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Freud and Neuroses - Essay Example

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Freud and Neuroses

According to psychodynamic theory, neurosis, are the manifestations of one's attempts to ignore unconscious conflicts (Ricker 2006). Prior to Freud doctors and analysts believed that neuroses - metal disorders like depression, excessive anxiety were due to heredity. However, detailed investigations led Freud to believe that it was the malfunction of sexual instincts of childhood or adulthood that was at the bottom of neuroses, "there are grounds for regarding the neurosis as an acquired one, careful enquiry directed to that end reveals that a set of noxae and influences from sexual life are the operative aetiological factors" (Standard Edition, 1905 3: 99). Though some causes like emotional imbalances, physical tiredness, and stressful mishaps, other acute illnesses were more prominent, they were only secondary reasons for neurosis. According to Fine (1962) "Freud's thought in the 1890's centers around one major clinical observation: Neurosis involves a defense against unbearable ideas." (p.12)
Using the concept of inner conflict, which is central to all psychoanalysis, Freud observed two distinct processes, the dominant one that propelled towards immediate release, and the other secondary one that tried to keep things under check and control; these he later named as 'ego and id' (Fine, 1962:13). Freud states that, "The tension between the harsh super-ego and the ego that is subjected to it, is called by us the sense of guilt; it expresses itself as a need for punishment" (Civilization and Its Discontents, 1962: 70). Fine observes the accuracy of Freud's analyses as "the primary and secondary processes, the main trend and the compromise trend of the nervous system, the two biological rules of attention and defense, the indications of quality, reality, and thought, the state of the psycho-sexual group, the sexual determination of repression, and, finally, the factors determining consciousness as a perceptual function" (Fine, 1962:10).
The essay titled "Sexual Aberrations" in the three essays that explicate Freud's The Theory of Sexuality (1905) states that "the tension" created by the conflict, was "to be relieved the libido needs an object" and the object may be anything, including "male and female genitals" (Fordham, 1992:11-12). The ego is introduced through the introduction of an inner conflict - which sets in motion the 'anxiety'. In neurotics however, when the vision of the object is lost, it is perceived as the loss of the object itself, the imaginary sense of loss is thus, slightly more exaggerated. Which loss becomes 'unbearable'; ego is able to keep alive this perceived loss in short, he explored the conflict as two sides with the defense idea on one side and the 'unbearable' idea on the other. And from his investigations he understood that the 'unbearable' idea mostly involved the past of the neurotic patient, rather than a happening of the present (Fine, 1962:10).
Repression and Hysteria
Fordham observes that, "Freud had extensive evidence from the psychoanalysis of the neuroses, especially hysteria and the obsessional neuroses, in which he discovered the so-called perversions that had become repressed." (1998:12). Furthermore, for Freud, the concept of "repression," was very important to his ...Show more


According to Erich Fromm (1944) the field of psychoanalysis transcending the confines off "medical specialty" was largely due to the contributions of Sigmund Freud (1856 - 1939). This short essay shall discuss Freudian theory related to his concept of neurosis, the structuring of neurosis, its relation to repression and the process through which neurosis derives into phobias or hysteria…
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