Sigmund Freud to the Science

In this regard, Demorest concludes that, “Together these and other theorists have provided accounts of what it means to be a person that all fit within the psychodynamic paradigm, a perspective that holds a vision of people as at their core driven by dynamic forces in their unconscious minds” (2005, p. 3).

Freuds influence on psychoanalytic thought, though, required some time to take hold and many of his methods were rejected outright by the contemporary medical establishment, particularly in the United States. For example, following Freuds only trip to North America in 1909, one psychiatrist believed that, “Many patients were psychotically disturbed and deemed to be beyond the reach of Freuds intellectual talk therapy” (Beam, 2001, p. 94). Not only did others think that Freuds methods were not appropriate for some patients, Freud himself acknowledged their limitations. In fact, Beam points out as well that, “Freud himself thought most schizophrenics dwelled well beyond the reach of psychoanalysis” (2001, p. 124). Interestingly, Beam also cites correspondence from Freud that shows he was “annoyed” by schizophrenic patients, an attribute Freud acknowledges was inconsistent with his role as a psychiatrist (Beam, 2001).

Following a lengthy career that was marked by controversy and innovation, Freud barely escaped from Germany to England (with the Nazis hard on his heels, too — they even burned his books) in 1938 where he died a year later at the age of 83 years (Demorest, 2005). In the 70 or so years since, Freud has certainly not been forgotten and his legacy is vast. According to Demorest, “His impact on contemporary thought is enormous, as his ideas have spread from the field of psychology to the arts and humanities and the lay culture” (2005, p. 66). This lasting impact is due in large part to the holistic approach that Freud introduced that took a number of factors into account in explaining and interpreting human behavior, a defining feature that also characterizes many of the future additions to the prevailing psychodynamic paradigm.

In this regard, Demorest concludes that, “The compelling effect of his model rests in its full-bodied portrait of the human psyche, embracing the passions, conflicts, and irrationalities of humanity and providing a systematic and synthetic analysis of their origins and consequences” (2005, p. 66).


The research showed that Sigmund Freud was born in 1856 in Austria and died 83 years later in England, having managed to escape from Nazi Germany. The research also showed that by the turn of the 20th century, Freud had codified his thinking in The Interpretation of Dreams wherein he elucidated his views about the human unconscious and its constituent elements and how these conflicting forces could be used to better understand human behavior. In sum, Freuds work introduced and popularized a number of techniques that are still in use today, with his most enduring contribution being the use of talk therapy and the notion of the unconscious as exerting a powerful force on the manifestation of human behaviors.


Beam, A. (2001). Gracefully insane: The rise and fall of Americas premier mental hospital.

New York: Public Affairs.

Cherry, K. (2010). Freuds patients and therapy. Psychology. Retrieved from

Demorest, A. (2005). Psychologys grand theorists: How personal experiences shaped professional ideas. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

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