Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud was an Austrian physician and neurologist who’s best known for being the founder of psychoanalysis. Because of his combined skills as a scientist, physician and writer, he was able to come up with a major theory of psychology by merging ideas predominant during his time with his own observation in addition to his study. Most importantly he employed his ideas to medical practice for the treatment of mental illness. His treatment of human dreams, actions and of cultural artifacts as being implicitly symbolic has had considerable implications in many fields. However, his most important claim, that he had invented the science of mind with psychoanalysis, is the subject of critical debate.


Freud was born on May 6, 1856 in Freiberg, Moravia to Jewish parents. His father, a man with a keen mind and a good sense of humor, was a wool merchant. His mother was her husband’s second wife and Freud was the first of their eight children. At the age of four, his family moved to Leipzig before finally settling in Vienna where he’d live until 1938 when the Germans annexed it.
Although as a child Freud’s ambition had been a career in law he decided to take up medicine shortly before he joined Vienna University (1983). In his third year of study under the directions of German physician Ernst Wilhelm Von Brucke, he began research work on the central nervous system. He would become so absorbed in his work that he neglected his course work causing him to graduate three years late. He graduated in 1881 and remained in the university working in the physiology laboratory. At Brucke’s urging he then spent three years at the General Hospital of Vienna where he devoted himself to psychiatry, dermatology and neurology.
In 1885, he received a government grant that allowed him to spend nineteen weeks in Paris working with French neurologist Jean Charcot. Charcot was at the time trying to understand and treat...