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Sigmund Freud:Introduction

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Although Sigmund [[Freud ]] was not the first person to formally study [[psychology]], many consider him the most pivotal [[figure ]] in the [[development ]] of the field as we [[know ]] it today. Freud changed the way [[society ]] has come to [[think ]] [[about ]] and treat [[mental ]] [[illness]]. Before Freud, mental illness was [[thought ]] to result from deterioration or disease of the brain. Freud changed all of this by explicitly rejecting the purely [[organic ]] or [[physical ]] explanations of his predecessors. Instead he believed that [[unconscious ]] motives and [[drives ]] controlled most [[behavior]].
During a career that spanned 58 years, beginning with an earned medical degree in 1881 and continuing to his [[death ]] in 1939, he developed and repeatedly revised his [[theory ]] of [[psychoanalysis]]. Most of Freud's theory was developed from contact he had with [[patients ]] seen in his private [[practice ]] in [[Vienna]]. This type of "[[clinical]]" [[work ]] was a radical departure from the laboratory research that was practiced by most leading psychologists of the day.
When Freud first presented his [[ideas ]] in the 1890s, many of his contemporaries reacted with hostility. In fact, throughout his career, Freud faced enormous opposition to many of his ideas. Those especially controversial included notions about the [[role ]] of the unconscious in behavior, [[childhood ]] [[sexuality]], and how the [[mind ]] was governed (id, ego, and [[superego]]). But despite the opposition, Freud eventually attracted a group of followers that included well-known theorists[[Sigmund Freud]]. (Copyright HultonDeutsch Collection/Corbis. Reproduced by permission.)
Sigmund Freud. (Copyright Hulton–Deutsch Collection/Corbis. Reproduced by permission.)
Alfred Adler and Carl [[Jung]]. Over [[time ]] though, Adler and Jung distanced themselves from Freud and those loyal to him, due to [[theoretical ]] disagreements with some of the core principles of psychoanalysis. Jung and Adler went on to develop their own theories of psychology.
Freud was a prolific writer and published many books and articles during his lifetime. Among the most influential books were The [[Interpretation ]] of [[Dreams ]] (1900), [[Three ]] Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905), The Ego and [[the Id ]] (1923), and [[Civilization ]] and Its Discontents (1930). His combined [[writing ]] fills 24 volumes in the standard American edition of his [[complete ]] works.
Despite much controversy over his theories and psychoanalysis as a [[form ]] of [[treatment]], Freud's is considered to be one of the most influential thinkers in [[history]]. His theories on [[sexual ]] development, although dismissed now by many, at the time led to open [[discussion ]] and treatment of sexual matters and problems previously ignored. His stress on childhood development helped establish the importance of an emotionally nurturing [[environment ]] for [[children]]. In addition, Freud's insights paved the way for [[other ]] disciplines such as [[anthropology ]] and [[sociology]]. Most [[social ]] scientists accept his [[concept ]] that an [[adult]]'s social relationships are patterned after his or her early [[family ]] relationships.
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