(Answered) Psychoanalytic Theory: Sigmund Freud

(Answered) Psychoanalytic Theory: Sigmund Freud

(Answered) Psychoanalytic Theory: Sigmund Freud 150 150 Prisc

Psychoanalytic Theory: Sigmund Freud

Describe the (Psychoanalytic theory: Sigmund Freud) and include the following information
Biographical information of the theorist
Origin of the theory
Description of theory with concepts
Evaluation of theory
Application of theory in research/practice/education

Sample Answer

The Psychoanalytic Theory by Sigmund Freud

Biographical Information

Sigmund Freud was born on May 6, 1856, to Jewish parents in Freiberg, Monrovia. At the age of four, his family relocated to Vienna, and in 1873 he joined the University of Vienna to study medicine (Jones, 2019). Initially, Freud concentrated on biology and did physiology research under Ernst Brucke, a great German scientist. He later specialized in neurology and graduated in 1881with a medical degree. In 1886 Freud opened a private practice dealing with psychological illnesses. This gave him most of the clinical material that formed the basis of his theories and pioneering techniques. Freud escaped Nazi persecution in Austria in 1938 and died of cancer while in exile in the United Kingdom in 1939.

Origin of the Theory

Freud’s interest in the unconscious mind was sparked by the case of Anna O, a colleague’s patient who suffered from hysteria. She presented physical symptoms that had no apparent physical cause. The symptoms abated when her doctor helped her recall repressed or unconscious memories of traumatic experiences (McLeod, 2018). Her doctor, Josef Breuer, discussed the case with Freud and thus planted the idea for Freud’s revolutionary theory on the human psyche.

Theory Description and Concepts

The psychoanalytic theory by Freud points out that the development of personality occurs in various stages, with a particular internal psychological conflict influencing each step. Freud created a model describing the mind as having three features; the conscious, subconscious, and unconscious.  He later revised it to a more structured model that included the ego, id, and superego. The id functions at the unconscious level and involves instinctual desires and drives. The instinct to survive or eros leads to life-sustaining activities. In contrast, a death instinct or Thanatos leads to violent, aggressive, and destructive behavior (Johnson, 2018, p.8).

According to Freud, the ego works to meet the id’s needs socially and is tied to rationality and reality. The superego acts as the conscience, and it develops as individuals learn what their culture accepts as right or wrong (Johnson, 2018, p.9). Freud emphasized that the three parts are in continuous conflict, and personalities emanate from these internal struggles.

Theory Evaluation

Although Freud’s work formed the basis for modern psychology, his theory is considered highly unscientific. There is no empirical evidence to support the theory’s assumptions and hypothesis, meaning they cannot be proved to be true or false (Paris, 2017). The theory was developed from Freud’s personal experiences with clients and not applying a scientific method. The theory is also derived from an unrepresentative sample, one child and his patients who were middle-aged women in Vienna. Thus, making generalizations to a broader population is difficult.


Despite many of Freud’s ideas falling out of favor in psychology, his approach to therapy is still applicable today. It guides how mental illness treatment is practiced by emphasizing the importance of understanding the patient’s life history and listening attentively to what they have to say. Practitioners of arts and humanities have also embraced the psychoanalytic theory and its concepts to interpret and decipher concealed meaning in text and characters and understand history and literature (Paris, 2017).


  • Jones, E. (2019). The life and work of Sigmund Freud. Plunkett Lake Press.
  • Johnson, A. A. (2018). Introduction to Key Concepts and Evolutions in Psychoanalysis: From Freud to Neuroscience. Routledge: 8-9
  • Paris, J. (2017). Is psychoanalysis still relevant to psychiatry?. The Canadian journal of psychiatry62(5), 308-312.
  • McLeod, S. A. (2018, April 05). What are the most interesting ideas of Sigmund Freud?. Simply Psychology. https://www.simplypsychology.org/Sigmund-Freud.html