Freud Lectures Given by Professor Andersen Freud was originally a clinical neurologist. Those types of people tend to get the strangest referrals. Because of this, he developed psychotherapy. He developed the “talking cure.” He advocated getting into the mind to dissolve the problem at hand.
It is sometimes difficult to understand him because there were two Freuds. He had a career over twenty years long where he created one theory, and then he repudiated it. His first theory had a dramatic assumption: If you experienced a profound trauma in childhood, it would basically scar you for life. We recognize this in our culture, and think this way because of Freud. If you are sexually molested by a family member, it would be such a profound betrayal and experience that you would, out of total terror, repress it. You may say there is a four-part process: Anxiety Neurosis Repression Unconscious. Freud made a model of psychological neurosis, based on the women whom he was treating. This is the seduction theory. The problem with the theory is that it horrified everyone. People were saying, “This doesn’t happen among us.” In our country, 44% of girls have been molested by someone by the age of 16. We don’t know what the base rate was in that culture in Vienna at that time. However, Freud later repudiated this theory.
His second theory proposed that women had an unconscious wish to be molested by their father. Because this is inconsistent with other beliefs, values, and whatnot, it created an unconscious conflict, a psychosexual one. So there is an unconscious wish and an unconscious conflict. Even though this theory is also controversial, it allowed him to create an intellectually, logically, coherent model of the human mind. Seduction theory depends on someone’s parent and one type of low probability behavior. It depends on only one phenomenon. The new theory, however, applied to all people, through all time, cultures, and circumstances.
The new theory led to the drive-structure model. The drive is libido, psychosexual energy. It’s about pure hedonism. Libido is at the basis of the unconscious wish. Libido is the fuel for the psychic structure: the id, ego, and superego. If Freud wouldn’t eliminate seduction theory, he wouldn’t be able to talk about a universal drive. Your culture does not matter in who you become. It is epi-phenomenal, not a phenomenon. Freud used to think your family had an impact on you, but then decided it didn’t. What is important? Biological drives.
You are born with libido. Psycho-sexual energy will develop in terms of where it is located and focused. Libido is in the id, so you are born with the id. There is a role for reality in Freud’s theory, but it is minimal. Most of us lust in fantasy and wish. From the ages of 0-2, you are in the oral stage. Energy is focused around the mouth. You suck on things… A metaphor of this stage is taking things in, consuming, etc… From the ages of 2-3, you are in the anal stage. You have pleasure in sensations around the anus. Symbolism is related to control and cleanliness. In the anal stage you have toilet training. This is the first battle you are definitely going to lose. Once training is complete, the result is the creation of the ego.
The ego puts up prohibitions for the id. These two structures operate in a completely opposite manner. The id is about primary process thinking. Dreams are illogical, irrational, not linear, and don’t obey the dictates of time, place, and reality. It’s possible to be four years old and twenty-four years old at the same time. It’s possible for you to be there, and not be there, at the same time. That is primary process thinking. It is largely symbolic. It’s all about wish fulfillment, because it’s all about sex. The ego develops later, and it is governed by secondary process thinking, typically what you recognize as your waking conscious thought processes. The id operates in accordance with the pleasure principle, the ego with the reality principle.
After the anal stage is the phallic stage, from the ages of 3-5. The focus of libido is on the genitals. It is different by boys and girls. Boys realize that they have a penis, and girls do not. The boy looks down and thinks, “oh, neat! I like that!” They look at a girl and ask, “What happened to her? Who took it? Can that happen to me? Will someone come after me and get me?” There’s the realization that she doesn’t have my organ, someone probably took it, and I’m worried. Now there is the desire to have intercourse with the mother, but the father is competition. The aggressor is the father. The boy thinks, “He may chop my thing off. He is bigger than I am, and mom likes him.” So the boy experiences castration anxiety. The panic is enormous. So he does mental gymnastics. He identifies with the father. He takes on his father’s character, to become the type of guy mom would like. This is called identification with the aggressor. Once this occurs, you have a developed superego.
But what if the boy never saw a girl? Freud says it doesn’t matter. It is epi-phenomenal. Freud made his theory biological. You are biologically given this knowledge, or sense. But what if there is no father? There is always a “father”, because there are always bigger men out there.
For the girl, the process begins in the same way. She looks down, but she does not assume her body is in a natural state of affairs. She sees the boy's penis, and thinks, “where did you get that? I want that! I’m ruined! Someone has harmed me!” The girl develops penis envy. She’s angry, defaced, and feels inferior. She thinks that mom probably took it. “Dad probably has one, and I want to have sex with him, so that I can have a penis in that sense, and even get pregnant, have a male child, and really have a penis of my own.” However, the girl is afraid of her mother’s revenge, and she identifies with the aggressor. In doing this, the girl forms a superego. However, it is different by girls, because they’ve already had the best thing they could have had taken away from them. The anxiety is less, and therefore the superego is not as strong. The superego is the sense of morality. So Freud thought that men are more moral that women. This model is the basis of all personality. It is set into place by the age of five. Unconscious conflicts will define personality, and create seeds for future psychopathology. Even if this theory is not true, it does have an intellectual and coherent quality. It is possible that seduction theory is more correct, but the revised theory is more encompassing.
Freud defined drive in completely biological terms. Because he was a doctor and neurologist, this made sure the model he made remained in his own profession. It enabled him to remain in the domain of medicine. Secondly, by assuming a biological drive that everyone has, one that creates all conflicts, you have a universal model. Culture, community, family, and learning are not really important. Predictive validity is making the prediction that X will cause Y. Freud, however, is completely vague about the nature of X. Reality doesn’t matter for his theory, so it can never be tested.
Psychosexual drive fuels everything in his model. It’s the foundation of his whole theory. Take it out, and the edifice falls. During the psychosexual stages, you can be over-gratified, or under-gratified. If you have a low drive state, you will be over-gratified, and vice versa. This can lead to fixation. There are two types of fixation. One is a strong fixation, and this is a big problem. It is equivalent to a time bomb. It’s latent. It’s like an infection that hasn’t quite spread yet. Later in life, a bad thing may happen, such as a loss. The result will be regression. You regress back to your fixated stage, battling the same demons. You may develop a serious psychopathology. For example, if you are fixated at the oral stage, you may develop depression. The other type of fixation is partial fixation. It is a chronic, low level problem. It causes a personality disorder. If you are fixated in the oral stage, you may have dependency problems. If fixated in the anal stage, you may have problems with control. If fixated in the phallic stage, you may have narcissism. One of the axes in the DSM IV is for personality disorders. Freud’s theory is probably a source for this, regardless of the validity in Freud’s view on personality disorders.
Psychoanalysis is Freudian psychotherapy. The primary goal is making the unconscious conscious. The main technique is free association. You say everything that comes to mind. The therapist says absolutely nothing. The therapist should be a blank screen collecting the junk of the patient. Transference is the process of the unconscious becoming conscious. Transference in his model is all about psychosexual urge. Freud said that patients should be frustrated, because it will help the unconscious conflict emerge. He also talked a lot about psychological defense mechanisms.