a great honor, and at the same time confides that it was there that he declares that Josef Breuer, merited being considered as the originator of the theories. "I should have dignified Breuer's 'cathartic procedure' as merely preliminary to psychoanalysis, and should have claimed that psychoanalysis itself only began with my rejection of the hypnotic technique and my introduction of free association." (Freud, 1914) He also acknowledged that the other contributors were Charcot, Chrobak, and others. The theory of repression is the important concept on which the psychoanalysis rests. The fact that Freud followed Charcot, who coined the term 'the great neurosis', which is now not in vogue, but was spoken of by Anthony Storr as "severe conversion hysteria in women, is seldom seen today." (Webster, 2005) Strangely the hysteria simply vanished.

C.G. Jung, the assistant physician at Burgholzli, was instrumental in creating the 'first psychoanalytic Congress'. (Freud, 1914) There was the founding of a periodical, which began to appear in 1909, under the name of "Jahrbuch fur Psychoanalytische und Psychopathologische Forschungen." (Freud, 1914) Carl Jung was acquainted with Freud through the 'Interpretation of Dreams' the theories was introduced in the hospital where Jung worked, and later Jung corresponded with Freud about the association tests for which he is famous. Though he did not entirely agree with Freud, he seems to have defended Freud against the allegations leveled against his experiments with Dora by Gustav Aschaffenburg. (Webster, 2005) Jung contributed the theory of complexes but it did not meet approval from Freud. The introduction of psychoanalysis into the concept of schizophrenia marked a turning point in the stream of thought. This was considered by Freud to be "deeper psychology (tiefen psychologie) which furnishes us a part of the psychology still to be created." (Freud, 1914)

Freud, Jung and Klein formed the thought under-currents in the development of the subject, and though they each varied in concept and belief, there was a common thread in the thinking processes. The orientation was the same. The research into hysteria or what is called the Dora's analysis was conducted in 1900 just after the publication… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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