Sigmund Freud Sometimes a Cigar Is Just Thesis

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Sigmund Freud

"Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar"

(Freud, as cited in Associated Press, 2006, ¶ 22).

"Father of Psychoanalysis"

During the 1890s, when an individual living in Vienna experienced a "nervous disorder," he may have secured the professional services of neurologist, Sigmund Freud. In the 1890s, Freud, born in Frieberg Moravia, May 6, 1856, then a young doctor, teamed up with Dr. Joseph Breuer in Vienna; to specifically treat patients with nervous disorders. The encyclopedia article, "Freud, Sigmund" (2008), published in the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences asserts that Freud and Breuer treated nervous disorders "through the use of a 'talking cure.' The method initially consisted of patients under hypnosis recalling memories associated with their symptoms. This recall, accompanied by the affect connected with the memories, resulted in the elimination of symptoms" ("Freud, Sigmund," the birth of… Section, ¶ 1). During this paper, the researcher examines Sigmund Freud, as well as a number of aspects relating to his "talking cure," which ultimately led to Freud becoming known as "The Father of Psychoanalysis" (Associated Press, 2006). The researcher relates information regarding Freud as a person, his perspectives and his contributions to psychiatry.

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Anna O., one of the first patients Freud treated with the "talking cure," initially presented with symptoms of paralyses. Anna reported experiencing the inability to drink any liquid that did not have an organic base. During treatment sessions, Anna recounted what she considered a "disgusting" scene from her childhood. Anna stated that her disorder began after she witnessed her governess's dog drinking from a cup that people drank out of, instead of a bowl meant for animals. After Freud treated Anna, she recovered and could once again drink again normally ("Freud, Sigmund," 2008, the birth of… Section, ¶ 1).

Thesis on Sigmund Freud Sometimes a Cigar Is Just Assignment

If Freud were still alive, he would be 154 years old this year, 2010. After suffering for several years with mouth cancer, he died in England on September 23, 1939. A myriad of controversies regarding the credibility of his theory, which began during his practice of the "talking cure," continue to exist, along with "…controversies over the credibility of his theory and the promise of psychoanalytic treatment" ("Freud, Sigmund," 2008, Criticism of…Section, ¶ 4). Despite the ongoing controversies regarding Freud, Peter Kramer, PhD., biographer of Freud, relates the reason Freud continues to maintain a prominent place in the study of psychoanalysis: "He made psychology popular" (Associated Press, 2006,¶9). Most in the field of psychology agree, however, with that Freud's work qualified him to become known as "The Father of Psychoanalysis."


In 1876, at the start of Sigmund Freud's scientific career, Freud had not yet developed his theory regarding the id, the ego, and the superego. At this time, as his 20th birthday approached, Freud traveled to the zoological station at the University of Vienna to in his quest to secure the eel testicles he needed to complete certain experiments. Claudia Kalb (2006), feature writer for Newsweek magazine, explains in the article, "The Therapist as Scientist; before inventing psychoanalysis, Freud dissected fish and studied the anatomy of the human brainstem," that Freud's research which involved him dissecting four hundred eels, did not reveal the eel's mating habits, a mystery that had reportedly "confounded scientists, including Aristotle" (Kalb, ¶ 1). This time Freud invested did not prove pointless. After he completed this research project, Freud wrote his first scientific paper, "Observations on the Form and the Finer Structure of the Lobular Organs of the Eel, Organs Considered to be Testes." This effort also stimulated Freud's interest for work in science even more.

Next, Freud studied the nervous systems of lamprey and crayfish. Kalb (2006) explains that Freud even devised "his own novel staining method so he could see the details of living cells more clearly under the micro-scope. By the early 1880s he had moved on to the human brainstem" (Kalb, 2006,¶4). In his work, Freud also created detailed, elegant drawings, of fiber pathways and spinal neurons of the brain. In May of 1885, Martha Bernays, Freud's fiancee, received a letter from him in which he wrote, "I think brain anatomy is the only legitimate rival you have or will ever have" (Freud, as cited in Kalb, 2006, ¶ 4). In its own rite, nevertheless, brain anatomy, Freud discovered did not provide enough money to provide for a family.

Mark Solms, director of the International Neuro-Psychoanalysis Centre in London reports that Freud then started to study live patients (Kalb, 2006). Kalb reports:

He [Freud] diagnosed cases of cerebral hemorrhage and spinal inflammation. He published volumes on cerebral palsy and aphasia, a loss of language due to brain injury. and, after studying with the neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot in Paris, he began treating adults with "hysteria," a catch-all diagnosis for symptoms which had no clear physical explanation, like hallucinations and temporary blindness. "This is when Freud began to realize that the study of the mind was important," says Dr. Regina Pally, a psychoanalyst at UC Los Angeles. "He discovered when he talked to patients that there were emotional conflicts going on that were being expressed in symptoms." Something bigger -- the unconscious -- Freud posited, must be at work. (Kalb, 2006, ¶ 5).

Figure 1 shows a photo of Freud.

Figure 1: Sigmund Freud (Thornton, 2005).

As a physiologist, medical doctor, and psychologist, Sigmund Freud, dramatically influenced "talk therapy." As he collaborated with Joseph Breuer, Freud "elaborated the theory that the mind is a complex energy-system, the structural investigation of which is proper province of psychology" (Thornton, 2005),, ¶ 1). Due to Freud's articulation and refining in the field of psychoanalysis, its fundamental premises, even though the focus of critical debate and controversy, may be directly traced back to Freud's original work.


Even though Freud is considered the father of psychoanalysis, numerous psychoanalysts have altered or disposed his theories and ideas. Most, however concur with Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, a New York City psychoanalyst, and accept Freud's notions that "human behavior is unconsciously motivated and that people all struggle to keep their underlying motivations out of their consciousness" (Young-Bruehl, as cited in Associated Press, 2006, ¶ 11). Experimental psychologists such as J. Allan Hobson and Daniel Schacter argue "that parapraxes and dreams, respectively, may arise from normal features of cognitive process and brain function, rather than from unconscious motives" (Hobson & Schacter, as cited in Freud, Sigmund, 2008, Criticism of…Section, ¶ 1). Other critics of Freud suggest instead of deep-seated conflict as Freud believed, a chemical imbalance or faulty wiring of the brain causes neurotic symptoms.

In 1920, Freud presented his second instinctual dualism hypothesis, titled, "Beyond the Pleasure Principle." Prior to this time, he had argued for the existence of a duality of self preservation and sexual instincts. This duality had been challenged for some time, mainly since he articulated the concept of narcissism" (¶ 2). In this hypothesis, Freud promoted his perceptions of the life instinct and the death instinct.

Freud's hypothesis suggested that an individual's psychic system could possibly be controlled by the pleasure principle. Caropreso and Simanke (2008) explain that "this function was the 'repetition compulsion', which would work to link whatever stimulation there may be to one's psychic apparatus. This in turn allowed the pleasure principle to become dominant" (the death instinct Section, ¶ 1). During this hypothesis Freud contemplated the connection between repetition compulsion and instinctual activity. From this Freud came up with the "death instinct" and came to the conclusion that repetition compulsion must be the most important components of all the instincts. Freud stated:

It seems, then, that an instinct is an urge inherent in organic life to restore an earlier state of things which the living entity has been obliged to abandon under the pressure of external disturbing forces; that is, it is a kind of organic elasticity, or to put it another way, the expression of the inertia inherent in organic life. (Freud as cited in Caropreso & Simanke, 2008, the death instinct Section, ¶ 2)

In Freud's hypothesis, "Beyond the Pleasure Principle Freud," he also questioned and pondered whether or not individuals hoped to go back to their original state and what would be an individual's final goal in life. Freud's answer is "that the aim of all life is death and, looking backwards, that inanimate things existed before living ones" (Freud as cited in Caropreso & Simanke, 2008, the death instinct Section, ¶ 4). Freud also believed that individuals would return to an inorganic state, or that the individual's final goal in life would be death. Freud's meaning of an inorganic state was for individuals to be free from all of life's stimulations and tensions.


According to James Hansell, PhD., University of Michigan, one of Freud's most popular theories stressed the value of parents being supportive of their children, rather than simply strict disciplinarians. Freud argued that experiences in a person's childhood affected him even in his adulthood.

Colleagues and theorists who followed Freud, including individuals he worked with, consequently altered his theories and the way psychoanalysis is… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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