Sigmund Freud invented and developed psycho-analysis. He also said that sex was the basic human motivation. But was he right? Here is my analysis and opinion. Freud invented the subconscious mind, the Id, memory repression, the libido, and much more. Non-directive counselling evolved from Freud. Others disagree with him though. Sex or food?
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Sigmund Freud was an Austrian Neurologist who lived from 1856-1939. Some rate him as highly as Darwin and the like. Freud famously established the psychiatric practice of psycho-analysis: “talk therapy”. He indirectly created “non –directive counselling” (Carl Rogers et al) and did great work on interpreting dreams. Freud gave us words such as “unconscious mind”, “Id”, “ego”, “super- ego” and “repressed memory”. He was very influential with his whole philosophy. Many dub him the “Father of Psychology”. Freud also came up with the sensational theory that sex drive is “the primary motivational force in humans”.
Only trouble is, Freud was wrong: his psycho-analysis can do more harm than good and his sex theory is flawed
Most of Freud’s theories are great. Yet many scientists and practitioners find some fault with them. Hans Eysenck (the I.Q. man no less) said that Freud, “Set psychiatry back one hundred years.” Peter Medawar declared that Psycho-Analysis was the, “most stupendous intellectual confidence trick of the twentieth century.”
It was mentioned in my Careers work article that the “Cognitive Behavioural” school of counselling sees the non-directive model as too wishy-washy. However, instinct tells me that dragging up those horrible repressed memories (during psycho-analysis) cannot always be good for the patient. A few years back I saw a television programme telling of how some Jews had bad memories repressed during and after The Holocaust. Generally those who kept their memories hidden and “got on with it” did much better than those who were “counselled” (and their memories dredged back up)! It was found that the human brain actively protects itself by burying traumatic memories deep in the subconscious. This buys time for the individual concerned to come to terms with it all, over the years, or just “forget”. “Bottling things up” can sometimes be for the best.
Sex is Not the prime motivator, but libido is
Actually another new word from Freud was “Libedo”, or “Life Drive”. It would seem that he recognised that a human’s first priority is to Survive. It is instinctive for us to seek water, food and shelter. After that, we will seek sex in order to procreate, so that our genes will survive.
Somehow it was the “sex” thing that sensationally got publicised. Again instinct tells me that nourishment must come first. This probably explains why we have such an obesity problem today. Food, shelter, then finally sex. Maybe Freud was trying to get the equivalent of Google rankings – publicity – in putting forward sex as the key. Readers may differ with me on this though. In my humble opinion, Freud was indeed wrong.
To see how Freud indirectly influenced my Careers Guidance work go to:
-you will see towards the end how my counselling was indeed a type of psychotherapy!