Sigmund Freud. One of the founding fathers of psychoanalysis, a neurobiologist and influential figure who lived from 1856 to 1939. In psychological discourse, Freud is looked at through a sceptical lense. After all, he came up with some dubiose theories. Many of themnot being falsifiable – meaning that scientists can not disprove them – and therefore not prove them, either. Testing is one of the main focuses of science and without it, there would be lots of wild theories without having any sort of objective standards. Falsifiability is what distinguished science from pseudo-science, where the focus is on proving something to be right. Anyway, let’s get back to Sigmund Freud and how he inspired me to write this article.

If you ever heard about the oedipus complex or penis envy – he is the man who came up with this theory. Some of the words he used to explain phenomena are used in todays language; the Freudian Slip, libido, repression and denial – to name only a few. It was Sigmund Freud who explored the unconscious mind and it was he who proposed that trauma manifests itself as physical symptoms within the body. The theory has been pretty much shown to be true, read “The body keeps the score” to understand how trauma manifests itself within the body.

Sigmund Freud and the “Id, Ego and Superego”

Freud influenced human thinking a lot and is still cited in discussions. It was him who suggested that the human mind consist of the “Id, Ego and Superego”; also referred to as the unconscious, subconscious and conscious. The “Id” is part of the unconscious that comprises our instincts, desires and sometimes what we suppress. The subconscious are what we could be aware of if we paid attention to it. And the conscious is the mental activity we know about. The theory has been further developed by Carl Gustav Jung, who is one of my favorite figures within the psychology as he researched a lot about archetypes and symbolism, my key interests. I will write about him in another article, you may want to read this one about Goddesses and the Archetypes.

Sigmund Freud proposed that the conscious mind are our thoughts and perceptions, it is the tip of the iceberg. The subconscious lief right underneath the surface and consists of stored knowledge and our memories. The “Id” is for the most part what we deny in ourselves; Our sexual instincts, aggression, irrational wishes, desires, fears, selfish needs an immoral urges. It is, in short, everything that is undesired within society. According to Freud, conscious, subconscious and unconscious mind are inevitably in conflict which results in defense mechanisms such as denial, projection (I wrote about it here), repression and/or displacement. Especially in the time he lived, the Victorian Era, women were forced to suppress their impulses and sexual desires, resulting in conflicts within women that led them to unhealthy coping mechanism. Women developed “hysteria” from such oppression, which led Freud to some controversial conclusions.

Psychosexual Development

Freuds theory has been that of different developmental stages children go through; the oral, anal, phallic, latent and genital stages.

In order to be mentally healthy, one has to go through each of these stages, otherwise one may develop a fixation on one of these stages, Freud believed.

Read more about Freuds theory of the Developmental Stages here.

Sigmund Freud and Dream Interpretation

Sigmund Freud interpreted dreams as well, believing that they hold important messages stored within the unconscious. Through dreams, a person receives messages in the form of symbols that can be interpret when awake.

I used to interpret my dreams for a while and was surprised by the symbols that accurately described my current state. After a dirty break up I found myself in nightmares where I was bitten by a huge dog with an impressively strong jaw. I had to fight the dog so it would not kill me (which in and of itself was very painful for me, as I adore dogs). After waking up, I looked up the dymbolic meaning of a dog and found that it stands for the masculine. My interpretation of the dream, being that I was in conflict with “the masculine” and a man in particular, had been revealing to me. Interpretation of ones dream is fascinating, and although it has not been proven to always be accurate, it is fun and teaches us a lot about ourselves. May it be in what we dream, how we dream, or how we interpret our own messages.

Sigmund Freud: Classics on Dream Interpretation

What can we learn from Sigmund Freud?

Although Freud is a controversial figure in many aspects, his curiosity and abudance in explanations for behavior is impressive. Some people are quick to jump to conclusion while others hesitate to find theories for the phenomena around them. Freud was interested to find out what makes humans think and act a certain way and he surely has proven to be creative in his explanations. What he taught me is to be creative and to let go of down to earth explanations at times. Isn’t it fascinating to let the mind flow freely, out of the box? The findings may not always be true, or even verifiable, but they surely open up a debate. And in some cases, this debate brings upon much more interest in research.

Sigmund Freud and the developmental stages

You might also enjoy:

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.