The Austrian Sigmund Freud (1856–1939), trained as a physician and neuroanatomist, is the father of psychoanalysis as an independent set of theories and clinical practices distinct from psychiatry and psychology more broadly. Although later developments in psychoanalysis would build on, nuance, and at times evolve considerably beyond him, Freud’s theories serve as the fons et origo of psychoanalytic thinking.

Freud’s writings provide the theoretical bedrock of psychoanalysis. Conscious mental life (individualized in what Freud later called the ego or “I”) is constantly negotiating between wishes, drives, and desires arising from the unconscious (id or “it”) and the expectations and rules demanded by civilization (internalized as the superego). Different desires are characteristic of distinct phases in development, but early wishes persist into adult life. Desires that are ...

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