Sigmund Freud (born Sigismund Schlomo Freud), was born on May 6th, 1856 in Freiberg, Moravia. His father was a small time merchant, and had two sons, Emmanuel and Philippe from his first wife. His second wife was Freud’s mother.
In 1860, Freud and his family moved to Vienna, Austria and settled in the Jewish neighborhood of Leopoldstadt. This is where he spent the majority of his life, though he often claimed he hated the city. He continued to live here until it was occupied in 1938, by Germany.
Freud began his education at home by his parents, before entering him in Spurling Gymnasium, a year ahead of his time. Freud was and exceptional student and very ambitious. He was first in his class and in 1873 he received a Summa cum Laudae award on graduation. He was congratulated on his style of German, and was already able to read several languages.
The professions that were then open to Jewish men were medicine and law. In 1873 Freud entered the University of Vienna medical school. Freud was an excellent student, and in 1881 he received his doctorate degree in medicine.
Freud had wanted to go into neurophysiological research, however money concerns restricted his goals, and being that he was engaged, he needed to be able to support a family before he could get married.
After having graduated from the university, Freud work as a physician and gained much respect. During his training he befriended Josef Breuer, also a physician and physiologist. The two would often talk about medical cases, and Breuer introduced him to a case, that would have a lasting effect on Freud.
The case study was about a patient known as Anna O. She was a young women that suffered from hysteria. She had a nervous cough, paralysis, couldn’t drink water, even when she was thirsty. When Breuer would hypnotize her, she would talk of things, but when she was conscious she couldn’t remember it, although her symptoms were relieved. This was called “the talking cure.”
Freud became fascinated with hysteria, he went to Paris for further study under neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot, known all over Europe for his studies of hysteria and the use of hypnosis.
In 1886, he opened a private practice specializing in nervous and brain disorders. He also married Martha Bernays, they would have six children, Mathilde (1887-1978), Jean Martin (189-1967), Oliver (1891-1969), Ernst (1892-1970), Sophie (1893-1920), and Anna (1985-1982), also during this year, Freud and Breuer published “Studies on Hysteria,”
In 1900,Freud introduced the broader public to the idea of the unconscious mind, with the publication of “The Interpretation of Dreams.” “The Psychopathology of Everyday Life,” were Freud theorized that there were no accidents in life, was published a year later.
With many controversial theories in mind, Freud concluded that the most powerful shaper of a person’s psychology, was the sexual drive. He added that sexuality was even present in infants.
Freud was appointed professor at the University of Vienna, in 1902 and his name began to get recognition. In 1905, the world was in shock, when he published his theory on psychosexual development.
Parts of the Theory include the Oedipal Complex, where as boys have a sexual attraction towards their mother, and jealousy toward their father. Another part included the concept of the id, ego, and the superego.
Freud continued working, developing ideas, theories and writing a stunning volume of work. The Psychoanalytic Society was formed in 1906, and many major theorist emerged, such as Alfred Adler and Carl Jung. Know Known throughout the world, Freud made his first international conference, at Clark University in Massachusetts.
In 1913 “Totem and Taboo” was published. Freud introduced his concept of the death instinct in 1920 with the publication of “Beyond the Pleasure Principle” and in 1923 published “The Ego and the Id”.
Freud was diagnosed with cancer of the jaw in 1923, a result of frequent cigar smoking. Over the next sixteen years he had thirty surgeries, to treat the disease.
By 1933, the Nazi party had risen to power in Germany and in a revolt against his theories, they burned books by Freud, and others. In 1938 Germany took over Austria and Freud’s passport was seized. His fame and the influence of foreigners persuaded forces to let him go, he and his wife fled to England.
Sigmund Freud died in England on September 23rd, 1939.