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significant contributions OF Sigmund Freud In the field of psychology


Sigmund Freud is one of the most recognizable characters in the history of psychology. He was a medical doctor, a physiologist, and a psychologist. He is known in the world as the father of psychoanalysis and is regarded as one of the most authoritative and influential minds in the field of psychology. His contributions to the concept of psychoanalysis are considered his most significant contribution to the study of psychology.


He was born in the Czech Republic, in Moravia, on 6 May 1856. He was the firstborn to his mother, who was the second wife of Freud’s father. His family, which was Jewish, relocated to Vienna when he reached the age of four.

He showed signs of intellect and brilliance at an early age, so he enrolled in medical school upon reaching the appropriate age. His professor of physiology, Ernst Brucke, had a massive influence on him during his studies. He researched reductionism under Brucke and attempted to reduce personality to neurology. However, he ultimately gave up.

Still, his hard work and extensive research in neurophysiology led to the invention of the cell staining technique. However, due to the limited availability of positions, he, with the assistance of Brucke, went on to study using hypnosis with hysterics with Charcot, an excellent psychiatrist. However, after a limited time acting as a neurology resident in the city of Berlin, he came home and started a neuropsychiatry practice with the assistance of Joseph Breuer.


His most significant contribution to the field of psychology is the theory of psychoanalysis. Freud’s theory and books earned him great fame. However, his work also generated various criticisms.

He created a vast number of theories and psychological concepts throughout his life. He is credited with popularizing the idea of the conscious mind vs. the unconscious. The conscious is what the mind is aware of, whereas the unconscious involves the thoughts or feelings not readily available upon recall. Freud considered motivations to be the result of the unconscious.

Another significant contribution of Freud to the field of psychology is the theory of the id, the ego, and the superego. He says a child’s nervous system is not as complicated as a grown individual’s. He named it “id.” This id is responsible for manifesting a human’s needs, which is known as the primary process. An example can be a crying baby due to feeling hungry, even though she does not know why her discomfort is.

The ego stems from the id and results in the individual searching for means to satisfy her desires raised by her id. Freud identified it as a secondary process. The ego is the source of happiness for the individual and is responsible for keeping a record of the punishments and rewards.

The next is the superego. However, it forms only when the child reaches the minimum age of seven. It has two different aspects: the conscious and the ego ideal. The conscious internalizes warnings and punishments, whereas positive motivations and rewards are the source of the ego ideal. The requirements of the superego are communicated to the ego with feelings of shame, guilt, or pride.

Furthermore, Freud also paid attention to the aspect of anxiety. It results from the conflicting demands made on the ego. Freud classified it into three forms: the moral, the realistic, and the neurotic. Another important concept introduced by Freud was the Oedipal crisis. He considered the love between the baby and the mother as the primary form of love. The boy is sexually attracted to her mother and believes his father is the enemy. As the boy gradually grows, he realizes that he is different from the girls as he has a penis. It results in the formation of the castration anxiety. However, as he recognizes his father as being superior, he redirects his sexual impulses towards other girls. Freud considered that females go through the same process.


Sigmund Freud is undoubtedly one of the most influential personalities in psychology. His theory of psychoanalysis and the concepts of id, ego, and superego form the basis of the modern study of psychology. However, some of his work, especially his theory of the Oedipal complex, has been the source of massive criticism. He is credited with the popularity of basic therapy that is still used today by psychiatrists.



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