Sigmund Freud Case Study

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Introduction 1. Background of Freud Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), an Austrian physician, has been described as “one of the most influential thinkers on the nature of personality”. Freud was born in Moravia and moved to Vienna with his parents at the age of four. His father was a wool merchant and his mother a homemaker. He excelled academically and completed a medical degree at the University of Vienna. He had wanted to become a physiology professor, but became a clinical neurologist because his family was Jewish and anti-Semitism limited his career choice. When he established a neurology practice in 1881, he began to explore the personalities of emotionally disturbed patients and developed his personality theory over a period of about 47 years. He studied with the French neurologist Jean Charcot, who was a pioneer in hypnosis, and was influenced by the psychiatrist Josef Breuer, who found that encouraging his patients to talk freely about their thoughts led to emotional release and the disappearance of their physical symptoms. After several years in practice, Freud became convinced that the neurosis of his patients was caused by sexual conflicts. Freud emigrated to England at the age of 82 and died of mouth cancer the following year. According to Hook, Watts and Cockroft (p.57), Freud’s thinking has had a great impact on treating mental illness, on “analysing and explaining cultural phenomena”, and on understanding the structure of personality development. 2. The
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