Sigmund Freud (German pronunciation: [ˈziːkmʊnt ˈfʁɔʏt], Sigismund Schlomo Freud (May 6, 1856 – September 23, 1939), was an Austrian neurologist who founded the psychoanalytic school of psychology. Freud is best known for his theories of the unconscious mind and the defense mechanism of repression and for creating the clinical practice of psychoanalysis for curing psychopathology through dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst. Freud is also renowned for his redefinition of sexual desire as the primary motivational energy of human life, as well as his therapeutic techniques, including the use of free association, his theory of transference in the therapeutic relationship, and the interpretation of dreams as sources of insight into unconscious desires. He was also an early neurological researcher into cerebral palsy.
While of unique historical interest, many of Freud’s ideas have fallen out of favor or have been modified by Neo-Freudians and at the close of the 20th century, advances in the field of psychology began to show flaws in many of his theories. Freud’s methods and ideas remain important in clinical psychodynamic approaches. In academia, his ideas continue to influence the humanities and some social sciences.
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