A discussion of their positive aspects in the theraputic context




Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) was born in Freiberg (now Príbor Czech Republic) in 1856. When he was three years old his family, fleeing from the anti-Semitic riots in Freiberg, moved to Leipzig. Shortly thereafter, the family settled in Vienna, where Freud remained for most of his life. (24p10)

Although Freud's ambition from childhood had been a career in law, he decided to become a medical student and entered Vienna University in 1873. Freud was driven by an intense desire to study natural science and to solve some of the challenging problems confronting contemporary scientists. He subsequently became known as the founder of psychoanalysis. (24p10, 6p3)


Freud’s theory from Freud’s perspective

(Freud did not invent the idea of the conscious versus unconscious mind, but was responsible for popularising the concept). The conscious mind is what we are aware of at any particular time and that the concious mind works with the preconscious - which is essentially anything that can easily be made conscious. For example memories not being thought about at the present time, but which can be brought to mind easily. The concious and preconcious are the smallest parts of conciousness overall. (25p15)

The largest part by far is the unconscious. The unconcious includes all the things that are not easily available to awareness, including many things that have their origins there, such as our drives or instincts, and things that are put there because we cannot face them eg memories / emotions associated with trauma. (25p16, 24p19/23)

The unconscious is the source of our motivations eg desires for food or sex, neurotic compulsions, or the motives of an artist or scientist. We are driven to deny (or resist becoming conscious of) these motives, and that they are often available to us only in an encoded form. (25p16)


The id, the ego, and the superego (25p15)

We are organisams that act to survive and reproduce, and all other desires (hunger, sexual desire, pain avoidance) guide the organism to survive and reproduce.

An organism’s nervous system translates the organism’s needs into drives / instincts / (wishs). The translation from need to drive / instinct is the PRIMARY PROCESS.

The Id (25p15)

The ID is a pure demand to satisfy needs immediatly. If the need is not satisfied the need becomes stronger and the desire / (wish) increases such that the desire breaks into conciousness.

The ego (on a concious basis) senses seeks out stimuli (objects) to satisfy the desires / (wishes) that the ID creates. This activity is called the SECONDARY PROCESS.

The Ego (25p16)

The ego is realistic and reasonable. It seeks to satisfy a desire only when a stimuli (object) is actually found.

The SuperEgo (Society) (25p16)

As the ego assists the id it ‘remembers’ obstacles and aides. The mother and father objects define by reward / punishment what is ab obstacle to avoid and an aide to seek out. This record of things to avoid and strategies to take becomes the superego. The super-ego comproses two parts:

(1)    Conscience - an internalization of punishments and warnings

(2)    Ego ideal - derives from rewards and positive models presented to the child

The ‘conscience’ and ‘ego-ideal’ communicate their requirements to the ‘ego’ with feelings such as pride, shame and guilt.

The super-ego respresents society and the needs of society. The needs of society may conflict with the needs / wishes of the ID.


Life and death instincts (24p19)

Life Instincts (24p19)

There are two motivating instincts:

In combination they form the LIBIDO. (Freud placed great emphasis on sex {intercourse and other forms of behaviour} hence the current definition)

Death instinct (Developed later in Freud’s life!) (24p19)

The ultimate goal of life is to be still, at peace and to have no further needs ie the organism has a subconcious wish to die as a release from the struggle of life and to simply not exist. (The Nirvana principle). Evidence of the death instict includes: (internally) alcohol / narcotic use, sleep / rest craving, escapism, suicide, extreme sport, death wishes and, (externally) aggression, murder, cruelty.


Anxiety (25p22)

The ego balances a number of influences:

When these make conflicting demands on the ego it can become ‘threatened’ and overwhelmed. This feeling is anxiety and serves as a signal to the ego that its survival (and the survival of the whole organism) is in jeopardy.

There are three types of anxiety:

(1)    realistic anxiety (25p22)

a.      Fear that is a normal response to a stimuli.

(1)    moral anxiety (25p22)

a.      This is what we feel when the threat comes from the internalized social world of the superego eg shame, guilt and the fear of being punished.

(1)    neurotic anxiety (25p22)

a.      This is the fear of being overwhelmed by impulses from the id eg the fear of losing control. (Neurotic or nervous anxiety intrigued Freud most).

Ego defense mechanisms (25p20, 24p35)

When anxiety becomes ovewhelming the ego defends itself  by blocking the implses or distorting them into a less threatening form. Methods include:

o      Unconcious blocking of external events from awareness such that reality is disregarded regardless of consequence.

o      Unconcious refusal to recall a threatening situation / event / person / experience. Which may subsequently resurface in the presence of a trigger stimuli.

o      Unconciously attempting to protect by denial of desire eg not eating and anorexics.

o      Unconciously removing the emotion from a situation / event.

o      Unconcious redirection of an impulse onto a substitute target eg mother hatred to women hatred, abuse of self when the person becomes their own substitute target (depression).

o      Unconciously seeing your own (possibly hidden) unacceptable desires in others eg lust becomes jealousy. Altruistic surrender is when the desires are fulfilled by having others act them out.

o      Changing an unacceptable impulse into its opposite eg the abused child that runs to its abusing parent.

o      Gestures or rituals designed to cancel out unpleasant thoughts / feelings after they have occurred eg excessive washing after sex.

o      Absorbing into your own personality characteristics of someone else - eg abused child nurturing itself in a mother like way to lessen the emotional trauma, or eg taking on the negative traits of an agressor - lessening fear by becoming more like that which is feared.

o      Moving back in psychological time when faced with a situation ie becoming more child like when stressed or to a time when we felt safe and secure.

o      Cognitive distortion of ‘the facts’ to make an event / impulse appear less threatening eg making excuses.

o      Transformation of an unacceptable impulse / desire into a socially acceptable form eg hostility into a productive war hero, sexual desire into any creative activity.

Note: Defenses can be seen as a combination of denial or repression with any number of rationalionalisations. All defenses insulate the individual from reality and have a tendency to break down over time. In general they are not positive in excess but are essential in moderation.


Stages of Development (25p12)

The sex drive is the most important motivating force and nurologically exists from birth when sex is defined as ranging from intercourse to deriving tactile pleasure from the skin.

At diffenrent times in our lives we derive differing levels of pleasure from our skin:

o      0-18 months - sucking, especially breasts / biting

o      18 months-3 - anal pleasure from holding in and letting go

o      3-4+ - genitalia rubbing / touching - masturbation

o      5-7 to puberty (12) - sexual impulse is suppressed to enable learning

o      puberty + - sexual intercourse

Note: (Freud felt that eg masturbation, oral sex acceptable to adults today, were immature. Freudians believe that we all go through each stage, in the stated order, and at the appropriate ages ranges which differs from the reality of today’s society).


The Oedipal crisis (25p10)

Each stage has a task associated with it:

Male version (25p10)

Female version (25p10)

(Note: The girl cannot have castration anxiety since she does not have a penis. Freud felt that this lack of fear accounted for what he perceived as women’s lack of morality and increased homosexual potential).


Character (25p12)

(1)    Experiences as we grow up contribute to personality / character as an adult.

(2)    Traumatic experiences therefore have a significant impact particularly when encountered during one of the ‘standard’ developmental stages.

(3)    Extremes lead to extremes.

Fixation (25p12)

Difficulties encountered completing one of the stage tasks leads to the retention of child-like habits and the fixation of development at that particular stage. Fixation at each stage results in different effects on character / personality.

0-8 months (25p12)

Frustrated suckling - development of an oral / passive character ie incresded dependence on others with an interest retains in oral gratification eg smoking, drinking, eating seeking to compensate for missed pleasures.

5-8 months (25p12)

Teething begins and nipple biting leads to early cessation of breast feeding. This leads to the development of an oral-aggressive personality as typified by gum chewing, pencil chewing and nail biting. There is potential for the person to be argumentative and verbally abusive.

Anal stage (25p13)

Fascination with bodily functions. Change from uncontrolled excretion to parentally controlled excretion. Parental pleasure expressed on defecation. Either the child or the parent can be ‘in control’ of the process:

Phallic personality types (25p12)

(1)    Boy rejected by mother & threatened by very masculine father -> poor self  worth re sexuality, possibly withdrawn, possibly low hetrosexual activity or the reverse but as an ‘act’

(2)    Girl rejected by father & threatened by very faminine mother -> low self esteem, shy or hyper feminine and flirtacious as an ‘act’

(3)    Boy obsessed over by mother in preference to father -> over-rated self worth, effeminate

(4)    Girl obsessed over by father in preference to mother -> vain, selfish, masculine


Freud’s Theraputic Approach (25p33/128)


Freud: Positive aspects


Referencing method employed:

(99p999) (<publication><page><page number>)

(99) (<publication>) {for example a non-page numbered web-page}

(1) Adler - Alfred,  Wolfe - W Beran, 6th Edition, 1946, George Allen and Unwin, London

(2) Arpaia - Joseph, Rapgay - Lopsang, 1999, Tibetan Wisdom for Western Life, Beyond Words, USA

(3) Battino - Rubin / South - Thomas, 1999, Ericksonian Approaches, Crown House, Camarthen Wales

(4) Cronin, Denis, 1980, Anxiety, Depression and Phobias, Granada, London

(5) Curwen - Bernie, Palmer - Stephen, Ruddell - Peter, Brief Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 2000, Sage, London

(6) Davenport, GC, 1998, 2nd Edition, Essential Psychology, Collins, London

(7) Farrel, BA, The Standing of Psychoanalysis, Oxford University Press, London

(8) Hammond - D Corydon, 1990, Handbook of Hypnotic Suggestions and Metaphors, American Society of Clinical Hypnosis - The, USA

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(10) Johnson, Deborah G, Ethics, 1985, Precntice Hall, New Jersey

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(12) Lindenfield, Gael, 1986, Assert Yourself, Thorsons Publishing Group, UK

(13) Lunzer, Dr E A, 1968, The Regulation of Behaviour, Staples Press, London

(14) O'Connor - J, McDermott Ian, 1996, Princliples of NLP, Thorsons, California USA

(15) Pratt - GJ, Wood - DP, Alman - BM, 1984, A Clinical Hypnosis Primer, Associated Press, California USA

(16) Rinpoche - Akong TalKu, 1994, Taming the Tiger, Rider, London

(17) Wolpe, Joseph, 1990, 4th Edition, The Practice of Behaviour Therapy, Pergamon Press, New York

(18) Wolpe, J, (1958), Psychotherapy by Reciprocal Inhibition, Stanford, Stanford University Press, USA

(19) Wolpe - J, Lazarus - A, 1966, Behavior Therapy Technique, Pergamon Press, New York

(20) Bass, Bernard M, Leadership, 1960, Psychology and Organisational Behaviour, Harper International, New York USA

(21) Steiner - D, Fishbein - M, 1966, Current Studies in Social Psycolology, Holt - Rinehart and Wilson Inc, New York USA

(22) Storr, Anthony, 1998, The Essential Jung, Fontana Press, London

(23) Christopher - Elphis, McFarland Solomon - Hester, 2000, Jungian Thought in the Modern World, Free Association Books, London / New York

(24) Trupp, Michael S, 2000, On Freud, Wadsworth Thomson Learning, UK / US

(25) Kline, Paul, 1995, Psychology and Freudian Theory, Routledge, London

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