Freud and Charcot
Freud and Breuer
The conscious, unconscious and preconscious
The hydraulic model
Freud and psychosexuality
Id, ego and superego
Life and death instincts
Freud and art
Sigismund Schlomo Freud
Born May 6, 1856, in Moravia, which
is now part of the Czech republic. Died
September 23, 1939.
Moved with his family to Vienna when
he was 4-10 years old, because of
money issues and so that Freud, the
favorite child, would get a good
Originally planning to study law,
Freud enrolled in medical school and
studied under Darwinist professor Karl
Claus in 1873
Freud became interested in the biological study
of eels. There was not a lot known at the time of
their migration and reproductive habits. He
spent 4 weeks dissecting eels looking for the
male sex organs
In 1878, Freud changed his name from
Sigismund to Sigmund
In 1884, Freud published an article about cocaine
use. Freud himself used cocaine as a stimulant
to manage his depression and for relaxation. His
psychoanalytical theory has been questioned as
a byproduct of his cocaine use.
In 1885, Freud spent six months studying
under Jean-Martin Charcot, who was one of
the leading neurologists of the time. Charcot
had established that hysteria was
its own disease, not an aspect of
malingering, and that hysteria
affects both men and women.
Charcot believed that hysteria, which was
believed to be a mental disorder, was caused
by a faulty or weak neurological system.
Charcot thought that hysteria and the
causing factor of the neurological system was
Hysteria could be triggered by a traumatic
event, and once started was progressive and
Freud was fascinated with Charcot’s use of
hypnosis on hysterics. Charcot believed that a
hypnotic state was similar to a hysterical state,
and that only hysterics could be hypnotized.
Charcot hypnotized hysterics to induce their
physical symptoms in order to study them.
Freud went on to use hypnosis in his further
work, but disagreed with Charcot. Freud
believed that a hypnotic state was not a
neurological phenomenon, but a psychological
After starting his own practice, Freud began a
collaboration with Josef Breuer in 1892.
Breuer believed that childhood traumatic events
could affect the adult individual, and that a
person’s adult personality was determined by
childhood sexual experiences.
Breuer, in 1880, started observing the
development of a mental illness in one of his
patients, Anna O. Through trial and error, Breuer
found that by hypnotizing Anna and letting her
talk about fantasies and hallucinations, Anna’s
symptoms were slowly disappearing
Because of this process, what Anna called the
“talking cure”, Breuer came to the conclusion
that the cause of Anna’s symptoms were in her
unconscious and that only after talking through
the thoughts, thereby becoming part of the
conscious, her symptoms disappeared.
Breuer shared this knowledge with Freud, and
together developed this new form of
psychotherapy, although Freud eventually gave
up the hypnosis, and used free association.
Conscious (small) - The part of the mind that contains
what one is aware of. One can think and talk
rationally about things contained here.
Preconscious(medium) - This is where one’s ordinary
memory is stored. The memories can be pulled into
the conscious mind, but are not stored there.
Unconscious(large) – This is the dumping ground for
feelings, urges, and ideas that are unpleasant or
unacceptable connected to anxiety, conflict, and pain.
Though these are not readily accessible, the
unconscious has an underlying influence on our
actions and conscious awareness.
The superego represses the ego, which is also
under pressure from the id. Because of the
pressure, things will escape, like déjà-vu.
Neuroses can emerge because of the pressure.
Eventually the collaboration and friendship
between Freud and Breuer ended due to an
argument about one of Freud’s theories. Freud
believed that many of his patients had been
“seduced” (sexual abuse or rape) as children.
Breuer, who believed that the origins of hysteria
were indeed sexual, did not agree with this,
claiming that the number of these cases would
be too high, and that these patients were only
recalling fantasies. Years later, Freud finally
realized that Breuer was correct.
Freud redefined sexuality to cover any form
of pleasure that is or can be derived from the
He described 4 stages of sexuality:
Oral- The stage when an infant gains pleasure
through the act of sucking
Anal- The stage when an infant gains pleasure
through the act of defecation
Phallic-The stage when a child “discovers” it’s genital
organs as a site of pleasure. This is also the time
when the Oedipus complex forms
▪ According to Freud, children go through an Oedipus
complex, where the child becomes sexually attracted to
the parent of the opposite sex. At the same time, the
child begins to feel guilt about their feelings and fear
concerning the other parent.
▪ Eventually, around the age of five, the child resolves its
conflict by identifying with the parent of the same sex.
At this point, the child enters a latency period,
where sexual motivations are not as important.
Genital- This stage begins at puberty, where the
pleasure drive refocused on the genitals.
Id – The id is the only part of our personality
we are born with. The id is part of our
unconscious self, and possesses both
instinctive and primitive behaviors. These
behaviors are driven by the pleasure principle
(to immediately gratify all desires, wants, and
needs). This is not always possible or
acceptable, and will be subdued by the
primary process (creating a mental image to
substitute what is desired, relieving anxiety).
Ego – The ego deals with reality, and keeps the id in
check. The ego is a part of the conscious,
preconscious, and the unconscious mind. The ego
works on the reality principle (satisfying the id in a
realistic and appropriate way). The reality principle
considers the end result of the id’s wants, and allows
for the action to be restricted, made, or made at a
more appropriate time and place. The secondary
process comes into play with the ego. This is when
the ego looks for an acceptable real world
replacement for the primary image in order to release
the anxiety created by restricting the impulse of the id
Superego – The superego contains our moral
standards and ideals that are obtained through our
parents and society. It works to create acceptable
behavior and suppresses the unacceptable (id issues).
The superego gives guidelines for judgment. There
are two components to the superego. The ego ideal
possesses the rules and guidelines that govern good
behavior, and by obeying these, one feels
pride/accomplishment. The conscience contains the
negative of going against the ego ideal. This leads
one to feel guilt and the negative consequences of the
Life Instincts (sexual instincts) - This instinct can
be broken down to survival, pleasure, and
reproduction. These are all part of sustaining life
and the continuance of a species. The energy
created by this is known as libido. Love,
cooperation, and other social actions are the
behaviors associated with the life instinct.
Death Instincts - Freud believed that all people
have an unconscious desire to die. However,
their life instincts keep most from focusing or
acting out this instinct of death.
Defense Mechanisms are the way one deals with
anxiety. Freud deals with three main types of
anxieties. Neurotic anxiety is an unconscious worry
that the id’s urges will become uncontrolled. This will
result in discipline for poor behavior. Reality anxiety
deals with the fear of actual events. The most
effective way of dealing with such an anxiety is to
avoid the issue that brings fear. Moral anxiety is the
fear of going against our own moral
compass(superego). Defense Mechanisms are a
means of distorting reality(consciously or
unconsciously) in order to cope with reality
Denial- Refusing to acknowledge something has occurred or is presently
Repression- Keeping information from conscious awareness(usually
Suppression- Keeping information from conscious
Displacement- Acting out our frustrations, feelings, and impulses on less
Sublimation- Channeling our id”ish” impulses into acceptable outlets.
Projection- Placing our own shortcomings onto another.
Intellectualization- Removing the emotional energy from the anxiety and
approaching it logically.
Rationalization- Explaining the unacceptable by rational/logical manner
avoiding the truth of the behavior.
Regression- Returning to the fixations from the Psychosexual
Development abandoning coping strategies.
Reaction Formation- Responding with the opposite
Freud was fascinated with art. He believed
that artists understand human experience in
a different way than scientists could.
Was often annoyed at the amount of time
and labor involved in the achieving the
psychological understanding that comes
instinctively to an artist.
Felt that he had to analyze why he was
affected by a particular artwork, what made it
call to him.
Freud felt that the thing that drew a viewer to
an artwork was not what others said about
the art, but the intention of the artist himself,
and whether the artist was able to convey it
and make the viewer understand it through
Freud’s influence can be found in surrealism,
which explores the unconscious mind.
Freud was a strange, strange man.
He had many theories that have made him
famous (Unconscious…, Hydraulic, Id…,
Psychosexuality, Defense Mechanisms, Life
and Death instincts as well as art)
Many of his theories are no longer considered
to be the standard.
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