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A brief background

Sigmund Freud

Born in 1856, the eldest of eight children, Sigmund Freud was a hard working individual who knew several languages and read widely; with particular interest in classical Greek literature, and Shakespeare and Goethe. His imagination was enlivened by ancient heroes such as Moses and Hannibal.

In 1896 he married Martha Bernays, they had six children and their daughter Anna became one of her father’s most dedicated professional crisis_point_sigmund_freud_psychotherapy_psychoanalysis_sexual_abuse_courtesy_of_escapeintolifefollowers.

At the age of 67 Freud contracted cancer of the jaw which required many surgical operations which finally left him with impaired speech and hearing.

As a result of the occupation of Vienna by Nazi Germany, Freud reluctantly left the town where he had lived and enjoyed 78 years of his life. He died in London in 1939, aged 83.

Freud was the pioneer of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, it is from his work where other theorists such as Alfred Adler, Carl Gustav Jung, Erik Erikson,, Donald Winnicott & John Bowlby with women practitioners such as Melanie Klein, Karen Horney, Helene Deutsch, Joan Riviere, Margaret Mahler, Enid Balint, Esther Harding and others.

His work The Interpretation of Dreams’ (1900) created the slow awakening of popular interest.

Although psychoanalysis began with Freud’s self analysis and with a theory based on male experience, important and significant theoretical contributions by women practitioners have been central from the start. Freud himself acknowledged in his last discussion of women’s identity in the 1933 essay ‘New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis’

….Those who insist that Freud ‘diagnosed the problems of humankind’ in exemplary fashion carry no more and no less conviction today than the revisionists of recent years who say he was a resourceful charlatan, manipulating the evidence. In between are those who recognise Freud’s insights, often casually expressed, the truth of which they understand at once in a way that a line of poetry or a sentence in a novel illuminates a thought you almost had yourself, but were never able to frame…Paul Ferris – Dr Freud, a Life

The Psychodynamic Approach

As a result of Freud’s work Psychodynamic Practice began, the purpose of which is to help the client make sense of their current situation, their feelings and thoughts evoked by this situation and of the memories associated with the present experience.

By analysing feelings, images and dreams the client gains deeper understanding of how they relate to themselves and others.

Links are established between the present and the past:

  • between the external and internal worlds of the client
  • between relationships with others and relationships within the psyche (inner person)
  • between what is happening outside the counselling and what takes place between the client and the counsellor

Human behaviour results not only from conscious choices but also from unconscious feelings and motivations. Unconscious forces influence relationships with others, as well as various parts of the self.

The early environment (childhood experiences & upbringing) creates the foundation for later personality strengths or weaknesses, the early perceptions of the child are gradually modified, but are never totally lost, so adults can see others or the world through the eyes of the child within, particularly in times of stress when regression to a child like state occurs.

The vulnerable ego of the child creates many defences to protect the self. These help the person to survive but may distort the reality of the situation.

Many terms are used in psychodynamic practice such as Transference, Counter-transference, Trial Identification and Projective Identification.

These terms can be discussed and explained with any client, should they decide to enter into therapeutic counselling, the client will benefit from highly skilled professionals within the organisation, offering the same results – a person free from fear with an opportunity to lead a more productive lifestyle.

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