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le_inferno's avatar

How much credit to you give to Freud and psychoanalytic theories in general?

Asked by le_inferno (6184points) February 6th, 2010

Some believe that Freud’s ideas are timeless and brilliant, even if some of his ideas were proven to be flawed. Others, however, think that psychoanalytic approaches to therapy are nonsensical. They have little empirical support, and Freud was not brilliant, impartial, nor successful. He often bullied patients into accepting his explanations and ignored all contrary evidence. Psychoanalytic theories are scientifically faulty (violates principle of falsifiability, draws universal principles from experiences of a few atypical patients, bases theories of personality on fallible patient memories). Many psychologists feel psychoanalytic ideas are literary metaphors rather than scientific explanations. What do you think?

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22 Answers

le_inferno's avatar

There is research that confirms some psychoanalytic ideas: that we’re often unconscious of the motives behind our actions, and the defense mechanisms. I don’t think unconscious processes should be totally disregarded, but to accredit Freudian thought as the main source of personality theories is pretty inaccurate.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Freud was a quack IMHO. Carl Jung was much closer to the truth.

dpworkin's avatar

As much as I would give any pioneer from another age who began a great new area of fruitful study.

One can admire the invention of the assembly line without imagining that a Model T Ford is a better automobile than an Audi.

Also, as far as I’m concerned, On the Pathology Of Everyday Life, Totem and Taboo, On the Interpretation of Dreams, Moses and Monotheism and many other works are still vibrant, accessible, alive and an intellectual adventure.

KhiaKarma's avatar

I feel that his “blank slate” approach to transference was least helpful. I am more of a Carl Rogers fan myself.

dpworkin's avatar

Do You know the old Carl Rogers Joke?

Patient: I’m sick of my life.

Rogers: So I’m hearing that you are unhappy?

Patient: I’m going to kill myself.

Rogers: I see. so you are very upset.

Patient: I’m going to do it right now.

Rogers: I hear you. I am taking you seriously.

(Patient goes to the window and jumps)

Rogers: Whoosh! Thump!

hush's avatar

Freud is an important part of psychology; however, opinions are like assholes. But in psychology, we do not have to agree.

tinyfaery's avatar

Freud made us understand the underlying processes that influence our behavior, but failed to provide a solution about how one can change. In that, Freud is impotent. hee hee

Hydrogenbond's avatar

Again I believe that Freud is an important part to psychology. The theories that he has created that are accurate contribute to psychology as well as the one’s that didn’t, as they produced a collective thought amongst other psychologists to create a better unified theory.

DrC's avatar

Although he was short-sighted about many things (electra complex for example), he did introduce some very insightful concepts. His concept of the unconscious mind as well as the psychosexual stages of development are quite important and applicable. He also gave insights into drives of sex and aggression. He also presented psychoanalysis as a way to work in the transference with patients in order to help resolve issues from earlier in life. We have found that there are much more cost and time efficient methods to do this, but transference is a well accepted concept that is universal. So is counter-transference. The problem is that he himself was neurotic and had difficulty with his own narcissism and counter-transference to see his short-comings. But his ideas changed psychiatry and psychology and are the basis of how we work today.

phoebusg's avatar

Speaking of credit, it would be a good idea to look at freud’s own sources. Not to tout my own ‘horn’ as per tradition, but freud blatantly stole his theory from plato and contemporaries. In some cases down to the letter, and in other cases well—extremely focused on sexuality. That said, he did have some input. I prefer to focus on modern psychology based on proven research, and neuroscience personally.

dpworkin's avatar

@phoebusg What on earth are you talking about? Have you got any citations for your theory?

phoebusg's avatar

I came across quite a few sources, but would have to do this all over again. It’s not hidden or mystical, he does credit his ideas very briefly in his body of work. If you do pursuit it I’d like to know what you found :)

lloydbird's avatar

As much as I would give to The Beatles for their adventures in an untapped field.
Others have since gone on to do better.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I give him some credit where credit is due but his ideas were flawed and are certainly not timeless – numerous Marxist, feminist, and other re-readings have been done of his work that I feel are justified. He, like any person, was a product of his time and we have to take that into consideration rather than accept what he mused upon as stand-alone truths.

Cruiser's avatar

Freud tackled the sensitive subject of sex and humans preoccupation with sex. The detractors as a whole simply refuse to accept or acknowledge how damn horny they really are and that Freud was right all along.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Not much, I think Freud was a quack.

Papeversomniferum's avatar

Freud was a coke head! *Not being facetious, it’s true!

dpworkin's avatar

That’s like discrediting John Lennon because he smoked marijuana. Who cares if Freud was a coke head? He wrote about it all the time.

12_func_multi_tool's avatar

It’s just something to talk about. Worthless unless taken in context with experienced people.

mammal's avatar

Freud was very good indeed, i guess it’s not his fault that patronizing, smug people like to habitually summarize other people with Freudian Terminology.

kevbo's avatar

Watch “The Century of Self” and you might agree that they are profoundly influential. Episode 1 “Happiness Machines” is on YouTube. 2 and 3 are on Google video. Not sure about 4.

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