Dipti two therapies: sleep therapy and interpretation of

Dipti Vora

Alice Ghimishim

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College Writing II

26 November 2017

Freud Theory of Psychoanalysis

Psychology has existed since ancient times; the Greeks had developed
the first scientific method to treat the mentally ill. They had developed two therapies:
sleep therapy and interpretation of dream therapy. In the year sixth hundred the
systematic approach was taken to treat mentally ill. Times to time the new
theories emerged due to the improvement in definitions. Each theory of
psychology has different purposes as well as different point of view. By using
different research methods, techniques and goals for each system, psychologists
had defined what each system is based on. For the example, the behaviorist focuses
on the environmental factors because according to them environment influences
the behavior, the humanistic psychology believes in the whole person and the
uniqueness of each individual, the cognitive psychology is the scientific study
of the mind as an information processor and the psychoanalytic theory believe
in the unconscious mind and their drives. The psychanalytic theory also
known as the Freudian theory of the personality.  

The Freudian theory of personality and treatment have been interrogated
since it started.  Critics had questioned
many aspects of psychoanalytic theory: for instance, “whether or not it is a
science; the method and effectiveness of psychoanalytic treatment; the theory over-emphasis on sexual drive; time-consuming
and expensive therapy.” On the other hand, recent study has been admiring the
psychoanalysis theory, “The unconscious part of mind can perceive things
without conscious awareness (Erdelyi, 1974) Defense mechanisms occur e.g.
repression appears to occur (Weinberger & Davidson, 1994) Anal and Oral
characteristics are intercorrelated (Weston, 1990) Catharsis is helpful for
physical/psychological health (Erdelyi, 1994) Lab studies have demonstrated
transference (Andersen & Baum, 1994).” Psychoanalysis is a great theory of
personality that should not be ignored.

The psychoanalysis was founded by Sigmund Freud in Vienna during
the 19th century, it was developed from social and intellectual circumstances.
Freud work was impacted by various social trends, such as, the birth of German
School, discrimination against Jews and the role of women in society; for
instance, the German school helped him to enforce his treatment technique and discrimination
against Jews policies forced him to study the medical profession and work with
Jean Charcot in Europe. Freud work was influenced by Josef Breuer and Jean-Martin
Charcot. Freud had learned the hypnosis techniques to treat hysteria and other
abnormal conditions from the Jean Charcot. Although, soon he realized that the beneficial
effects of hypnosis do not last long. Therefore, Freud adopted the techniques
of talking, which was developed by the good friend Josef Breuer. The talking
cure theory allowed Freud to develop the idea that many phobias are formulated
by deeply traumatic experiences, which occurred in the patient’s past, but the
traumatic experience was hidden from consciousness since they were forgotten by
the patient. The talking treatment permitted the patient to recall the
experience of consciousness, to confront intellectually and emotionally. After
their findings, Freud and Breuer wrote book name “Studies in Hysteria,”
in 1895. Although Breuer and Freud had a disagreement of “sexual origins and
content neurosis” therefore Freud continued working alone.

During his practice, some women were complaining about feelings
of numbness in part of their body, at the same time, they did not have any physical
defects that can be pinpointed to the cause. In other words, Freud found
nothing wrong with any of those patients. Therefore, he forms a hypothesis
stating, if there is nothing wrong physically, then maybe something is wrong
within the brain. There might be some mental or psychological issues with the
patient. To conduct his investigation, he used a method call “Free Association.”
He learned unconscious thoughts and feelings can transfer to the conscious mind
in the form of “fuzzy thought” a person tells what is really on his or her mind
by saying something, but they didn’t mean to; For example, when commentator was
reading the score, she said Nancy lost by the goal, instead of saying they’d
won by a goal. Freud called it Freudian slips. Freud believed that slips of the
tongue provided an insight into the unconscious mind and that there were no
accidents, every behavior, including slips of the tongue, was significant. His experiment
helped him to develop the theory of Psychoanalysis. “psychoanalysis refers to
(1) a theory of personality and psychopathology, (2) a method of investigating
the mind, and (3) a form of treatment for psychopathology” (McWilliams
, 2003)

Freud compared the human brain to the iceberg; the part that
shows above the surface of the water represents conscious mind and the much
larger mass under the water level represents the unconscious mind. According to
Freud unconscious mind is a storehouse of desires, cravings, and unreachable
memories that affect our thoughts and behavior. “Freud believed that the two
basic drives that motivate human behavior are sexual drive, which he referred
to as libido, and aggressive drive (McWilliams &Weinberger, 2003).” The free
association method helped Freud to discover the unconscious mind and allow him
to formulate the theory of personality, which is made of three major systems:
the id, ego and superego. The id, ego and superego help us to control the
energy from drives, which constantly seeks to be free.  Each system of personality has its own
functions, although they all act as a one to direct our behavior. The id is
made up of basic biological impulses the drives: works on principle of “I want
it, and I want it now” The id seeks immediate gratification of impulses and operates
on the pleasure principle; the id tries to avoid pain and obtain pleasure
regardless of the external circumstances. Second comes the ego, which develops
as a child learns to consider the demands of reality. It is store house of
rules and regulation. The ego creates our conscious self and follows the
reality principle: the ego is essential the part of personality that decides
what actions are appropriate and which are id impulses. Last but not list, the
superego, which is the internalized representation of the values and morals of
society as taught to the child by the parents and others. It is essentially the
individual’s conscience. The superego decides whether an action is right or
wrong. Initially, parents control a child’s behavior directly by reward and
punishment. Through the incorporation of parental standards into the superego, behavior
is brought under self-control. The superego develops in response to parental
rewards and punishments.

According to Freud, the interaction amongst the id, ego and
superego occurs in unconscious mind. The id is in search for pleasure, the
superego tries for perfection, thus the ego becomes a judg and works on reality
principle. It is safe to say that all three components of personality are in
constantly fighting: the ego delays the satisfaction of the id wants and the
superego fights with both because superego never like the idea of approval. Furthermore,
Freud had reported, the ego develops a series of defense mechanisms to deal
with the conflict. A person uses defense mechanism regularly to control his or
her behavior and personality. Some theory of defense mechanisms is:

 “The repression -burying a pain full memory in
to the unconscious mind, like it never happened; the projection – which credit
to own unwanted feelings or ideas on another person; rationalization – making
up a reasonable excuse for unacceptable behavior and really believing it; suppression
– forgetting a shocking event on purpose, putting it out of one’s mind and
focusing on something else; denial;- refusing to acknowledge something because
it is so distressing; displacement – transferring feelings from one person or
object to another; identification – imitating someone who is admired and
modelling oneself on them; reaction formation – consciously substituting the
opposite emotion for true feelings about someone/something.”

Freud believed that conflict is the primary cause of human
anxiety and unhappiness. The defense mechanisms help us to deal with our inner
conflict, when defense mechanism does not response properly then people suffer
from abnormal behavior.

Out of all repression is the most important based on Freud’s
theory “when a person experiences an instinctual impulse to behave in a manner
which the super-ego deems to be reprehensible then it is
possible for the mind to push this impulse away, to repress it into
the unconscious.” (Beystehner) Therefore, repression
is one of central mechanism which allows ego to avoid internal conflict and pain;
it had settle the reality with the demand of both id and super-ego.

Freud was a physician, although he saw the psychological
growth based on the physical growth. According to Fraud there are five stages
of psychological development in unconscious mind. Freud believed that during
the first five years of life, everyone goes through several developmental
stages which affects their personality, he called these periods psychosexual
stages. During each stage, the pleasure-seeking impulses of the id focus on a
particular part of the body and derive pleasure from the activity that relates
to that area.

Consequently, Freud called the first stage “oral stage” of
psychosexual development. During the first 18 months, infants derive pleasure
from nursing and sucking: they explore everything through their mouth. The
second stage called anal stage, between the age of 18 months to 3 years, children
have their first experience of control in the form of their toilet training. The
third stage is called phallic stage, from about age 3 to age 6, children focus
on their genitals, they observe the differences between males and females and
may direct their awakening sexual impulses toward the parent of the opposite
sex. It is at this stage that children have to resolve the Oedipus and Electra
complexes. A latency period follows the end of the phallic stage, during which
children become less concerned with their bodies and turn their attention to
the skills needed for coping with the environment. The last stage, the genital
stage, occurs during adolescence, where young people begin to turn their sexual
interests toward others and to love in a more mature way.


Freud felt that when the needs of each stage are not
fulfilled then it could result into “fixation” means person’s mind is stuck on
that stage, thus person unconsciously develops lasting effect on their personality.
Example, a person who did not have had enough sucking pleasure might become
fixated at the oral stage and as an adult, this person may be excessively
dependent on others and may have eating, drinking and smoking obsession; The
person fixated at the anal stage of psychosexual development may be abnormally
concerned with cleanliness, orderliness, and saving; The person fixated at phallic
stage may have derivative of transgender or effeminate as an adult.

Freud’s discovery of psychoanalysis changed the view of society;
in regards of treating the mental illness. Before the invention of psychoanalysis,
mental illness was considered disease of the brain a physical cause, although, now
doctors had reason to think of psychological causes. As psychoanalysis became more
and more popular, psychology had started searching for inner psychic conflicts
and early childhood traumas. According to Freud, he had an Oedipal crisis, and
everyone could possibly mentally ill. Psychoanalysis has had an enormous impact
on the practice of psychiatry, particularly within the United States, but today
it is observed by medically and academically and stating that theory is almost
entirely incorrect in its origin of the mind. This judgment is based on the
crucial test of psychoanalysis: whether it really helps patients with
behavioral or psychological problems. The consensus is that is does not.
Psychoanalysis in its many varieties appears to have little or no efficacy in
treating mental illness. In contrast, psychopharmacology and cognitive-
behavioral therapies (therapies that simply try to change what the patient
thinks and does rather than analyzing the causes of the behavior), while far
from perfect, do appear to help.

If this is true–and we have a great deal of evidence that it
is–why is Freud still so important? Why do we generally speak of him as a great
figure in Western thought, instead of as a strange and misguided figure of
turn-of-the- century Europe? There are
at least two reasons. The first is purely practical: psychoanalysis has
enormous historical significance. Mental illness affects a large proportion of
the population, either directly or indirectly, so any curative scheme as widely
accepted as was Freud’s is important to our history in general. The second,
more important, reason is that Freud gave people a new way of thinking about
why they acted the way they did. He created a whole new way of interpreting
behaviors: one could now claim that a person had motives, desires, and
beliefs–all buried in the unconscious–which they knew nothing about, but which
nonetheless directly controlled and motivated their conscious thought and



Works Cited
Beystehner, Kristen M. Psychoanalysis: Freud’s
Revolutionary Approach to Human Personality. 08 1998.
Nolen-Hoeksema, Susan. “Chapter 2 Theories and
Treatment of Abnormality.” nolen-Hoeksema, Susan. (ab)normal
psychology Sixth Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2014. 41-45.
Thornton, Stephen P. Segmund Frued (1856-1939).
1995. .