Monday, December 16, 2013


Continued from Part II

Adler and Jung moving away from Freud led to the development of three different versions of psychoanalysis. This made Freud have a lack of trust in others as far as taking forward his psychoanalysis was concerned. He decided to have a more close-knit group and became very cautious in making associations with others. He was adamant about preserving the conceptual pillars upon which psychoanalysis was based. Anyone who attempted to undermine these pillars or to replace them was no longer considered a part of the psychoanalytical enterprise.

Anna Freud
In 1918, Sigmund Freud psychoanalyzed his daughter Anna Freud, which began her serious involvement in psychoanalysis, although she had been reading her father’s work since 1910. Anna was very close to her father and was very much influenced by him. They both began working together. They attended the International Psychoanalytic Conference together, in 1920. Soon they had work and friends in common.

In 1923, when Sigmund Freud began suffering from jaw cancer he became very dependent on Anna. Anna used to take care of him and nurse him. His illness led to the formation of a secret committee that protected psychoanalysis against attacks. Anna Freud was one of the members and was given a ring as a token of trust. 

Sigmund Freud had, finally, found his successor. His search for an intellectual heir, which was bitterly unsuccessful with colleagues such as Carl Jung, ultimately succeeded with his own daughter. It was Anna Freud who actually studied children and the childhood periods about which Sigmund Freud had erected such elaborate interpretations based on the clinical recollections of adult patients.

This work convinced her that the psychoanalytic techniques proposed by her father must be modified for the analysis of children. This led to the formation of the field of psychoanalytic child psychology or child psychoanalysis, Anna Freud being one its founders.

Anna Freud with her father Sigmund Freud
Anna Freud remained one of the closest associates of Sigmund Freud, till his death. The death of Sigmund Freud, in 1939, led to a number of significant developments in Freudian psychoanalysis. The most striking of the developments in the psychoanalytic theory was the formation of the new theory of the ego, also referred to as Ego Psychology. Although Sigmund Freud regarded the ego as the executive of the total personality, he never granted it an autonomous position; it always remained subservient to the wishes of the id. After Freud’s death, some psychoanalytic theorists, in contrast to Sigmund Freud’s position, proposed a greater emphasis on the role of ego in total personality.

Anna Freud was the first of the ego psychologists. But, unlike Adler and Jung she remained faithful to the basic ideas developed by her father. Her work continued her father’s intellectual adventure. She believed that Freudian psychoanalysts were the first who had been given the key to the understanding of human behavior and its aberrations as being determined by instinctual forces arising from the unconscious mind rather than by overt factors.

In contrast to the subsequent ego psychologists, Anna Freud conceptualized the ego in a manner that was consistent with the traditional psychoanalytic view of the interrelationships of the id, ego, and superego. She provided a systematic discussion of the defensive strategies to which the ego may resort, extending her father’s treatment to enumerate ten defense mechanisms that appeared in Sigmund Freud's works - regression, repression, reaction formation, isolation, undoing, projection, introjection, turning against the self, reversal, and sublimation.

In order to preserve her father’s ideas, Anna Freud influenced research in Freudian psychoanalysis. She standardized the records for children with diagnostic profiles, encouraged the pooling of observations from multiple analysts, and encouraged long-term studies of development from early childhood through adolescence.
Anna Freud with Sigmund Freud
She also led the way to natural experiments in order to verify the Freudian concepts. She did careful analyses of groups of children who suffered from similar disabilities such as blindness or early traumas. This makes the common criticism that Freudian psychology has no empirical basis to be false. It is true only if empirical basis is restricted to laboratory experiments. Thus, Anna Freud is credited to giving an empirical basis to her father’s concepts making them verifiable.

Anna Freud made modifications to her father’s ideas, which led to the formation of Ego Psychology. She, however, regarded her formulations as consistent with Sigmund Freud’s emphasis on instinctual impulses. Her basic loyalty to her father’s work remained unimpaired. She devoted her life protecting her father’s legacy. Therefore, Anna Freud, not only became Sigmund Freud’s intellectual heir, she also became her father’s intellectual custodian.

Part I

All three parts of the article can also be found on the blog History Of Psychology at The Intellectual Heir To Sigmund Freud


Arunima Poricha said...

This is the most interesting part Sir!! very informative :)... but what is Introjection and sublimation??

Saif Farooqi said...

Arunima, introjection is the process in which an individual, unconsciously, incorporates the characteristics of another person into his/her own.

Sublimation is the process in which unacceptable impulses are converted into more acceptable forms. It is a way of transforming socially unacceptable behavior in such a way that is seen as acceptable. Of course, it is done unconsciously.

And I'm glad that you found this post to be informative. :)

Shalini said...

Excellent Article

Saif Farooqi said...

Thank you Shalini! Good to know that you liked the article. :) said...

how do we apply Freud's

theory to children with intellectual problems

Saif Farooqi said...

Freud's theory is about personality development and difficulties related to that. If you're talking about the personality of such children then it can be applied like it is for any other child.

But, if you're talking about intellectual development,then the theory cannot be applied to children with intellectual problems, as his theory is not specifically about intellectual development.

If those intellectual problems cause difficulties in personality development, then as mentioned above, the theory can be applied like it is for any other child.