As part of some recreational reading and additional inquiry for educational/academic purposes, it has come to my attention there are some significant issues with Sigmund Freud, the father of modern psychology. From the cocaine use to his deplorable methods of recording observations, from the religious cultism developed around Freudian thoughts to the lack of morals and responsibility inherent in Freud’s theories, Freud appears to me as a fraud. I firmly believe that when psychology and all the attached sciences to psychology drop Freud into the dustbin of history, the science may finally advance. Freud used solid marketing techniques to charm and bewilder the populations into accepting his ideas; but, as detailed by Kline (1984) due to a lack of viable alternatives, Freud became the default position to treat mental illness.
Psychotherapy, or for that matter any of the sciences of psychology, is dependent upon three key principles, the theories adopted by the therapist (Corbett, 2013), the intent of the patient/customer including the desire and the knowledge of the patient (American Psychological Association, 2012), and finally the relationship between the patient and the therapist (American Psychological Association, 2012). Thus, trying to quantify or qualify psychotherapy remains amorphous due to the variables found in the foundational knowledge of the therapist, the human variable which remains volatile (Corbett, 2013), and the patient/therapist relationship. Two people can talk and never help each other; two people can speak, and one can be manipulated by the other resulting in neither receiving advancement, and two people can talk and make great strides in communication and can achieve greatness, all depending upon the intentions, desires, and personalities involved.
The American Psychoanalytic Association (2017) discusses how to manipulate the patient and influence the patient’s behavior stating categorically that manipulating the patient is “not necessarily negative (American Psychoanalytic Association, 2017).” The following statistics are prevalent in the industry Freud built:
- 40-50% of the patients seeking psychotherapy or psychological assistance receive no help by the therapy (Lilienfeld, 2007).
- 10% of patients who sought psychological assistance were harmed, regardless of theories and theorists employed (Lilienfeld, 2007).
- Smith (2012) suggests as many as 1/3 of the patients choosing or using pharmacological solutions to mental illness are improperly prescribed the medication and receive harm.
- The rates of those harmed or who receive no help from psychology/psychotherapy has remained unchanged since tracking began.
Hossain and Karim (2013) provide another major aspect for consideration in understanding the confusion in psychosexuality and dysfunctional behavior, the plasticity of words employed by researchers and theorists. Aleshire (2016) mentions this same problem, calling the problem one of “fluidity in terminology.” For example, communication became ambiguous when the terms sex and gender became sufficiently muddled by community redefinition. Words have meanings, and words should not be mutated, spindled, and torn from the bedrock foundation of their definitions. Diamond (2002) provides simple explanations and reasoning for this discussion, and a careful, and thorough understanding of the terminology is critical to communication.
Kline (1984) sets the stage for understanding psychoanalysis by defining psychoanalysis as, “… essentially the invention of Freud [pg. 1],” and Kline (1984) adds that psychoanalysis refers to a theoretical system of imagining the mind, recalling memories created through experience, and replaying those memories. Conant (1947) stated conclusively the only reason Freud has not been rejected was that there was no viable alternative to Freudian theories (Kline, 1984, pg. 5). Thus, concluding psychoanalytical perspective is left to the imagination of someone to create; more specifically, the industry Freud built was built upon Freud’s fantasy, not actual science.
As an example of Freud’s fraudulent behavior, consider the following; from reading Hothersall (2015), it appears Freud is the first to confuse gender and sex, to make sex the ultimate pleasure, and project adult understandings of sex onto innocent children. Diamond (2002) offers several definitions to aid the uninitiated in understanding sex, gender, and the current mess we are in with our modern worldwide society. Sex is determined by either having gametes or receiving the same and is biologically tied. Gender is the choice one makes to live as one defines in a socially diverse society, and this choice might or might not be linked to the traditional roles assigned by biology. Hence, the stages of psychosexual development from Freud (Hothersall, 2015) are nullified by the agency of the individual to progress, not a biological clock moving the individual through various ambiguous stages or levels of sexual identification.
Since gender depends upon individual choice and societal roles, and sex upon biology, I firmly disagree with Freud as applied to gender identity issues. First and foremost, it appears that Freud was sexually frustrated and projected his adult views of behavior onto children and then tied pleasure to sex and perverted all types of thinking where child/adult relationships occur. Second, gender identity is the choice of the individual in an accepting society; if the community accepts multiple gender-based roles, that society then will deal with all the imaginations of the mind where gender choice is allowed and supported by legislation and social norms. Including the consequences of higher disease rates, suicide rates, and violence.
Finally, freedom to choose does not mean freedom from consequences, which cannot be chosen. For example, I can choose to touch something hot, but cannot choose not to be burned. How long I hold that hot item identifies how deeply the burn will be; thus, how long the hot topic is attached is a choice, but I cannot escape being burned by holding something hot. There are always consequences for the decisions made.
The significance of Freud on anything depends entirely upon whether one believes Freud right or wrong. Those, who consciously consider Freud to have value, will attempt to measure the content of cognitive thoughts, considered as remembrances from the world of illusion sometimes called dreams, apply a thin veneer of conscious thinking to the illusion, and attempt to draw out the meaning. For those who consider Freud a fraud, the entire discussion remains valueless, and dreams are merely brain trash, images to entertain during rest, or some other fantasy to be disregarded by the conscious mind when awake. This is a genuine distinction as it forms the bias behind the conscious and subconscious value placed upon the argument. Delanty & Strydom (2003) consider the evidence crucial enough to include it in their discussion. Freud (1920) realized his debate regarding dreams and dream interpretation would not be valued by all, and in presenting this statement, Freud is prescient.
If dreams are pent up subconscious emotions (Freud, 1920, Chapter 1), one might try to increase one’s emotional intelligence to provide meaning and value. Herein, Locke (2005) provides guidance on both the importance of emotional intelligence and discusses mental processes in a manner worth understanding. If Locke (2005) is correct, debating these images, or pent-up subconscious emotions, with another person (parent, friend, therapist, counselor, etc.), validates the other person’s emotional intelligence. Thus, emotional intelligence becomes a contributing factor in the valuation cycle of the dream, opening the door for misinterpretation due to the listener’s personal biases and desires.
Columbia College (2013), offers one final aspect to the fraudulent nature of Freud, namely, the removal of morals in decision-making and the inclusion of Darwin’s Theory. Essentially, Freud claims that the mind holds ideas from the Stone Age, past lives, and aggressive and sexual desires are inherited traits that allowed a man to move from the Stone Age to the Modern Age. Hence, sexual behavior is nothing more than taking the God-like desires to lift and edify from man through procreation, replacing them with instinctual desires of a hunter/gatherer, and saying go forth without consequences. Because your behaviors are not your own, but your distant relatives; to which I cannot help but proclaim, bunk!
I find myself wondering whether Freud required psychotherapy because he could not tolerate disagreement with his theories and felt secure in creating religious cultism with his adherents, among many other traits and attributes arousing suspicion about his sanity and ability to think coherently. Leading to a question regarding the religious and cult-like dogma of Freud, why is he still famous in the world of psychology? Since Freudian theories continue to be discounted as invalid, why is Freud taught in schools or referenced as a scientific thinker? Freud is a fraud; it is time for him to be relegated to the trash heap of history!
Aleshire, M. E. (2016). Sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression: What are they? The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 12(7), 329-330. doi: 10.1016/j.nurpra.2016.03.016
American Psychoanalytic Association. (2017). Psychoanalytic Theory & Approaches. Retrieved from http://www.apsa.org/content/psychoanalytic-theory-approaches
American Psychological Association. (2012, August). Recognition of psychotherapy effectiveness. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/about/policy/resolution-psychotherapy.aspx
Columbia College. (2013). Historical Context for the Writings of Sigmund Freud. Retrieved from https://www.college.columbia.edu/core/content/writings-sigmund-freud/context
Corbett, L. (2013, December 17). Psychotherapy based on depth psychology is a superior approach [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/e4JQamcq24c
Delanty, G., & Strydom, P. (Eds.). (2003). Philosophies of social science: The classic and contemporary readings. Philadelphia, PA: McGraw-Hill.
Diamond, M. (2002). Sex and gender are different: Sexual identity and gender identity are different. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 7(3), 320-334. doi:10.1177/1359104502007003031
Freud, S. (1920). Dream psychology. New York, New York: The James a McCann Company.
Hossain, D. M., & Karim, M. M. S. (2013). Postmodernism: Issues and problems. Asian Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, 2(2), 173-181. Retrieved from http://www.ajssh.leena-luna.co.jp/AJSSHPDFs/Vol.2(2)/AJSSH2013(2.2-19).pdf
Hothersall, D. (2015). The history of clinical psychology and the development of psychoanalysis. In J. Hadley (Ed.), Psychoanalysis (pp. 2-53). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Available fromhttp://gcumedia.com/digital-resources/mcgraw-hill/2015/psychoanalysis-custom_ebook_1e.php
Kline, P. (1984). Psychology and Freudian theory: An introduction. Routledge: New Jersey. (Kindle edition)
Lilienfeld, S. (2007). Psychological Treatments That Cause Harm. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2(1), 53-70. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/40212335
Locke, E. A. (2005). Why emotional intelligence is an invalid concept. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 26, 425-431. doi: 10.1002/job.318
Smith, B. L. (2012). Inappropriate prescribing. Monitor on Psychology, 43(6), 36. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/06/prescribing.aspx
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