Part 4 of the Contextual Studies Lectures.
I must admit, up until this point I hadn't much knowledge on the subject matter, but after learning of its meaning I was surely intrigued.
Psychoanalysis is a psychological theory and therapy originated by the neurologist Sigmund Freud, it involves the study of the conscious and unconscious mind, encouraging repressed fears, making the unconscious conscious. Freud believed that unlocking the unconscious was key to curing his patients.
One of the main illnesses Freud attempted to relieve his patients from was Neurosis - stress induced disorders, these include depression, anxiety, OCD etc. According to Freud's theory these mental illnesses were subject of the pleasure principle and childhood traumas.
To an extent I reckoned this plausible, but as we furthered into the topic of his theories it became apparent that they weren't all as justified. For example, Freud’s ‘Psychosexual Stages’. From infancy to adulthood he sectioned the lifespan of an individual into five vital stages: The oral phase (0–1 year) -The anal phase (1–3 years) -The phallic phase (3–5 or 6 years) -The latent phase (5 or 6 to puberty) -The genital phase (puberty to adult). He believed that disruption in these time periods would lead to mental illness.
Another one of his strange theories was that of ‘The Oedipus Complex’, the idea that a young boy sexually desires his mother, and therefore wants to remove the competition (the father). But the son fears, that should the father find out about his feelings he would castrate him (known as castration anxiety).
It is not hard to see why these are some of the neurologists more controversial ideas. Suggesting a child is capable of such things is truly disturbing, not only this but clearly far fetched. There is certainly no evidence to prove anything of the sort.
As I stated before, Freud's theories are bizarre and wrong. But when you strip back his theories to the basics, what he is suggesting is that our childhood can mould us as we grow into adults. In that respect, he was right. There is plenty evidence to show that traumer experienced at a young age can manifest in mental health conditions such as ptsd, anxiety or depression in adult life.
It's fascinating just how fragile the human mind is, the smallest happens can trigger the biggest differences in our lives (the butterfly effect). I will be sure to research further into this interesting topic!