Sigmund Freud and Phobias Essay - 2023 Words



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Sigmund Freud and Phobias

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This essay will cover the topics of Sigmund Freud and phobias. Freud is one of the most familiar psychoanalysts. How did Freud influence the study of psychology? How did he analyze phobias? How are phobias acquired? How are phobias treated today? Research was conducted using books and electronic sources.  

Sigmund Freud is one of the best known psychoanalysts. He had very radical ideas for his time. Freud is associated with the idea that psychological problems stem from sexual desire. Freud even hypothesized that phobias are a result of sexual feelings. (Rathus, 2008) Are phobias caused by sexual needs, or is there something else that causes people to have phobias?

Sigmund Freud was born May 6, 1856, in Freiberg, Moravia (now the Czech Republic). Freud grew up a very confused child. His father married a woman 20 years younger than himself. His father had sons that were as old as his new bride. Freud thought his half-brothers were more compatible as a mate with his mother. Freud himself questioned if his new little sister was produced from his father or half-brother. His childhood confusion led him to investigate his own thoughts and the thoughts of other people. (Gay, P., 1988)

Freud used psychoanalysis in patients, which allowed them to openly speak about their memories in a relaxed environment. Freud’s psychoanalyst approach is still used today. Summer’s (2006) states, “Freud found that as the patient grew closer to the traumatic material, repression increased, and the analyst’s intervention was required. As each resistance was overcome, a new zone was reached in which the patient could associate freely, but as that process approached painful material, the resistance intensified, and the analyst was needed to break through the new barrier.” (p. 328) But Freud was not satisfied with just analyzing people’s thoughts. He wanted to know what motivated the repression of feelings.

Freud thought the three psychic structures: the id, the ego, and the superego, could be used to describe the conflicting forces of personality. The id begins at birth and continues until the child is 1 year old. The id is entirely unconscious, and has no regard for rules of society. The ego is the second stage of psychic structures. The child is beginning to see that needs cannot be met immediately. The third stage of psychic structure development is the superego. This stage takes over in early childhood as the child begins to learn the rules of society. The child also begins to be more like his or her parent. (Rathus, 2008)

Freud was very controversial in his time. He believed children’s basic feelings were related to sexual feelings. He defined five stages of psychosexual development as oral, anal, phallic, latency, and genital. The stages of psychosexual development translate into adulthood as well. If needs are not met, or overstimulated during any of the stages, the child will have issues as an adult. (Rathus, 2008)

The first stage of psychosexual development is the oral stage. This begins at birth. Freud argued that breastfeeding satisfied sexual need in an infant as well as nourished the child. By weaning the child early, he or she may have an oral fixation later in life. The anal stage begins at the second year of life. During this time the infant is able to begin to control bowel movements. Freud believed anal fixations translated into adulthood by being overly self-controlling or careless. The third stage is the phallic stage, which begins around the third year of life. During this stage children may have strong sexual attachments to a parent. The latency stage begins after a child has had sexual attachment to a parent for several years. During this stage the sexual feelings remain unconscious. The fifth and final stage is the genital stage, which takes over at puberty. It is at this time that young adults begin to find mates that resemble their father or mother. (Rathus, 2008)... Show More

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