Sigmund Freud (May 6, 1856 to September 23, 1939) was an Austrian neurologist who developed psychoanalysis, a method through which an analyst unpacks unconscious conflicts based on the free associations, dreams and fantasies of the patient. His theories on child sexuality, libido and the ego, among other topics, were some of the most influential academic concepts of the 20th century. [Freud’s theory of neurosis and approach to psychoanalysis is almost universally rejected since the 1960s and has largely been superseded by other forms of therapy. ~Rex]
Although devoted to the mental well-being of others, he was plagued with problems of his own. He had a travel phobia. He would faint in the presence of gifted male friends. And he was addicted to cigars–25 or 30 a day–an addiction that would eventually take his life. He was called the “doctor of love” but admitted he never understood women. He called them “The Dark Continent.”
Despite his shortcomings, his radical approach to treating mental illness profoundly shaped our age.
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