About Sigmund Freud's An Outline of Psychoanalysis

Douglas Honors College 

February 6, 2008

Warren R. Street

Department of Psychology

Context:

Rise of the German university. Studies in astronomy and medicine reveal that thought is an ordinary physical process.

Medical advances in anatomy and physiology. Rise of mechanism, decline of vitalism. Helmholtz, and Brücke

Existence of unconscious motivation

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Sigmund Freud lived from 1856 to 1939. An Outline of Psychoanalysis was apparently begun in June of 1938, after Vienna and Austria had fallen to the Nazis and Freud had fled to London. It was published in 1940, after Freud's death on September 23, 1939, from cancer of the jaw and palate. The book thus represents an expression of Freud's theory in its mature form. It was intended for readers with an acquaintance with psychoanalytic theory and summarizes the main points of the theory.

Sigmund Freud's (1856-1939) theories of normal and abnormal human motivation exerted a pervasive influence not only on psychology but on virtually all the social sciences, arts, and humanities.


Freud London 1939.jpg (39209 bytes)About your book: An Outline of Psychoanalysis was apparently begun in June of 1938, after Vienna and Austria had fallen to the Nazis and Freud had fled to London.† It was published in 1940, after Freud's death on September 23, 1939, from cancer of the jaw and palate. The book thus represents an expression of Freud's theory in its mature form.† It was intended for readers with an acquaintance with psychoanalytic theory and summarizes the main points of the theory.

Sigmund Freud's (1856-939) theories of normal and abnormal human motivation exerted a pervasive influence not only on psychology but on virtually all the social sciences, arts, and humanities.†

Freud's life

Born in Freiberg, Moravia, now Pribor, Czechoslovakia. First of 8 children born to father's third wife, two half‑brothers. Apparently, family tried to suppress Jakob Freud's second marriage and Sigmund's true birthday.† Favorite child, parents expected and nurtured his success, siblings were not so favored. Excellent student. Fled to Vienna at age 3 because of anti-Semitism.† Lifelong fear of trains. Interest in military and architectural careers, but anti‑Semitism blocked those professions. Chose medicine. Went to University of Vienna but took 8 years to complete the program because of wide interests.

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Strong influence of Ernst Brücke. Got Freud to look at humans as part of natural world.  Became excellent neurologist. MD degree (1881) on reproduction in eels.

Experimented with cocaine, just missed a chance to be famous when he gave some to an ophthalmologist friend who discovered that it numbed the surface of the eye, one of its most enduring medical uses.† Traumatic incident with friend Ernst von Fleischl-Marxow, whom he switched from morphine addiction to cocaine addiction, which killed him. Freud never used pain-killers in life, despite 33 operations for cancer of palate and jaw late in life.

Received a small grant in 1885 to go to Paris to study with Charcot, very influenced by Charcot's hypnotic treatment of hysteria. Convinced Freud that hysteria occurs in men, is psychogenic, and bears similarity to hypnotic state. Freud switched to psychiatry instead of neuropathology. Upon returning to Vienna from Paris, Sigmund Freud gave his first public lecture on Charcot's proof of hysteria in males. Ridiculed by Viennese medical circles, Freud set about finding an actual case to present to the medical society.

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Set up practice in Vienna in 1886 with medical school friend Josef Breuer, specializing in hysteric symptoms. Breuer had earlier (1880-1882) "cured" a young woman ("Anna O") of hysteric symptoms by using method of catharsis. Also discovered transference (arousal of repressed feelings of client for therapist) and countertransference (arousal of repressed feelings of therapist for client). Published Studies in Hysteria with Breuer in 1895. Freud began using cathartic method in 1889.

Used with hypnosis, cathartic method had problems of symptom substitution and resistance to hypnosis. Developed method of free association to accomplish the same thing. Getting at unconscious emotional trauma distorting normal personality. 1892: Freud first referred to the unconscious and unconscious motivation in a letter to Josef Breuer. Repression and resistance showed that therapist was on the right track. Freud theorized in 1895 that dreams represent wish fulfillments. Dream analysis was added to free association as an analytic tool. Manifest content, latent content, wish fulfillment, symbolism in dreams became important. Published Interpretation of Dreams in 1899. Common symbols: flying, money, swords, steeples, purses, books. Later extended symbolic interpretation to all kinds of everyday phenomena -- jokes, slips of the tongue, forgetting things, tardiness, etc. Published Psychopathology of Everyday Life in 1904.

Seduction theory of hysteria made its appearance in 1896 Focused on sexual motivation, childhood sexuality. Through self-analysis, came to believe in Oedipus Complex, elaborating on the theme of childhood sexuality. Association with Alfred Adler began around 1902, Carl Jung in 1907, Otto Rank, A. A. Brill, Ernest Jones at about 1908.

Breakup with Adler over power and inferiority, 1911. Break with Jung over sexuality, 1913.

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Freud's home in Vienna was overrun by Nazis 15 Mar 1938, one day after the German occupation of Austria. 4 Jun 1938. Freud fled Austria, went to London. 21 Sep 1939 Freud asked his physician Max Schur to administer morphine until Freud died. Freud died on September 23, 1939.

Freud's theory of normal personality structure and function:

Personality becomes manifest through Stages of development: Oral (incorporative, sadistic types); Anal (expulsive, retentive types); Phallic (emergence of gender roles, Oedipus/Electra complexes); Latency; Genital.

Psychic motives may be unconscious, preconscious, or conscious. Unconscious motives affect behavior through symbolic and covert thought and action. Abnormal thoughts and actions provide clues to their sources to the trained psychanalyst. Interpretation of dreams, Freudian slips, etc. 

Defense mechanisms defend against the id and the superego by converting forbidden motives into acceptable forms (Anna Freud refined this list):

Psychoanalysis discloses a person's true motives to themselves. Began a tradition of "insight" therapies. "Follow the path of greatest resistence." "Where id was, there ego shall be." Discovered transference.

Criticisms of Freud:

Lasting impact on psychiatry, art, music, literature, anthropology, philosophy, history, and many other fields, as well as everyday Western thought.
Lasting influences
(from neo-Freudian Karen Horney):
1. Concept of an active unconscious that motivates behavior
2. Exposition of the irrational, symbolic, emotional nature of behavior
3. Assertion that all behaviors have a cause, none are accidental. Psychological determinism.

Further reading:

Also of interest: