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kittykat219's avatar

Are there any works of Sigmund Freud that are not followed/believed today in Psychology?

Asked by kittykat219 (136points) September 11th, 2011

I was just thinking about this earlier.
He is so well known for his theory about us humans being influenced by things we are not aware of. These things usually relating back to the early years of our childhood.
But is there anything else that he came up with that people don’t like the sound of today?

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15 Answers

ddude1116's avatar

Freud’s considered dated in every respect, I thought.

mattbrowne's avatar

Freud is respected because he was the first to point out that intense talks can cure patients. However, at least 80% of his other claims turned out to be false. He’s an early pioneer like Aristotle in ancient Greece who also made a lot of false claims. But this is how science progresses. Great men and women make great mistakes. It’s inevitable.

asmonet's avatar

Most of what he’s responsible for in terms of what people still believe are Psych bullshit your high school friends and those who never take a college level psych course will throw at you. The childhood stuff, the banana in your dream meaning you want to have sex with your mother – nonsense. We’ve moved on. @mattbrowne should be listened to. :)

CaptainHarley's avatar

Can you say “penis envy” boys and girls? Heh!

marinelife's avatar

Freud’s “Studies on Hysteria,” an ‘affliction” that he attributed to women, and which was totally bogus.

stardust's avatar

My lecturers can’t get enough of him. While his theories are considered dated in the present world of psychology, he’s referenced quite a bit in regards to literary criticism.

gorillapaws's avatar

He also falsified his research, bending the facts to support his theories. He had some very strange ideas, but then so did everyone living in his time. It’s hard to mentally put yourself into the paradigm of the time.

Aethelflaed's avatar

All of them? I mean, he’s respected in a “he paved the way for us” kinda way, but also in a “but was totally wrong” kinda way. And the field does a good amount of distancing itself from Freud. When therapists on sitcoms ask characters stuff like what age they were potty trained, and if they’re “angry at their penis”? Pretty much never happens in real therapists offices nowadays (and if it does, get away from them now).

ddude1116's avatar

I forgot to mention earlier: at the time Freud was doing his research in psychology, it was itself considered a bogus field, so he would spice up details in order to garner attention and shock the public. After all, he did need to make a living and he needed notice to do so. Jung did something similar, as well, but he kept his own personal account of what he really felt and released it once he was older and psychology had enough of a following on its own.

incendiary_dan's avatar

The only thing we ever took seriously when I was studying psychology in college was the defense mechanisms. Everything else was too steeped in patriarchal Victorianism.

Nullo's avatar

All of them, I think. IIRC, Freud is venerated not for his theories, but his methods.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@gorillapaws It’s a bit much to say he falsified his research. Falsification is a deliberate process whereby one attempts to deceive. It is more likely that Freud was unconsciously interpreting his observations to accord with his theories. The other problem was that he was often treating people he knew well. One of the reasons this is discouraged today is that the personal relationship can interfere with the observational process. Freud probably heard many stories of actual rape and incest that he played down as dreams and such because he couldn’t believe that people he knew would perform such actions. These are all problems with his research, but they do not rise to the level of fraud.

gorillapaws's avatar

@SavoirFaire it is my understanding that interviews with his patients many years later revealed tons of major factual fabrications on Freud’s part. There are many who believe that he was deliberately deceptive in his findings to bolster his theories, not the other way around.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@gorillapaws The accusations I am aware of are that Freud would continue to promote his theories about the causes of mental illness even when his therapeutic methods did not produce positive results. This is not clearly falsification. I do not doubt that colds are caused by rhinoviruses and coronaviruses just because we haven’t been able to cure them. It is possible to have the correct theory of causation while having an erroneous theory of remediation (or without having any theory of remediation at all).

There is also the fact that Freud changed his views over time when his therapies continued to fail in ways that his theories could not accommodate. So while I think it can be agreed that Freud was not particularly scrupulous in matters of publicity, it is less clear to me that he was dishonest qua scientist. He might have been, but I’d need to see a different kind of evidence than what I have seen to date. That evidence might very well be available. Here I must confess ignorance. The accusations I am aware of, however, seem insufficient to make the case.

mattbrowne's avatar

Today’s psychology has vastly improved. Serious researchers rely on empirical evidence, use controlled studies and look for corroborative evidence from other sciences, such as neurobiology. One problem is that the Internet is also full of documents created by various movements who mainly rely on anecdotal evidence. Examples are the positive thinking and self-esteem movement. Not to be confused with positive psychology.

Anyone can set up a web site and claim, do this and that, hey, it works for me. Therefore we need good science communicators. Telling us about real evidence of psychology. And there is plenty.

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