Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)
The Austrian founder of psychoanalysis was born Sigismund Schlomo Freud in the town of Freiberg (today's Pribor) in the Austro-Hungarian region of Moravia (Mähren, now in the Czech Republic) on May 6, 1856. Following religious tradition, his Jewish parents, Jacob and Amalia Freud, gave him the Yiddish middle name Schlomo. When he turned 21 Freud simplified his first name to Sigmund. Although he later became an atheist, Freud always acknowledged the influence of Judaism in his life.
Although he had been born in Moravia, when he was only four years old Freud's family moved to Vienna, where he grew up, was educated, and spent most of his life. Already as a young man Freud began to travel within Europe. He was particularly fond of Italy and he later also visited England (age 18) and the United States (in 1909), a nation which he viewed as “a big mistake.”
From the very beginning Freud's theories and practices have been subject to criticism and debate. That is still true today, but there can be no doubt concerning the tremendous influences of all things “Freudian” on the world and the field of psychiatry.
Sigmund 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), however his interest gradually moved away from the investigation of neurological- physiological causes of mental disorders towards the investigation of more purely psychological causes of such disorders and in 1896 coined the term Psychoanalysis to refer to the investigation of the psychological causes of mental disorders.
In 1899, The Interpretation of Dreams, the book that Sigmund Freud regarded as his most important work was published. Although the orthodox medical profession in Vienna tended to look upon his work with deep suspicion he was appointed as a professor in Vienna in 1902 very largely as the result of the gratitude of an highly influential patient.
In 1923 Freud was diagnosed as having cancer of the jaw. Nevertheless, during the next sixteen years, he remained productive in Psychoanalysis but also in a broadening of his interests into associated philosophical and cultural matters. Freud's subsequently received many international awards and recognitions of his work. Freud was at this time in his early eighties and only survived until September 1939.
"He who fights monsters should see to it that in the process, he does not become a monster. And when you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you." - Nietzche