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Sigmund Freud and the Study of Psychoanalysis

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Psychology
Wordcount: 2060 words Published: 23rd Sep 2019

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Sigmund Freud and the Study of Psychoanalysis


Sigmund Freud is largely known for the multiple theories that Freud has claimed. Freud’s work is used all over the world today. Although during the beginning of Freud’s introduction of the psychoanalysis theory Freud had a lot of backlash from colleagues, that eventually did accept Freud and the findings that Freud came upon.

Freud was born in Freiburg, Austria to Jewish parents. Freud became a qualified doctor in 1881. Freud has many theories that were finalized, such as the psychoanalytic theory of personality development, psychosexual theory, psychoanalytic dream interpretation, and psychoanalysis theory.

Freud’s psychosexual development is criticized by many different groups for psychoanalysis groups to feminist. Freud’s controversy that he gets is from how he portrays women in the development of the psychosexuality. Freud is also getting more and more criticized by how he explains how fast libido is happening in an infant’s life.


Psychoanalysis is a method of analyzing psychic phenomena and treating emotional disorders that involves treatment sessions during which the patient is encouraged to talk freely about personal experiences and especially about early childhood and dreams. Psychoanalysis is based on the concept that most individuals are unaware of many factors that can be the cause of their behaviors and emotions, psychoanalysis could potentially cause unhappiness.

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Although the psychoanalysis theory is mainly associated with Sigmund Freud, Dr. Joseph Breuer was the first to use the application of this method on a case of a hysterical girl in 1880-82. Freud states in a article of his that “Granted that it is a great merit to have created psychoanalysis, it is not my merit”.(Freud. 1910) When Dr. Breuer did the first application of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud was just a child at school (Freud. 1910) .

Freud was the first to coin the term psychoanalysis in 1896, for the next forty years of his career was spent working on it. By 1925 the Theory of Psychoanalysis was established around the world. Although, Psychoanalysis was having an astounding movement, it was also causing controversy, with Freud getting the backlash of many other doctors. For many years he dealt with his colleagues all around the world called him a radical, but eventually accepted him. (Freud, 1910)

In Freud’s Origin and Development of Psychoanalysis Freud stated that Breuer was the first to use this method. Freud and Breuer eventually became colleagues as Freud grew up. Breuer and Freud ended up writing a book together about what psychoanalysis is.

Psychoanalysis is a method of analyzing psychic phenomena and treating emotional disorders that involves treatment sessions during which the patient is encouraged to talk freely about personal experiences and especially about early childhood and dreams. Psychoanalysis is based on the concept that most individuals are unaware of many factors that can be the cause of their behaviors and emotions, psychoanalysis could potentially cause unhappiness.

In An Outline of Psychoanalysis, Freud (1949) explains the general principles on which the psychoanalysis theory is based upon. Freud started off with an explanation of three forces of the psychical apparatus. The three are the id, ego, and superego. The id has unconscious quality that contains everything that were inherited and that were present at birth, and the instincts (Freud, 1949 p.14). The ego has the ability of conscious quality and is responsible for controlling the demands of the id and instincts, and serves as a link between the id and the external life. The ego responds to stimulation by either adaptation or flight, regulates activity, and tries to achieve pleasure and avoid the unpleasurable aspects of life (Freud, p. 14-15). The superego, is responsible for the satisfactions and represented by the influence of others (Freud, 1949, p.15) The superego’s demands are managed by the id.

Freud explains that our instincts are the ultimate cause of every behavior. There are two basic instincts the Eros (love) and the Thanatos (death). The Eros instincts purpose according to Freud was to establish and preserve unity between relationships. Thanatos is completely the opposite, the purpose is to undo connections and unity by destroying them (Freud, 1949, p.19). These two instincts either operate against one another through repulsion or combine and work together via attraction (Freud, 1949, p 19).

Psychsexual Development Stages

When Freud first started with psychosexual development theory, it was a being talked about all over the world how sex and ages change how people react to certain things. Although Freud’s psychosexual stages are taught throughout the psychology program, Freud has consistently had controversy with the feminine psychology. A lot of the criticism that Freud experienced can from psychoanalytic groups and feminist (old and new).

There are five stages to Freud’s psychosexual theory: oral stage, anal stage, phallic stage, latency, and genital stage. According to Freud (1905/1986) the sexual activity in the oral stage is directly correlated from the ingestion of food. This comes from the act of ingesting, the infant will either spit out someone that does not taste good or will swallow things that taste pleasant.

The anal stage starts from when the child is 18 months old until about three years old. According to Freud the anus is where pleasure comes from. During this stage a child will begin to toilet train, which would make children bring out their fascination of the erogenous zone of the anus. The erogenous zone is focused on controlling the bowels and bladder. Freud believed that the libido was focused on controlling that therefore the anal stage coincides with the beginning of the child’s ability to control their anal sphincter.

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The third stage of psychosexual development is the phallic stage, which spans from about age three to age six. During this stage children become more aware of their own bodies, bodies of children, and their parents bodies. Most children during this stage are curious physically and they will begin exploring eachothers genitalia. During the phallic stage children will learn the difference between a male and a female. Freud thinks that whichever parent the child prefers will end up saying if the child will be homosexual or heterosexual. This is because of how they react to the differences of the body. When this stage is over Freud’s next stage comes into play.

The fourth stage of Freud’s psychosexual development theory is the latency stage can begin during the phallic stage around age five and continue until puberty hits around ages 10 to 16 (Garcia, 1995). The latency stage does not have any new sexuality developments and is often left out when talking about Freud’s psychosexual development theory. Freud believed that most sexual impulses were repressed during the latent stage. Most who are in the latent stage put the sexual energy into school work and hobbies per Freud. The latent stage ends around the time that puberty hits and then the genital stage begins.

The final stage of Freud’s psychosexual development is the genital stage. The genital stage roughly begins when puberty starts and ends at death. The genital stage and phallic stage are both focused around the genitals, however during the genital stage the genitalia thoughts are more conscious. The genital stage begins when the sexual drives returned. During this stage the sexual pleasure will expand past the parents (Colman, 2015). During this stage the ego and superego become more developed which allows for more realistic way of thinking.

Each of Freud’s psychosexual development stage has something to do with the libido of a person, except for the latency

Dream Analysis

Freud (1981) stated that dreams are a phenomenon that carried some sort of meaning that can help increase the understanding of our conscious life. Freud is known as the first ever author to publish a book about dreams. In Freud’s original concept (1981) dreams serve to preserve sleep through covert desires that are repressed which result in a pleasure principal.

Freud advanced the idea that their can be differences between manifest and latent content of dreams. The manifest content refers to content that is remembered narrative that plays itself out in dreams. The latent content is the underlying meaning of ones dreams. Freud argued that every dream has a connection with at least one experience of the previous day.

Freud defines that states of sleep as a period of chaos in which the unconscious thoughts of the id attempt to make their way into the conscious mind (Freud, 1949, p.38). Dreams are developed from either the id or the ego, and in order to interpret a dream one must figure out which psychical apparatus is being used. Freud believes that dreams are undoubtedly caused by conflict, characterized by the power that brought up memories that a dreamer may have forgotten (Freud, 1949, p.40).

Dreams is the id’s way of connecting itself to the ego and superego. The id is trying to get the unconscious thoughts to make since of the conscious thoughts. Dream analysis in conclusion is a therapeutic technique used to try and get more information on the unconscious materials.


In conclusion Sigmund Freud not only developed ways to understand human sexuality but also develop a theory on why dreams happen and what certain symbols in dreams mean. The psychoanalysis theory is more than just one little theory, it plays into many different aspects of Freud’s theories, from human sexuality, human development, and dreams.

The psychoanalysis theory is still used today in many therapy settings to try and figure out why someone with disturbed thoughts has those thoughts. Sigmund Freud was before his time.


  • Beystehner, K. M. (n.d.). Psychoanalysis: Freud’s Revolutionary Approach to Human Personality. Northwestern University.
  • Colman, Andrew M. (2015) [2001]. “genital stage (p. 311)”. A Dictionary of Psychology (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19105784-3. ISBN 978-0-191-05784-7.
  • Fliegel, Z. O. (1973). Feminine Psychosexual Development in Freudian Theory. The Psychoanalytic Quarterly,42(3), 385-408. doi:10.1080/21674086.1973.11926640
  • Freud, S., & Strachey, J. (1981). The interpretation of dreams. London: Penguin Books.
  • Freud, S. (1910). The Origin and Development of Psychoanalysis. The American Journal of Psychology,21(2). Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  • Garcia, J. L. (1995). Freuds Psychosexual Stage Conception: A Developmental Metaphor for Counselors. Journal of Counseling & Development,73(5), 498-502. doi:10.1002/j.1556-6676.1995.tb01785.x


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