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Sigmund Freud (1856–1939), one of the figures who has shaped the intellectual landscape of contemporary thought, is the founder of psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis, as it is commonly known, is a form of psychotherapy (“analysis”) that operates through the investigation of the human psyche. It also offers a rich theory of the development and function of the psyche.

Coming from a middle-class Jewish family, Freud originally trained as a doctor and adhered to a nineteenth-century scientific ideal for his whole life. His interests soon focused on mental illnesses, especially neuroses, and after a short stay in Paris where he studied with Jean-Martin Charcot, he set up a private practice in Vienna, where he was to spend almost all his life. Initially influenced by Joseph Breuer, a Vienna consultant, ...

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