Biography: Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)
Sigmund Freud is a medical doctor and founder of psychoanalysis.
He was born on May 6, 1856, in Freiberg, Moravia. His father was a wool merchant
and his mother was her husband's second wife and 20 years younger. She was 21 years old
when she gave birth to her first son, Sigmund who was her pet. Sigmund had two older
half-brothers and six younger siblings. When he was four, Freud's family moved to Vienna,
where he lived and worked for most of his life.
Freud attended medical school at the University
of Vienna where he studied biology for six years, as a student of the distinguished German
scientist Ernst Brucke. In 1881, Freud received his medical degree and initially sought work
at Vienna General Hospital before setting up a private practice in the treatment of
In 1885, Freud went to Paris where he became familiar with the technique of hypnosis.
Soon, he considered the effects of hypnosis to be temporary and adopted an another method
of treatment suggested by his friend Josef Breuer. Breuer felt that if troubled patients
were encouraged to talk freely their symptoms would eventually subside - thus there was the
term "free association." Freud and Breur continued to work together and developed the idea
that many phobias were caused by painful childhood experiences. The two doctors formulated
that a patient needed to confront these past issues in order to let go of the phobia.
They published their theory in Studies in Hysteria (1894), and their findings were considered
to be revolutionary.
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