The infamous name today in psychology. Most students

The
study of psychology is perhaps one of the most impactful social sciences of the
twentieth century. Early pioneers such as Wundt, Titchner and Freud started a
revolution to determine the motives of man. How does mental activity influence
behavior?  How does a persons behavior
change due to environmental stimuli? Or how does the unconscious mind influence
psychological disorders? Sigmund Freud is amongst the most well known of psychoanalytical
practitioners for his study of the unconscious mind, and its effects on mental
processes as well as behavior. He was born in the later half of the nineteenth
century, practiced medicine, and is perhaps the most recognized and famous or depending
upon who’s asking, infamous name today in psychology. Most students are
introduced to him in their ninth or tenth grade English classes when they read
the tale of Oedipus. The English professor then explains and has the class
discuss the Oedipus Complex. This is generally the extant of student exposure
to Freud. At the university level, students are given the opportunity to
further study Freud and learn about his psychoanalytical theory in introductory
psychology classes. Psychoanalytical theory is the belief that mental processes
were the result of a repressed, troubled childhood, and sexual urges that went
against societal norms. These mental blockages caused harm in individuals, creating
depression, and possibly mental disorders (BOOH
QUOTE pg 14) To treat this, Freud developed the therapeutic approach to
psychology known as psychoanalysis. Or when a therapist and patient discuss and
attempt to solve the patient’s issues. This method of therapy is still
practiced today, however, one should note that it is difficult to test concrete
results utilizing scientific methods (BOOK QUOTE
15). For much of the later half of the twentieth century, Freud’s
methods of research and theory’s have largely been ignored by contemporary
psychoanalysts in favor of cognitive psychology, or the study of “brain
mechanisms that underlie thought, learning, and memory” (BOOK QUOTE) In recent years however, there have been calls to
further research and teach Freud’s theory at the university level. Two schools
of thought have emerged between the two camps: A. Freud’s theory is antiquated,
and should no longer be taught in introduction psychology classes. B. Freud’s
theory is important to cover in introduction to psychology classes.

Among
those pundits who believe that Freud’s system is antiquated and unfit for our
universities they argue there are three cases to be made. One, Sigmund Freud
and later Anna Freud made contradictory claims on their analysis as the years
went by. Two, Freud’s case studies held little scientific merit. Three,
psychoanalytical theory is outdated, and replaced with the cognitive theory.

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Luis
Rodriguez author of The Sweet Dreams of
Children and clinical child psychologist argues that Sigmund Freud and his
niece Anna Freud’s psychoanalysis of children is contradictory. He notes that
in Sigmunds account in his 1911 edition of The
Interpretation of Dreams is that the dreams of children are often entirely
wish fulfilment, consequently they are uninteresting, and of little consequence
compared to the dreams of adults (RODRIGUEZ). Rodriguez
remarks upon Sigmund’s writings that in a later chapter of The Interpretation of Dreams that his analysis of a child is
complex. That the childs dreams are the cause of a phobia, and that because of
this phobia Sigmund concluded that there may be an “unexpected wealth of
material in the dreams of children of 4 or 5 (RODRIGUEZ).
Sigmund’s continued back and forth points towards an indecisiveness in
his field. Rodriguez maintains that based off Sigmunds reports that he did
little in the way of formulating a technique in diagnosing the child’s dreams.

Anna
Freud continued Sigmunds

The
second, and perhaps most damaging argument to be made against Freud’s theorys
applicability to being taught in universities is that it is unscientific. That
his case studies are more a form of narrative than research. A work of
literature with no concrete data. In the beginning of Mark Freeman’s dissertation
Psychoanalysis, Narrative Psychology, and
the Meaning of “Science” he writes:

This
issue was brought to the fore early on in Freud’s career, upon his realization
that his own case studies read like short stories and that they lacked “the
serious stamp of science.” Consoled by the fact that “the nature of the
subject” was responsible for this and that more traditional scientific
procedures “led nowhere,” he would continue with such writing and, through
it, continue to fashion and refashion psychoanalytic theory. Freud, therefore,
arrived at something of a paradox: even though by traditional
standards—including, on some level, his own—his case studies seemed
questionable in regard to their scientific utility, it was precisely these
studies that yielded the desired insight. Knowingly or not, Freud abided by
what is, arguably, the first and most fundamental responsibility of the
scientific enterprise: fidelity to the phenomena. Given the clear and obvious
value of case reports, it follows that the meaning of “science,” as customarily
conceived, is problematically restrictive and that it ought to be reconceived
in such a way as to include, rather than exclude, the kinds of literary
pursuits that psychoanalysts and narrative psychologists more generally have
found to be so central to their efforts to understand and explain the movement
of human lives (FREEMAN). 

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