Sigmund Freud, an Austrian born during the Habsburg Monarchy, was one of
the trailblazers of modern-day psychology. The american historiam william
johnston sees freud, the father of psychoanalysis, among those personalities
“that one made austria a shining example of modernism in a world that had lost
In his function as a neuropathologist freud came to realize that he had
no clear understanding of neurotic patterns despite his throrough studies of the
human brain. From 1895 onwards he associated intensely with the Viennese
internist Josef Breuer. Both discovered that hypnosis removed neurotic symptons.
The case of patient Anna O. became famous.
By applying this method, Freud came to understand the correlation
between emotional disorders and the formation of mental (at that time mainly
hysterical) symptoms. Through hypnosis as a method of “mental catharsis” the
patient recalls and relives repressed traumatic situations and is eventually
relieved and healed. Freud was now convinced that functional diseases had a
mental cause. In the following he discovered how mental energies may casue
After breaking with Breuer Freid found out that the abnormal emotional
state of neurotics was almost invariably associated with conflicts involving the
sexual impulse. Based on these findings he develoepd his theory on repression
and defense as well as the sexual aspect of neurotic behaviour.
Freud was unjustly blamed with “pansexualism”. His theories created a
storm in meical circles and were often and heavily rejected. However, what
Freud had theoretically taught most of his life was rather a “dialectic of the
sexual impulse” than its omnipotence. After breaking with Breuer Freud carried
on his research work alone. Instead of hypnosis he applied the method of “free
association” with his patients and soon recognized the traumtic impact of early
sexual experience during childhood, seducations on the part of adults, above all
In 1877, suffering from his own neurotic crisis, Freud discovered in a
brave self-analysis that patients’ fantasies and wishful thinking rather than
real experiences play an unconscious role in the onset of neuroses. Freud’s
findings broke new ground in often misinterpreted areas like infantile sexuality
and led to a completely new and expanded understanding of sexuality. His
epochal achievement was to help prove the existence of the psyche as an
independent system. In “Traumdeutung”/”The interpretation of dreams” published
in 1900, freud inveiled the dream as a disguised fulfillment of repressed wishes.
Within the European culture and civilization was a sensational dsclosure of
Freud’s (sometimes also personal) fight for self-realization and truth.
With his thoughts, Frued not only influenced psychology but also modern
time’s conception ofthe world. His principles advanced the technique of
psychoanalysis, with himself as his first patient. He was successful in
overcoming inhibitions as to the logic of his own throughs as well as to the
general prudery of his time. Without blaming other people he succeeded in
finding clear solutions for any human problems with the help of psychoanalysis.
According to his motto “where id was ego will develop” he succeeded in creating
harmony in the individual person – the precondition for a reatively free life.
According to Freud, failing to achieve self-awareness was not so much caused by
the natural impulses as by the bad conscience accumulated. Sigmund Freud was
also a great critic of many parameteres of Europe’s cultural traditions. He
himself never saw psychoanalysis as a dogmatic but rather as a empirici method.
Freud was always open for new insights and theoretcal explanations for mental