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30 Interesting Sigmund Freud Facts

by Sankalan Baidya
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Sigmund Freud Facts

Sigmund Freud, the father of Psychoanalysis, is one of the most controversial and influential persons of all time. His work on psychosexual stages and psychoanalytic theory made him popular. Here are 30 interesting Sigmund Freud facts that you might find interesting:

Sigmund Freud Facts: 1-5

1. Freud was an Austrian neurologist. But he was born in Freiberg, Moravia. In the present days it is in Czech Republic. His family moved to Austria when he was four years old and lived there till the Nazis overran Austria.

2. Although he is known to everyone as Sigmund Freud, his original name was Sigismund Schlomo Freud.

3. He thought that he was the apple of his mother’s eye and called himself as “Golden Siggie.” He felt that his optimism, self-reliance and other positive attributes were because of the special love he got from his mother.

4. He was a polyglot. He mastered nearly 8 languages which included English, German, Hebrew, and Spanish.

5. Though he was a doctor by profession, he never wished to be a doctor; he desired to become a scientist. He joined medicine with the sole aim to conduct research.

Sigmund Freud Facts: 6-10

6. Freud conducted researches on eel and fish and earned a respectable position in physiology too.

7. As a medical student, Freud conducted research on cocaine (which was not considered illegal during his times) and published an article about cocaine’s health benefits and called it a miracle drug.

8. With his article published, many people started using cocaine and it resulted in cocaine plague in Europe and America. This made him infamous and he tried hard to keep himself away from the drug.

9. He was greatly inspired by a German physiologist Ernst Brucke. Under Brucke’s influence, he regarded an individual as an active participant who is heavily influenced by laws of nature.

10. After he entered private practice he learnt the art of hypnosis from Jean Charcot to treat neural disorders but he was not satisfied and along with Joseph Breuer he developed what is now called as “Free Association”.

Sigmund Freud Facts: 11-15

11. Free Association is a technique where the patients would speak whatever comes to their minds and Freud believed that it worked more effectively than hypnosis.

12. He gave more importance to sexual conflicts and considered that neurosis has sexual basis. He believed that early traumatic sexual experiences lead to neurotic behavior during adulthood.

13. He even discussed about child sexual abuse which he called as “child’s traumatic sexual experiences”. However, he considered that these experiences are mere fantasies that the clients believed as real.

14. It is argued that he deliberately tried to suppress this as he believed that if such traumatic experiences were so general then most of the fathers would be suspects to such pervert acts.

15. His theory is more or less like an autobiographical note as he based his theory on his own experiences like the sexual attraction he felt towards his mother and the sexual conflicts with Martha, his wife, which caused a lot of emotional disturbances.

Sigmund Freud Facts: 16-20

16. He presented a totally different outlook to Psychology. Probably the most controversial phenomena he dealt with would be the “Oedipus complex.”

17. According to Freud, a small boy is sexually attracted towards his mother and develops hatred and fear for his father. This is what he called “Oedipus complex”.

18. On the lines of Oedipus complex, his disciple Carl Jung formulated a new concept called as “Electra complex” which is approximately the same as Oedipus complex but here the girl is sexually attracted to her father.

19. He gave a lot of importance to the unconscious and regarded the conscious as tip of an iceberg and the mass that is below the water level as the unconscious. He believed that our actions are the direct result of the fulfillment of the motives of the unconscious.

20. He regarded dreams to be the royal road to the unconscious. In his “Interpretation of dreams”, he gave symbolic meaning to objects and said that dreams represented repressed wishes of a person.

Sigmund Freud Facts: 21-25

21. He formulated psychosexual stages and said if the child’s needs are not met in any particular stage he would get fixated to that stage and he related these fixations to neurotic and behavioral problems in the adulthood life of the individual.

22. His Psychoanalytic theory made him famous and many professionals from varied fields became his disciples. Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, Ernst Jones were few of the notable students.

23. However few of his disciples decided to break away from the psychoanalytic tradition and formulated their own theories on the lines of Freud’s theory. These psychologists were called as Neo-Freudians.

24. Though he gave a lot of importance to childhood experiences and later on childhood experiences became one of the pillars of his theory, he had only one child as his patient/ client. The child was popularly called as Little Hans.

25. Anna, Freud’s daughter, was also an established psychoanalyst. But unlike her father, she concentrated on the ego component of the personality and contributed significantly to child psychology.

Sigmund Freud Facts: 26-30

26. He psychoanalyzed Anna till he was alive. He shooed away any male who showed interest in her. He contradicted his own theory in reality, considering his 18-year-old daughter has no sexual feelings whereas, his theory states that children are as sexual as adults but their energies are diverted to substitute objects.

27. He was addicted to cocaine and cigar. Rarely would you see a photograph of Sigmund Freud without a cigar in his hand. Because of this addiction, he had to undergo 33 surgeries including vasectomy in his last 16 years.

28. Freud’s doctor resorted to euthanasia when Freud decided that he would end the pain of oral cancer and die a peaceful death.

29. Freud’s famous couch was actually a gift from one of his patients when he was using hypnosis as a method to treat the neural disorders.

Sigmund Freud's Couch

30. A person who formulated a radical theory like Psychoanalysis was actually superstitious. He believed that numbers 23 and 28 had significant importance in his life and he even predicted that he would die at the age of 51, which of course didn’t come true.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

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