PSYCHOTHERAPY - Sigmund Freud - Deepstash
PSYCHOTHERAPY - Sigmund Freud

PSYCHOTHERAPY - Sigmund Freud

The School of Life

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Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis

Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis

Freud helps us understand why our lives and relationships are full of problems and pain. He explains why life is hard and how to cope. 

Despite his success in later years, he was often unhappy. He stated during some research he recorded, "The chief patient I am preoccupied with is myself." Perhaps because of this, Freud gained deep insights into the sources of human unhappiness.

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The pleasure principle

The pleasure principle

Freud proposed that humans are driven by the pleasure principle, which gives people easy physical and emotional rewards and drives them away from unpleasant things like drudgery and discipline.

Freud argued that infants were guided by the pleasure principle. However,  indulging in pleasure without constraints will lead to dangerous, reckless things like never doing any work or overeating or sleeping with members of one's own family.

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The reality principle

The reality principle

Freud believed we needed to adjust to the reality principle. There are better and worse kinds of adaptations. The bad ones he called neuroses.

Neuroses are the result of faulty negotiations with the pleasure principle.

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The personality is composed of three elements

  1. The ID is driven by the pleasure principle.
  2. The superego is driven by a desire to follow the rules and do the right social thing.
  3. The ego has to accommodate the two.

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The origins of neuroses in a child

To understand the dynamics of the three elements, Freud refers to the origins of our neuroses in childhood in distinct phases.

  • The oral phase: Dealing with the feelings around ingestion and eating. We might pick up on all kinds of neuroses, such as taking pleasure in refusing food, or overeating.
  • The anal phase: Testing the limits of authority.
  • The phallic phase ends around age 6. Freud insists that children have sexual feelings and direct them towards their parents. He described the Oedipus complex, where children are predisposed towards "being in love with one parent and hating the other."

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Civilisation and its Discontents - 1930

Civilisation and its Discontents - 1930

In this book, Freud wrote that society can give us many things, but by imposing heavy dictates on us: insisting that we sleep with only a few, imposing the incest taboo, requiring us to put off our immediate desires, demanding that we follow authority, that we work to earn money.

He states that societies function by being neurotic and that it is the reason for wars and other difficulties. 

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Psychoanalysis as a treatment for neurosis

Freud attempted to invent a treatment for neuroses, namely psychoanalysis. He thought proper analysis could uncover what troubles people and help to adjust reality. 

He analysed a number of key things.

  • He looked at people's dreams, which he described as wish fulfilment.
  • He looked at revealing slips of the tongues, we know as Freudian slips.
  • He said we used jokes to relieve our anxiety about topics like death or marriage.

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