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Psychology   >   The Ideas of Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud's Biography

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The Ideas of Sigmund Freud

In this course, Professor Henk de Berg (University of Sheffield) explores the life and work of Sigmund Freud. In the first lecture, we think about Sigmund Freud’s biography, including his educational background. In the second lecture we think about the origin of Freudian psychoanalysis. In the third lecture, we think about how the unconscious is conceptualised in psychoanalysis. Next, we look at Freud’s theories and interpretations of dreams. In the fifth lecture, we think about Freud’s concepts of the id, ego and superego. In the sixth and final lecture, we think about the relevance of Freudian psychoanalysis in today’s world of biochemical interventions.

Sigmund Freud's Biography

In this lecture, we think about Sigmund Freud’s biography, focusing in particular on: (i) his place of birth and death in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (in a small village in what is now the Czech Republic/Czechia) and England, respectively; (ii) Freud’s educational background; (iii) Freud setting up as a practicing psychotherapist; (iv) Freud’s Jewish ethnicity resulting in him never being fully integrated into Austro-Hungarian society; (v) Freud’s academic background as a key contributor to his life’s work, inspired by great teachers like Theodor Meynert and Ernst Wilhelm von Brücke, who were both positivists; (vi) positivism as a philosophical system whereby only things which can be scientifically verified are recognised; (vii) Freud's move away from positivism, a move inspired by his work with Jean-Martin Charcot at the Salpêtrière hospital in Paris; (viii) Charcot’s use of hypnosis, which contrasted with the positivist focus on the brain taken by German-speaking scientists and which drew Freud's attention to the importance of the mind instead of the brain, a shift of perspective that was key to Freud's development of psychoanalysis.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

de Berg, H. (2024, January 12). The Ideas of Sigmund Freud - Sigmund Freud's Biography [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

de Berg, H. "The Ideas of Sigmund Freud – Sigmund Freud's Biography." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 12 Jan 2024,

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Prof. Henk de Berg

Prof. Henk de Berg

Sheffield University