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Posted on March 23rd, 2013, by

In spite of all the controversies, the contribution Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939) made into the development of psychological theories and contemporary culture on the whole cannot be overestimated. He started a great way inwards the very depth of human personality and gave a solid basis for further investigations. To find a way to treat neurotic and hysterical illnesses, Freud thoroughly studied his patients at the Children’s Hospital. By further research, he found out that many hysterical symptoms were caused by repressed memories of a certain kind. They were virtually connected with some distress, and this distress, in Freud’s view, had certain sexual context. Thus he revealed that person’s behavior and lifestyles could not be explained simply by conscious choice. Instead, he supposed that there must be some unconscious structure in human psyche. “The unconscious has or is a primary process consisting of symbolic and condensed thoughts, and a secondary process of logical, conscious thoughts,” Freud stated (Esterson, 1993, p. 99).

The central moment in the conception of Freud was the prevailing of sexual instincts that being repressed result in various complexes and other psychological affects. Sexual drives were stated to be the primary motivational forces of human beings, their actions and lives overall.

One of the most groundbreaking works of Freud was The Interpretation of Dreams, where he reflected many of his ideas on the Unconscious, and formulated that dreams has a symbolic meaning and this meaning is always specific for the one who dreams. Freud made a colossal account of the dreams because they often could help to discover the roots of the unconscious conflicts. Hereby, Freud called the dreams “the royal road to the Unconscious” (Esterson, 1993, p. 102).

In addition, Freud proposed three concepts of the Unconscious. The descriptive unconscious are associated with “all those features of mental life of which people are not subjectively aware”; the dynamic unconscious referred to those memories that are removed from consciousness in order to protect it from trauma after some conflicting attitudes; finally, the system unconscious deals with mental processes, “organized by principles different from those of the conscious mind, such as condensation сŠ³ŃƒŃ‰ŠµŠ½ŠøŠµ and displacement” (Esterson, 1993, p. 102). Further, this distinction was substituted by the concepts of Id, Ego and Super-Ego.

According to Freud, mental disturbances like anxiety, neurosis, depression, neurotic traits and so on may result from conflicts that arise between conscious perception of reality and unconscious/repressed material. And that is why, to cure these disturbances, it is necessary to bring that dangerous material into the consciousness by means of skilful guidance in order to liberate those discovered effects. In this way, Freud founded psychoanalysis, a clinical method consisting in talking between “the analysand” and the psychoanalyst. Perfecting his skill, Freud developed such techniques as free association, transference in relations between the therapist and the patient, and finally used dreams interpretation as a source and a tool to look inside the unconscious wills. Freud technique became known as “talking cure”.

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