Theories and models of behavior according to Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud was a Jew born in the small town of Frieberg Morovia (now called Prebor Czechoslovakia) He was one of the eight children by his father’s second wife. Austrian neurologist and was known as the Father of the Psychoanalysis, who created an entirely new approach to the understanding of the human personality. He is considered as one of the most influential and controversial thinkers of the twentieth century. He was born on 6 May 1856 in Freiberg, Moravia.

In the year of 1873, Freud began to study medicine at the University of Vienna. He worked at the Vienna General Hospital right after he graduated. He worked together with Josef Breuer in treating Anna O’s hysteria by recalling her painful experiences under hypnosis. In 1881, Freud established his own clinic specializing in treatment of the nervous system. He used hypnosis for treating hysteria but later abandoned it after discovering that not all patients could be hypnotized. In the year of 1885, he was a student of a neurologist Jean Charcot in Paris, France. On his return to Vienna the following year, Freud set up in private practice, specializing in nervous and brain disorders. The same year he married Martha Beryanys.

During 1897 until the Post-World War One, a lot of things had happened to him aside from promotions and collaborations with other psychologist, he developed different kinds of theories in which they are connected with each other in terms of psychoanalysis. During those times one of his major works, the “Interpretation of Dreams” was published, and he was appointed as the Professor of Neuropathology at the University of Vienna. After the World War One or the Post-World War One, Freud spent most of his time focusing the application of his theories on arts, anthropology, literature and history which causes him to spent less time to clinical observations. He published ‘The Ego and the Id’, which suggested a new structural model of the mind, divided into the ‘id, the ‘ego’ and the ‘superego’ in 1923.

In 1933, his books were burnt by the Nazis publicly. In 1938, Freud left Vienna for London with his wife and daughter Anna shortly after the Nazis captured Austria. In 1923 he was diagnosed with cancer of the jaw, and underwent more than 30 operations. He died of cancer on the 23rd of September 1939.

3.2 Psychoanalysis Theory

Psychoanalysis is a method for the medical treatment of neurotic patients. Basically, it is a treatment that is done by interchanging of words between the patient and the analyst. The doctor asks some relevant questions and the patient talks, tells of his past experiences and present impressions, complains, confesses to his wishes and his emotional impulses. The doctor listens, tries to direct the patient’s processes of thought, forces his attention in certain directions, gives him explanations and observes the reactions of understanding or rejection which he in this way provokes in him.

Psychoanalysis is defined as a set of theories that are psychological and medical and therapeutic techniques that derives in the work and theories of Sigmund Freud. The core knowledge of psychoanalysis is the belief that all people possess unconscious thoughts, feelings, desires, and memories. By bringing the content of the unconscious into conscious awareness, people are then able to experience catharsis and gain insight into their current state of mind. Through this process, people are then able to find relief from psychological disturbances and distress. The process is already stated in this chapter.

3.2.1 Model of the Human Mind

Understanding the human mind is the core idea of psychoanalysis theory. Studying the division of what is conscious and what is unconscious is the fundamental premises of psychoanalysis, and this is the instrument of psychoanalysis to understand the pathological processes in mental life. The case of the famous patient Anna O. ignited his interest in the unconscious mind, encouraged the development of some of his most influential ideas. Thus, this was his inspiration to study the three layers of the human mind that creates our reality.

Conscious: consciousness is best understood as the awareness of something, this is where feelings, thoughts and focus live. The functions of the conscious mind is that it can address its ability to direct our focus, and its ability to imagine something that isn’t real.

Preconscious: it is sometimes called as subconscious. This is the storage point for any recent memories that we can recall or retrieve. It stores current information that is part of your everyday routine, such as your habits, behavior pattern, recurring thoughts, and feelings.

Unconscious: Here it stores all our memories and past experiences. These are memories that are intentionally forgotten and is irrelevant to us and these are also repressed traumatic memories that have been repressed through trauma and those that. Beliefs, habits, and behaviors are formed through these experiences and memories.

3.2.2 Structural Model of the Mind

This model is more structured and more refined model of the mind. It synchronizes with Freud’s original ideas about the consciousness and the unconscious. Freud believes that there are three parts of the structural model of the mind:

Id: This is the part which functions entirely at an unconscious level and focuses exclusively on basic, instinctual drives and desires. Example, you saw a boy eating an ice cream at the park, you really like the ice cream especially when it’s your favorite flavor. You unconsciously think that you want to his the ice cream.

Superego: It is the moral arm of the personality. It contains the values and the beliefs that the society has been teaching us since the day we were born. It functions as the conscience, so it develops, elaborates, and maintains moral code of an individual. Example, you know that you have the desire to have the boy’s ice cream but you chose not to steal it away from him because you are aware that it isn’t right.

Ego: This is the part in which deals with reality. It is the one that compromises our desires and morality. Its goal is to strike a balance a balance between them by fulfilling our satisfactions that is socially and morally accepted. Example, you like the ice cream but you chose not to steal it from the boy, so you’ve decided to buy one from an ice cream parlor.

3.2.3 Ego Defense Mechanisms

It is already agreed that the ego balances the id and superego to maintain the conscious mind healthy, and in order. It serves as a defense mechanisms for it protects an individual from anxiety and any distress that may occur. There are six defense mechanisms by Freud:

Repression: an unconscious defense mechanism in which it prevents disturbing or threatening thoughts from becoming conscious.

Denial: a defense mechanism that blocks the individual’s internal events from consciousness. If a person finds a certain situation is just too much to handle then he refuses it.

Projection: a defense mechanism involves individual ascribing their own unacceptable thoughts, feelings and motives towards other person.

Displacement: a defense mechanism involves satisfying aggression with a substitute object. The target can either be an object or a specific person.

Regression: when we are troubled or frightened, we tend to behave more childish. This is the defense mechanism that involves an individual to move back in psychological time in order to cope with stress.

Sublimation: it is somehow similar to displacement, this defense mechanism involves satisfying a desire by acting on a substitute, but in a socially acceptable way.

3.3 Tapping the Unconscious Mind

Freud employed several methods to determine the contents of the unconscious mind:

3.3.1 Free Association

It is also called as the fundamental rule of psychoanalysis. Here, patients were encouraged to speak freely and report their thoughts regardless of their relationship to their symptoms. Topics to which patients offer strong resistance provide the analyst with useful hints to problem areas in the unconscious mind.

3.3.2 Dream Analysis

Dreams are camouflaged or disguised thoughts. The manifest content of a dream is what it appears to be, while the latent content is the underlying repressed thought that caused the dream. Forms of dream distortion:

Condensation: when a part of something symbolized the whole thing. E.g., an article of clothing symbolizes a person; one street symbolizes a city.

Synthesis: when an idea contained in the manifest content of a dream is actually a combination of many ideas in the latent content. E.g., childhood pet represents an entire family.

Dislocation: displacement of unacceptable ideas to something that is symbolically equivalent and acceptable. E.g., breast= mountains.

3.3.3 Everyday Life

Freud believed that all human behaviors have a cause; nothing happens simply by chance. Little mistakes such as lapses of memory provide information about the unconscious mind. Slips of the tongue reveal unconscious motives.

3.3.4 Humor

Humor allows expression of repressed thoughts in a socially approved manner. For a joke to be funny, it must contain anxiety-provoking material. We laugh only at things that bother us. Sex, elimination, and deaths are favorite topics. If you want to know what has been repressed in a person’s mind, examine what he or she finds humorous.

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Theories and models of behavior according to Sigmund Freud. (2022, Nov 30). Retrieved July 21, 2024 , from

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