Interpretation of Dreams, Oedipus complex
[Sigmund Freud, Oedipus complex]

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Sigmund Freud's works
The Oedipus complex

  Immediately subsequent to his graduation as a doctor in 1881 Sigmund Freud spent several years in Vienna working as a practical psychologist and lecturer in psychology. In 1885 a government grant facilitated the spending a number of months in Paris working at the Salpêtrière Mental Hospital under the guidance of the famous neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot.

  During these months in Paris he became familiar with the use of hypnotic suggestion by Charcot in the treatment of nervous disorders. His medical colleagues in Vienna were greatly opposed to the use of hypnotic suggestion "treatments" for various forms of hysteria.

  Freud worked in association with another Viennese hypnotherapist named Josef Breuer in the preparation and publication a learned paper (1893) that was later developed into their publication Studies on Hysteria (Cathartic Method) (1895). In this work Freud and Breuer tended to attribute hysterical symptoms to the existence of untoward emotional energies that seemingly arose from unresolved, and conciously forgotten, psychic traumas. They sought to treat the hysterical symptoms by hypnotising patients so that they might be induced to recall or re-enact the traumatic experience producing a effective purgation or catharsis of their pent up, untoward, emotional energies.

  In 1896 Freud coined the term Psychoanalysis to refer to the investigation of the psychological causes of mental disorders. From these times hypnotism was increasingly abandoned by Freud in favour an analysis based upon the patient's flows of thought. Patient's were encouraged to be completely uninhibited by any consciousness of such things as foolishness, repetition, or outrage, in expressing such flows of thought. Freud gave the name "free association" to his investigation of a disturbed patient's spontaneous flow of thought for decisive clues as to the cause of their disorder. (It would appear that in any case Freud was not all that adept as an Hypnotist).

  Freud discovered that people's mind's tended to effectively repress memories of painful events and to resist any attempts to draw any such memory back into conscious awareness. Freud seemed to consider that such traumas were most often related to sex and sexuality. Freud's interest in unresolved, repressed, resisted, mental phenomena led him to be increasingly drawn to the Interpretation of Dreams. Freud considered that his successful Interpretation of Dreams began with one of his own in 1895. He gave this dream the name "The Dream of Irma's injection". Freud also recognised the existence of "Freudian slips" where people's utterances, as seemingly modified by involuntary psychological promptings, gave important clues as to the true state of their less-concious minds.

  In 1899, The Interpretation of Dreams, the book that Sigmund Freud regarded as his most important work was published.

  Freud's interest in the Interpretation of Dreams led him to propose that people were often subject in an early "phallic" stage of development (typically between the ages of three and five) to a so-called Oedipus complex where individuals were erotically attached to their parent of the opposite sex and were hostile to the parent of the same sex.

  The orthodox medical world still continued to regard Freud's work with hostility. His The Psychopathology of Everyday Life (1904) and his Three Contributions to the Sexual Theory (1905), were both followed by increased repudiations by regular medical circles. Given the continued hostility of orthodox medical circles Freud continued to work largely alone choosing to regard his professional state as being one of "splendid isolation"

Introductory quotations
Sigmund Freud
An outline biography
Abraham Maslow
Ivan Pavlov
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Sigmund Freud's works
The Oedipus complex