Forgot your password? Register
Discussions about Austria
Sigmund Freud and the Vienna School of Psychoanalysis

Sigmund Freud and the Vienna School of Psychoanalysis

«Words were originally magic and to this day words have retained much of their ancient magical power. By words one person can make another blissfully happy or drive him to despair, by words the teacher conveys his knowledge to his pupils, by words the orator carries his audience with him and determines their judgments and decisions».

Freud, Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis

It is an open secret that the beautiful city Vienna can be considered the birthplace of psychotherapy. A city that remains one of the most important centres of scientific thought in Europe. The Faculty of Medicine at the University of Vienna is the alma mater of Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler and Viktor Frankl. It is their work and theories that make up the so-called «Three Viennese Schools of Psychoanalysis».

There is probably no one who has not heard of the famous Austrian psychologist, neurologist and psychiatrist Sigmund Freud. A man who gained fame as the founder of psychoanalysis, a man who had a significant influence on psychology and medicine.

In 1873, Freud chose medicine when he entered the University of Vienna - he longed for scientific research. At university he studied such disciplines as chemistry and anatomy, but was more interested in psychology and physiology. In 1881 Freud received his doctorate.

Sigmund Freud is justly considered to be the founder of psychoanalysis. Nervous system disorders were a frequent occurrence and quite a serious problem. But the question of how to deal with it remained open. Freud tried to find various ways of dealing with it and realised that the most effective was talking. He noticed that when people talked about their lives in a relaxed atmosphere, sharing their problems and experiences, it became much easier afterwards. This is how psychoanalysis began.

Freud was also the first to interpret and study dreams. He believed that the dreams reflected the deep processes of the psyche that were directly linked to childhood.

At that time, this was a completely new approach to understanding the human personality and it became known as the first Viennese school of psychotherapy.

What is this direction about and what is the school all about?

According to Sigmund Freud, human personality is complex and has more than a single component. In his famous psychoanalytic theory, Freud states that personality is composed of three elements known as «the id», «the ego», and «the superego». These elements work together to create complex human behaviors.

According to Freud, «the id» is the instinctive part of the psyche, which includes our sexual and aggressive drives as well as repressed memories hidden deep in the subconscious. «The super ego» is the exact opposite of «the id». It acts as our conscience, is responsible for the moral aspect and is motivated to do the right things.

Finally, the «ego» - the component of personality that is responsible for dealing with reality. It is responsible for decision-making. This substructure serves a so-called mediating role and resolves the conflict between the desires of the «id» and the «super-ego». This, as well as experiences from childhood, motivate our behaviour.