Sigmund Freud Poster

Biography

Austrian neurologist and 'father of psychoanalysis'. Freud was born to Jacob Freud, a Jewish wool merchant, and Amalia (neé Nathansohn). The family settled in Vienna when Freud was young. In 1873 he started medicine at the University of Vienna, at which time he adopted the shortened form of his name, "Sigmund." Freud served a year of compulsory military service and got his M.D. in 1881. He then stayed on for another year as a demonstrator in the physiology laboratory. From 1882 to 1886, he worked as an assistant at the General Hospital in Vienna. During this period, Dr. Josef Breuer related to Freud how he had treated a young woman suffering from hysteria with 'talking cures' while in a state of self-hypnosis. This is considered the prototype of psychoanalysis. Late in 1885, Freud went to Paris on grant to study at the Salpetriere, a mental hospital, with the famed French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot. Charcot had pioneered the treatment of nervous disorders by hypnosis. On Freud's return to Vienna in 1886 he took up his post as lecturer in neuropathology at the university and also established a private practice in nervous diseases. In 1887 he established a close friendship with Wilhelm Fliess, the Berlin otolaryngologist, with whom he discussed his work and ideas. Fleiss is called "the midwife of psychoanalysis". In 1891 he and his family moved to an apartment at Berggasse, 19. Here for the next 45 years Freud did most of his psychoanalytical treatments on his patients. Freud's first published work was entitled 'On Aphasia, a Critical Study' (1891). Freud first used the term "psychoanalysis" for his new treatment in 1896. Some of his other famous works include: Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905), Selected Papers on Hysteria and Other Psychoneuroses (1909) and The Interpretation of Dreams (1913). Freud was appointed "Professor Extraordinary" of Neurology at the University in 1902. The same year he had also begun to meet informally at Berggasse, 19, with a group of medical colleagues interested in learning about the new discipline. In 1909 Freud was invited to Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, with Carl Jung and Sandor Ferenczi, to speak about his theories. An avid cigar smoker he developed cancer of the jaw in 1923. He underwent operations, radiotherapy and the discomfort of an oral prosthetic device that to some extent affected his speech. In 1930 the city of Frankfurt awarded Freud its Goethe Prize for work that had "opened access to the driving forces of the soul." He was elected in 1936 a corresponding member of the Royal Society of London (in the company of Newton and Darwin). The growing danger of anti-Semitism and Nazi persecution made it apparent that the Freuds would suffer the fate of other Jews if they stayed in Vienna. With the help of US government officials Freud, his wife and daughter Anna were allowed to leave Austria. It was Freud's wish to "die in freedom," and so he did in his new home at 20 Maresfield Gardens, which is now the Freud Museum.