Sigmund Freud’s early theories were based on his notion that the main laws governing human psychology lie in the unconscious mind, and that problems such as neurotic symptoms and personality disorders are caused by unconscious conflicts arising from the inability to properly resolve the Oedipus complex.

What is the Oedipus complex?

term coined by Sigmund Freud in psychoanalysis after the Greek myth of Oedipus.

Oedipus was the son of Laios and Iocaste (Epicaste), the kings of Thebes, who murdered his father and became king of Thebes by solving the riddle of the Sphinx.

They married without realizing she was his mother, and when they found out, Iocaste committed suicide and Oedipus gouged out his own eye.

According to Freud, this tendency is evident in the phallic period (ages 3 to 5) and is repressed in the latent period.

‘ The desire to love one’s mother as freely as one’s father transforms into the desire to be like one’s father, resulting in identification with the father and the formation of the superego.

Freud argued that the infant must overcome this Oedipus complex in order to develop normal sexuality in adulthood, but that it is very difficult to overcome it ideally, and that neurotic patients are generally those who have failed to do so.

He believed that this complex was biological and universal in time and place.

However, with the discovery of Malinowski’s Cultural Anthropology in 1929, it became clear that the complex was neither universal nor physiological, being found only in Aryan paternalistic families supported by Roman law and Christian morality and reinforced by bourgeois economic conditions.

In particular, neo-Freudian scholars have argued that the complex has social origins and arises from interpersonal relationships within the family.

Among them, E. Fromm argued that this complex does not appear in societies where paternal authority is not strong, and K. Hornay argued that it is caused by the need for dependence on both parents and the anxiety caused by the conflict of enmity.

On the other hand, the tendency for girls to have sexual attachment to their fathers and hatred for their mothers is called the Electra complex.

Psychoanalytic therapy began by interviewing the patient and exposing to the conscious mind the childhood problems that the patient refused to recognize through free association, dream interpretation, and analysis of resistance.

Later, some scholars sympathized with Freud’s theories, but they were dismissed and criticized by many more opponents, and many variations were seen in the United States, where psychoanalysis became popular.

Especially with the discovery of Tranquilizers, more and more doctors are combining medication with psychotherapy rather than pure psychotherapy.

What is free association?

Initially, the stimulus word is called the stimulus, and the response word is called the response.

This is in contrast to restricted association, which specifies the content of the response, and may use objects or pictures as stimuli instead of words.

It is common to respond to the first word that comes to mind, but it is also possible to obtain many response words in turn.

Another psychoanalytic diagnostic method is called free association, which involves responding to whatever comes to mind without any specific stimulus.

The content, frequency, and reaction time of the response words obtained by free association are useful as indicators of clinical diagnosis, the degree of meaningfulness of words, the semantic relationship between many words, and the degree of language development, and the method is widely applied.

Analytic therapy is divided into adult analysis and child analysis depending on the patient, and individual analysis and group analysis depending on the method.

Analytic therapists have strict restrictions on acquiring specialized therapeutic skills, and it has become a prerequisite for analytical therapists to undergo individual analysis themselves.

The long duration of the therapy, the high cost of treatment, the fact that a single psychiatrist can only cure a few patients in a lifetime, and the rapid development of therapeutic drugs have led to the collapse of the absolute support in the early days.

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