Freud was born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1856.
His family moved to Vienna when he was four, where he spent
the majority of his life. Although his family was
Jewish, Freud considered himself an atheist. Rumor has
it that he was his mother's favorite of the seven
children. As the story goes, he was the only child
allowed a nightlight in which to read by at night and was the
only child given his own room and extra luxuries to assist his
was an exceptional student, spoke 8 languages as an adult, and
completed medical school by the age of thirty. Upon
graduation, he decided to go into private practice in
neurology. Although research was more his
interest, financial concerns severely restricted this
goal. He was married the same year and he and his wife
had six children.
1900, Freud published the book that started the whole
Psychoanalytical rage that still exists today. His book The
Interpretation of Dreams began the complex theory of
Psychoanalytic thought with the introduction of the
'unconscious mind.' A year later he published The
Psychopathology of Everyday Life where the belief that
there were no accidents in life was first introduced.
The term 'Freudian Slip' (as it is known now) referring to an
unconscious slip of the tongue was discussed in this book
1902 he was appointed professor at the University of Vienna
and his name began to gather world recognition. He
continued developing his theory and in 1905 shocked the world
with his theory of psychosexual development, arguing that
sexuality is the strongest of all drives and that even infants
experience a sense of sexual attraction and neediness.
Well known components of his theory include (1) the Oedipal
Complex, where boys become attracted to their mothers and end
up identifying with their father to gain her approval; (2) the
concept of the id, ego, and superego as the driving structure
of the personality, and the idea of ego defense mechanisms
such as denial, sublimation, reaction formation, projection,
1906 the Psychoanalytic Society was formed and from it other
major theorists in psychology emerged, such as Alfred Adler
and Carl Jung. By 1909 he was known throughout the world
as he traveled to the US in his first international
with cancer in 1923 due to frequent cigar smoking, Freud
underwent over 30 surgeries over the next 16 years. In a
revolt against his theories, the Nazi party in Germany burned
his books in 1933, and when they invaded Austria in 1938 his
passport was cancelled and he was forced to flee to England
with his family. The emotional, physical, and financial
stressors due to cancer, threat from the Nazi party, and his
flee from Austria, resulted in his death only a year later.
theories are alive and well today however, and thousands study
him every day in both undergraduate and graduate psychology
classes as well as many other disciplines that find his
theories philosophical and representative of life. Some
argue his theories remain in place today only due to their
inability to be proven wrong, while others hail him as a
modern day genius and scholar of the human mind.
Whatever your view, his name and beliefs will be around for a
long time to come.