Sigmund Freud, known worldwide for being the father of psychoanalysis, is one of the most influential, but also the most controversial figures of the 20th century, in large part because he established a new approach to the understanding of human personality.
Freud’s theories served as the basis for the school of psychology which rapidly developed to become a dominant force in the understanding of mind and behavior.
The publication in 1899 of his book The Interpretation of Dreams laid the foundations for the theories and ideas that founded psychoanalysis.
Yet, despite being one of the most well-known characters of our time, there are certainly a few curious facts about him that you are sure are ignoring.
We will see in this article some of the most curious facts about this physiologist, doctor, psychologist and thinker who changed the way of seeing the mind.
Sigmund Freud was the eldest of eight children
Freud was born on May 6, 1856 in Freiberg, Moravia (now Příbor, Czech Republic ).
Her father Jakob, 41, was a wool trader and already had two children from a previous marriage.
Her mother Amalia was twenty years younger than her husband. The father’s bankruptcy forced the family to leave their home to move to Vienna.
Freud’s parents had seven more children. However, Freud describes himself as his mother’s favorite, a fact that may prove to be important, depending on his own way of thinking.
Indeed, Freud himself once suggested: “I have always found that people who knew they were their mothers’ favorites displayed a certain self-sufficiency and unwavering optimism in their lives which could often bring real success to those who own them. ”
Freud was an advocate and a consumer of cocaine
Before its harmful effects were discovered, cocaine was often used as a pain reliever and to improve morale (thanks to its euphoric capacity).
It was even used in the composition of ordinary household products, carbonated drinks and throat lozenges.
Freud was interested in the potential antidepressant effects of cocaine and defended its use for various purposes.
In fact, Freud’s cocaine addiction arose to help a good friend, Dr. Ernst von Fleischl-Marxow.
He had become addicted to morphine to alleviate the pain he suffered after cutting himself with a scalpel while dissecting a corpse. The cut caused serious problems for him.
At that time, cocaine was considered to be a panacea for all types of pain, a fact that prompted Freud to begin his research with cocaine as an antidote to his friend’s morphine addiction.
However, the results were disastrous. When the addictive and harmful side effects of cocaine came to light , Freud’s medical reputation was affected, and he was already addicted to them.
Freud became a doctor to marry the woman he loved
At the age of 26, Freud fell madly in love with a 21-year-old woman, a certain Martha Bernays, with whom he began dating two months after their meeting.
But he was then a poor student who still lived with his parents, and his work in the science laboratory did not allow him to support a family.
Six months after meeting Martha, he abandoned his scientific studies to become a doctor.
He trained for three years at the General Hospital in Vienna, and saw very little of his fiancée, who had moved to Germany.
After four years of waiting, Freud married his fiancée. The couple had six children. Regarding the marriage, historians suggest he had an affair with his sister-in-law Minna.
Freud developed “talk therapy”
Even though Freud’s theories are frequently criticized and rejected by today’s psychotherapists, many continue to use the famous psychoanalyst’s methods as the basis for their therapy.
Psychoanalytic therapy, also known as “talk therapy” plays a fundamental role in the therapies of current analysts and has become an important part of many therapeutic techniques.
The use of talk therapy attempts to uncover patterns and significant events that may play a role in the patient’s current difficulties.
Psychoanalysts believe that events that took place during childhood and unconscious feelings, thoughts and motives have an important role in mental illness and maladaptive behavior.
Freud left Vienna because of the Nazis
When the Nazis invaded Austria, much of his books were burned, as were those of other famous thinkers.
His vision on the subject is a bit surprising. It is said that once Freud said to a friend: “We are making progress. In the Middle Ages, I would have been burnt. Today they are happy to burn my books. “
Freud and his daughter Anna were questioned by the Gestapo, and thanks to their friend Marie Bonaparte, they were able to reach England.
Bonaparte also tried to save Freud’s four younger sisters, but this turned out to be impossible. All four women died in the Nazi concentration camps.