Freud, Sigmund

   The originator of psychoanalysis, Sigismund Schlomo Freud was born in Freiberg, Moravia, the son of a merchant. Four years later, the family settled in Vienna, and Freud began medical studies in Vienna in 1873, finishing in 1881. He took so long to graduate because he had become intrigued by research in the basic sciences, especially with the work of physiologist Ernst Wilhelm von Brücke (1819–1892). Between 1882 and 1885, Freud did postgraduate training in various departments of the Vienna General Hospital, becoming a lecturer (Privatdozent) in 1885. The winter of 1885–1886 Freud spent as a fellow at the Salpêtrière hospice in Paris under Jean-Martin Charcot.
   Yet, rather than continue with an academic career, in 1886 Freud started private practice in Vienna as a psychiatrist–neurologist, or Nervenarzt (he had never trained specifically in psychiatry). His academic interests, however, continued: In 1887, his friendship with the Berlin family doctor Wihelm Fliess (1858–1928) began, in the course of which Freud worked out the basic doctrines of psychoanalysis. In 1895, Freud published, together with his collaborator the Viennese family doctor Josef Breuer (1842–1925; pronounced BROY-er), Studies in Hysteria (Studien über Hysterie), to which Breuer contributed the case history of "Anna O" (Bertha Pappenheim, 1859-1936), and Freud several case histories of his own. This book marks the beginning of Freud’s seeking the origins of patients’ current problems in remote past events. In 1896, in a paper on "Heredity and the Etiology of the Neuroses," published in French, Freud used the term "psychoanalysis" for the first time, and in the following year abandoned the view that patients’ seduction memories were owing to actual past occurrences.
   Psychoanalysis as a doctrine was really launched with Freud’s book The Interpretation of Dreams (Die Traumdeutung) in 1900. In 1902, Freud received the coveted appointment of associate professor (ausserordentlicher Professor) and thus the right to be addressed as "Herr Professor," on which he insisted thereafter. In 1902 as well, Freud founded the Psychological Wednesday Society, the beginning of psychoanalysis as a movement. In the coming years, such supporters as Carl Jung and Karl Abraham (1877–1925) were enlisted as acolytes, though Jung remained only briefly. In 1908, the Wednesday group was transformed into the more formal Vienna Psychoanalytic Society; simultaneously, the first international congress of psychoanalysis took place in Salzburg, followed by a second congress in 1910 in Nuremberg, and a third in 1911 in Weimar. In the first of many schisms, in 1911 Alfred Adler (1870–1937) left the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society; Jung’s alienation from Freud would become manifest the following year. In 1913, there was a fourth international congress of psychoanalysis in Munich.
   After the First World War, psychoanalysis grew inexorably as an international movement. Psychoanalytic outpatient clinics were opened in Berlin in 1920 and in Vienna in 1922. With the Nazi march into Austria of March 1938, psychoanalysis in Austria came to a brutal end, its practitioners forced into exile. Soon thereafter, the Freud family fled to London, where the Freuds took a house in the suburb of Hampstead. Freud died the following year of a maxillary cancer that had plagued him since 1923 at least (the year of his first operation); his personal physician Max Schur (1897-1969) ended his suffering with several injections of morphine. (For Freud’s doctrines, see FREUDIAN . . . ; as well as specific psychoanalytic terms in their alphabetical order; see also Narcissism; Paranoia: Freud’s view; and Personality Disorders: Freud and the "anal character" [1908].)

Edward Shorter. 2014.

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