Sigmund Freud’s 160th Birthday: 5 Facts About The ‘Father Of Psychoanalysis’ You Didn’t Know

Sigmund Freud, often called the “father of psychoanalysis,” is the inspiration behind the latest Google doodle. Today is the Austrian neurologist’s birthday. Born on May 6, 1856, he would have turned 160 years old. He’s most commonly associated with his Oedipus complex theory and his work exploring dreams and the unconscious mind, but there is much more to Freud and the life he led that isn’t widely known.

Google said that while a leather couch is the most common image associated with Freud, the artist of the doodle chose to use an iceberg to reference “the murky depths of the unconscious mind.” Freud spent much of his time working to discover the subconscious mind and what is stored there.

“A dimpled leather couch might be the typical visual associated with Freud and other therapists, but Doodler Kevin Laughlin instead created this iceberg. With a vast hidden base, the iceberg references the murky depths of the unconscious mind. More importantly, the design draws our eye to the horizon, reminding us how the genius of Freud’s practice rests in the space between doctor and patient, reader and text, human and world.”

Whether you agree with his theories or not, there isn’t any question that Freud had a significant influence in psychiatry and psychology. He is known as the “father of psychoanalysis” due to developing the idea of the subconscious mind and changing the way the human brain is understood, India Today reports.

Freud attempted to treat mental disorders with psychoanalysis, which is a field of psychology that connects the conscious and unconscious parts of the mind. Freud used techniques such as dream interpretation and free association where the patient talks about their dreams, feelings, memories out loud as part of their treatment.

Many people likely know the above information about Freud, but there are a few facts about the doctor not many know.

1. Many of Freud’s books were burned by the Nazis when they took control of Germany in 1933.

In reaction to the burning of Freud’s books, he said, “In the Middle Ages, they would have burned me.”

Sigmund Freud was able to escape the Nazis with the help of Princess Marie Bonaparte after his bank accounts were seized, and much of his research was lost in the process of escaping; however, four of his five sisters weren’t so lucky. They died in Nazi concentration camps.

2. Freud was a frequent cocaine user.

From 1887 until 1900, Freud avidly used cocaine, claiming it to be a “miracle” drug. He believed cocaine could cure mental and physical issues and even recommended his patients use the drug as well.

3. Freud had a large family.

Freud married Martha Bernays in 1886, and the couple had six children together.

4. The term “Freudian slip” wasn’t first used until after Freud’s death.

The term “Freudian slip” to indicate a mistake that may reveal a subconscious intention was first recorded in English in 1959.

5. Freud made the choice to end his own life.

In 1923, Freud developed cancer of the mouth from years of smoking tobacco and nearly died from surgery. By 1939, he was in severe pain, and his cancer was inoperable. Freud chose to end his life, and his doctor gave him a deadly amount of morphine. He died on September 23, 1939, at 83-years-old.

One of the quotes Freud is famous for includes his thoughts on death.

“The goal of all life is death.”

While Freud’s approach has mostly been abandoned by psychiatrists, according to Time, did come up with interesting theories that are still discussed today, including the Oedipus complex and the id, superego, and ego. He also asserted that dreams are the “royal road to the unconscious,” believing that we let go of socially unacceptable thoughts that we have without judgment, as we dream.

Freud once said, “Dreams are often most profound when they seem the most crazy.”

Does Freud still matter? Psychologists today say his work showed more about his own mind, specifically, than the human brain in general. Freud’s ideas have mostly been dismissed thanks to improved scientific research methods of the human mind; however there is no question he contributed important ideas into psychology and psychiatry. Over time, scholars have begun to shift from thinking of him as a “scientist” to an “interpreter.”

How many of the above facts were you unaware of with regard to Sigmund Freud?

[Image via Twitter]

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