Sigmund Freud is the founder of Psychoanalysis. He was born in Moravia (former Austrian Empire, today Czech Republic) on 6 May 1856. He was an Austrian neurologist whose discoveries are influential to this day.
Psychoanalysis is a set of psychological theories and therapeutic methods for treating mental illness and explaining human behavior. Freud believed that the best therapy was to release repressed emotions and experiences, especially from our childhood. Through Psychoanalysis, he aimed to make the unconscious conscious.
His influence of understanding the mind has got to this day and will probably last for more generations for his legacy didn’t die with him. But there are many things yet to know about Freud, this is why I bring to you the 10 things you didn’t know about Freud.
10. He Was Born With An Anomaly
Sigmund’s parents were Jacob and Amalia Freud. He was the oldest son of eight children. In 1856 he was born with a curious characteristic. He had a membrane covering his head and face. This membrane is known as a caul. Cauls are very unusual. Fortunately, cauls are harmless and can be easily removed. On the other side, Amalia didn’t seem to be distressed by this event, in fact, she was joyful for in the time there was a saying that “cauls herald the birth of a child destined for great accomplishments”. She didn’t get it wrong, did she?
9. Freud Used Therapy Dogs
Freud is known for having animal companions. Well, he actually used them to calm anxiety in his patient. Maybe this doesn’t ring a bell in you since it is pretty common nowadays, but that was the thing. Back then it wasn’t common at all. The idea of therapy dogs was first explored in the 1960s and this was because of Freud’s research of the benefits it brings to the therapy. He used his dog, a Chow-Chow named Jofi for his discoveries.
8. He Also Influenced The Couch Industry
By 1940, the couch industry saw in Freud’s therapy strategy an opportunity. Freud encouraged his patients to lay down on a couch and stare at the ceiling in order to clear their minds. This is actually one of the first psychoanalytic practices. By the 1940s, a furniture company started to manufacture couches that were specifically made to be used in psychoanalytic therapy. No buttons or cushions needed so patients wouldn’t be distracted or increase their nervousness.
7. He Was Interested In The Sex Lives Of Eels
Freud studied zoology at the University of Vienna. During this time, he got engaged with the research of the sexual organs of eels. During an assignment, he was tasked to find the gonads of the male eel. This was a discovery that had tricked scientists for years. He dissected many eels to get to no conclusion. As for today, eels reproduction is still a mystery.
6. His Ashes Were Almost Stolen
After passing away, Freud was cremated. His ashes were placed in an ancient Greek urn that was a gift Freud received in life from Bonaparte. After his wife died in 1951, her ashes were also added to the vase and shipped to London’s Golders Green Crematorium, where they would peacefully rest. But things didn’t end there. In 2014, some thieves tried to steal Freud’s ashes. Luckily the thieves were caught, but sadly the 2,300-year-old urn was severely damaged.
5. Freud And The Hypnosis Experiments
After obtaining his degree in Medicine at the University of Vienna, Freud immediately started to work at the Vienna General Hospital. There he met his colleague Josef Breuer who treated his patients via hypnosis. This treatment really intrigued Freud. After watching one of Breaur’s patients recall repressed memories under the influence of hypnosis, Freud started questioning its effectiveness. He traveled to Paris to study more about hypnosis. Nonetheless, by the time he opened his own office, he realized patients lying on the couch were as effective as hypnosis.
4. Freud Was Nominated For A Nobel Prize
Not once, not twice, but 13 times. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Medicine 12 times between 1915 and 1938, and once for the Nobel Prize in Literature. But never was considered fit to win any. This is because critics stated that psychoanalysis was an unproven practice. However, he was given the Goethe Prize in 1930 but wasn’t unable to receive it because at the time he was ill with cancer. His daughter, Anna, traveled to Germany to accept it on his father’s behalf.
3. Freud’s Death Was An Assisted-Suicide
Freud was diagnosed with mouth cancer which was terminal. In 1939, just before his death, he was suffering intense pain. Two days before he passed away, Freud asked his doctor and friend Max Schur to remember a pledge they have made before: “torment me unnecessarily”. After receiving his daughter’s, Anna, permission, Schur injected three potent doses of morphine which made Freud enter into a coma from which he never woke up.
2. Freud Was A Nazi Victim
Freud was an atheist born into a Jewish family, so when Nazis came to power, Freud was a target. In 1933, the Nazis burned his books. Afterward, his house was raided by the Gestapo and his daughter Anna was detained. With the help of his patient Princess Marie Bonaparte, they were able to fly to Paris and then London and get to safety. Unfortunately, four of his sisters didn’t have the same fate. Bonaparte tried to help them as well but did not succeed. Freud died just weeks after World War II exploded, and his sisters were sent to concentration camps, where they all died.
1. Freud Was Driven By Cocaine And Its Effects
In the 1880s, Freud started getting interested in cocaine. Back then it wasn’t as popular as it is today, in fact almost nobody knew about its existence and it was legal to use it to rejuvenate exhausted troops. Freud’s interest in cocaine grew and he started experimenting and improvising with it. He even called it a “miracle drug”. But after cocaine started gaining fame and cocaine addictions and overdose deaths grew, Freud stopped experimenting with it, yet he continued to use it less and less to treat migraines, depression, and nasal inflammation.