Today is a very special day for us as we mark Sigmund Freud’s 163rd Birthday.
Born on 6 May 1856, Freud is remembered today as the founder of psychoanalysis, a revolutionary theory of how the mind works and a method of treating people in mental distress.
Freud was the first doctor to recognise the value of listening to patients in their own words.
He would invite his patients to lie on his couch and say whatever came to mind, without holding back thoughts or memories that seemed unpleasant, trivial or ridiculous.
Freud was one of the most influential and controversial figures of the 20th Century.
His work led him to some startling conclusions about human existence.
Freud’s theories paint an unsettling picture of a mind divided against itself, governed by unruly instincts and driven to repeat destructive and self-sabotaging tendencies.
It is sometimes said that the Twentieth Century human being was born on Freud’s couch.
Perhaps fittingly, Freud’s work took place against a backdrop of enormous social and political upheaval. When the Nazis annexed Austria in 1938, he was forced to flee Vienna. He spent the last year of his life in London as a refugee.
Sigmund Freud’s library, collection and world-famous psychoanalytic couch can be found in his final home at 20 Maresfield Gardens, London (now the Freud Museum London)…
…But psychoanalysis itself is far from being a museum piece.
Freud was one of the most influential and controversial thinkers of the 20th Century. What began on in Freud’s consulting room is now practiced by thousands of clinicians around the globe.
From Surrealist art to Freudian Slippers, psychoanalysis has permeated our collective sense of self.
The Freud Museum is facing major funding cuts.
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