Sigmund Freud was born May 6, 1856, in a small town – Freiberg –
in Moravia. His father was a wool merchant with a keen mind and a
good sense of humor. His mother was a lively woman, her husband's
second wife and 20 years younger. She was 21 years old when she
gave birth to her first son, her darling, Sigmund. Sigmund had two
older half-brothers and six younger siblings. When he was four or
five – he wasn't sure – the family moved to Vienna, where he lived
most of his life.
A brilliant child, always at the head of his ...view middle of the document...
" Freud would spend
many years trying to "reduce" personality to neurology, a cause he
later gave up on.
Freud was very good at his research, concentrating on
neurophysiology, even inventing a special cell-staining technique.
But only a limited number of positions were available, and there were others ahead of him. Brücke helped
him to get a grant to study, first with the great psychiatrist Charcot in Paris, then with his rival Bernheim in
Nancy. Both these gentlemen were investigating the use of hypnosis with hysterics.
After spending a short time as a resident in neurology and director of a children's ward in Berlin, he came
back to Vienna, married his fiancée of many years Martha Bernays, and set up a practice in neuropsychiatry,
with the help of Joseph Breuer.
Freud's books and lectures brought him both fame and ostracism from the mainstream of the medical
community. He drew around him a number of very bright sympathizers who became the core of the
psychoanalytic movement. Unfortunately, Freud had a penchant for rejecting people who did not totally
agree with him. Some separated from him on friendly terms; others did not, and went on to found competing
schools of thought.