Fun facts about freud

11 Fascinating Facts About Sigmund Freud

Next to sheep, no one has done more for dreams than Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). While you may know him as the founder of psychoanalysis, you may not know as much about his work with therapy dogs, his Hollywood courtship, or his love affair with cocaine.


The first of eight children born to Jacob and Amalia Freud, newborn Sigmund arrived in 1856 with a curious aberration: A membrane known as a caul covered his head and face. Cauls are very unusual events, but harmlessly removed by attending physicians or midwives. Far from distressed, Amalia was overjoyed at the sight. She believed the folklore that says cauls herald the birth of a child destined for great accomplishments.


Freud’s early education and work was focused on neurology. After studying the sexual organs of the eel via dissection, he moved to comparing the brains of vertebrates and invertebrates. For six years, Freud dissected the brains of frogs, crayfish, and lampreys, describing the medulla oblongata and other then-oblique components of the brain and nervous system. He also made important contributions toward the discovery of the neuron.


After graduating from the University of Vienna, Freud began working at Vienna General Hospital and collaborating with fellow physician Josef Breuer. Breuer was an advocate of treating patients via hypnosis, which intrigued Freud. One of Breuer’s patients, known as “Anna O.,” seemed to recall unpleasant memories only when under the influence of hypnotic suggestion. Freud traveled to Paris to learn more from other physicians using hypnosis, but when he returned to Vienna in 1886 and opened his own practice, he began to step away from hypnosis—patients simply relaxing on his couch seemed to produce a similar recall effect.


Over time, Freud’s influence on psychiatry has been both celebrated and minimized. His critics argue that Freud was sometimes prone to manipulative behavior directed at his patients, as in the case of Horace Frink, an American psychoanalyst who submitted to Freud’s probing in 1921. Under Freud’s guidance, Frink divorced his wife and married Angelika Bijur—one of Frink's patients. This Match Game brand of psychiatry drew criticism after correspondence revealing Freud’s involvement in the pair was unearthed by Frink’s daughter in the 1970s.


Though Freud was feted in the United States for his provocative psychoanalytical theories, he disliked everything but the compliments. Traveling to America by steamship in 1909 with Carl Jung, Freud recoiled at the manners of his American hosts (who used his first name) and felt the culture as a whole was too preoccupied with money. Such was his dislike for the country that when the Nazis took over Vienna in 1938, Freud initially stuck around rather than accept a relative’s invitation to come seek shelter in Manhattan. (However, he willingly fled to London after Princess Marie Bonaparte, Napoleon’s great-granddaughter, intervened.)


Following the publication of several books on his theories, including 1899’s The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud’s notoriety grew exponentially. In 1925, MGM head Samuel Goldwyn declared him the “greatest love specialist in the world” and asked him to consult on scripts for several love stories from history, including Antony and Cleopatra. Freud had no interest in that film or any other. He did, however, once make time for an informal examination of actor Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin’s “Tramp” character, Freud wrote in 1931, was Chaplin channeling his own self “as he was in his early dismal youth.


Before being stigmatized as a dangerous and addictive stimulant, cocaine was enjoyed at the turn of the century as a safe and practical way to stimulate activity. Freud found relief from bouts of sadness while on the drug and also appreciated its ability to provoke extended monologues about things normally tucked away in the recesses of his brain. He wrote four papers celebrating the drug’s effects and even used it on some of his patients. He quit the drug later in life, calling it a distraction.


Freud was using animal companions to soothe anxious patients long before it was common. He sometimes allowed his Chow-Chow, Jofi, to sit in with his patients during appointments and noticed that they became measurably more relaxed. When the idea of therapy dogs was explored further in the 1960s, researchers drew support from Freud’s writing about Jofi to help establish credibility for the approach.


Freud’s preference for patients to splay out on a couch, staring at the ceiling to help clear their mindS for revelatory thinking, became a standard of psychoanalytic practice. In the 1940s, the Imperial Leather Furniture Company of Queens manufactured couches that were specifically for the psychoanalytical field, lacking buttons or cushions that might distract nervous patients.


Between 1915 and 1938, Freud was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Medicine 12 times and the Nobel in Literature once—yet was never awarded any of them. His critics charged that psychoanalysis was an unproven practice. Asked to endorse him for a prize, Albert Einstein begged off, citing uncertainty about Freud’s conclusions. Freud did receive the Goethe prize (given by the city of Frankfurt, Germany, in honor of the poet Goethe) in 1930: His daughter, Anna, traveled to Frankfurt, Germany to accept on his behalf, since Freud was ill with cancer.


Freud died by suicide in 1939, after a long and painful struggle with epithelioma. In 2014, his cremated ashes—housed in a 2300-year-old Greek urn given to him by Princess Marie Bonaparte—were nearly snatched by thieves at Golders Green Crematorium in London. The urn, which also contained the remains of his wife Martha, was damaged in the attempted theft. Crematorium employees then moved the urn from public display to a more secure location; it's unclear if the culprits were ever apprehended.

30 Interesting Sigmund Freud Facts

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Sigmund Freud, the father of Psychoanalysis, is one of the most controversial and influential persons of all time. His work on psychosexual stages and psychoanalytic theory made him popular. Here are 30 interesting Sigmund Freud facts that you might find interesting:

Sigmund Freud Facts: 1-5

1. Freud was an Austrian neurologist. But he was born in Freiberg, Moravia. In the present days it is in Czech Republic. His family moved to Austria when he was four years old and lived there till the Nazis overran Austria.

2. Although he is known to everyone as Sigmund Freud, his original name was Sigismund Schlomo Freud.

3. He thought that he was the apple of his mother’s eye and called himself “Golden Siggie.” He felt that his optimism, self-reliance and other positive attributes were because of the special love he got from his mother.

4. He was a polyglot. He mastered nearly 8 languages which included English, German, Hebrew, and Spanish.

5. Though he was a doctor by profession, he never wished to be a doctor; he desired to become a scientist. He joined medicine with the sole aim to conduct research.

Sigmund Freud Facts: 6-10

6. Freud conducted researches on eel and fish and earned a respectable position in physiology, too.

7. As a medical student, Freud conducted research on cocaine (which was not considered illegal during his times) and published an article about cocaine’s health benefits and called it a miracle drug.

8. With his article published, many people started using cocaine and it resulted in cocaine plague in Europe and America. This made him infamous and he tried hard to keep himself away from the drug.

9. He was greatly inspired by a German physiologist Ernst Brucke. Under Brucke’s influence, he regarded an individual as an active participant who is heavily influenced by laws of nature.

10. After he entered private practice he learnt the art of hypnosis from Jean Charcot to treat neural disorders, but he was not satisfied and along with Joseph Breuer he developed what is now called as “Free Association”.

Sigmund Freud Facts: 11-15

11. Free Association is a technique where the patients would speak whatever comes to their minds and Freud believed that it worked more effectively than hypnosis.

12. He gave more importance to sexual conflicts and considered that neurosis has sexual basis. He believed that early traumatic sexual experiences lead to neurotic behavior during adulthood.

13. He even discussed about child sexual abuse which he called “child’s traumatic sexual experiences”. However, he considered that these experiences are mere fantasies that the clients believed as real.

14. It is argued that he deliberately tried to suppress this as he believed that if such traumatic experiences were so general then most of the fathers would be suspects to such pervert acts.

15. His theory is more or less like an autobiographical note as he based his theory on his own experiences like the sexual attraction he felt towards his mother and the sexual conflicts with Martha, his wife, which caused a lot of emotional disturbances.

Sigmund Freud Facts: 16-20

16. He presented a totally different outlook to Psychology. Probably the most controversial phenomena he dealt with would be the “Oedipus complex.”

17. According to Freud, a small boy is sexually attracted towards his mother and develops hatred and fear for his father. This is what he called “Oedipus complex”.

18. On the lines of Oedipus complex, his disciple Carl Jung formulated a new concept called as “Electra complex” which is approximately the same as Oedipus complex, but here the girl is sexually attracted to her father.

19. He gave a lot of importance to the unconscious and regarded the conscious as tip of an iceberg and the mass that is below the water level as the unconscious. He believed that our actions are the direct result of the fulfillment of the motives of the unconscious.

20. He regarded dreams to be the royal road to the unconscious. In his “Interpretation of dreams”, he gave symbolic meaning to objects and said that dreams represented repressed wishes of a person.

Sigmund Freud Facts: 21-25

21. He formulated psychosexual stages and said if the child’s needs are not met in any particular stage he would get fixated to that stage and he related these fixations to neurotic and behavioral problems in the adulthood life of the individual.

22. His Psychoanalytic theory made him famous and many professionals from varied fields became his disciples. Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, Ernst Jones were few of the notable students.

23. However, few of his disciples decided to break away from the psychoanalytic tradition and formulated their own theories on the lines of Freud’s theory. These psychologists were called as Neo-Freudians.

24. Though he gave a lot of importance to childhood experiences and later on childhood experiences became one of the pillars of his theory, he had only one child as his patient/ client. The child was popularly called Little Hans.

25. Anna, Freud’s daughter, was also an established psychoanalyst. But unlike her father, she concentrated on the ego component of the personality and contributed significantly to child psychology.

Sigmund Freud Facts: 26-30

26. He psychoanalyzed Anna till he was alive. He shooed away any male who showed interest in her. He contradicted his own theory in reality, considering his 18-year-old daughter has no sexual feelings whereas, his theory states that children are as sexual as adults, but their energies are diverted to substitute objects.

27. He was addicted to cocaine and cigar. Rarely would you see a photograph of Sigmund Freud without a cigar in his hand. Because of this addiction, he had to undergo 33 surgeries including vasectomy in his last 16 years.

28. Freud’s doctor resorted to euthanasia when Freud decided that he would end the pain of oral cancer and die a peaceful death.

29. Freud’s famous couch was actually a gift from one of his patients when he was using hypnosis as a method to treat the neural disorders.

30. A person who formulated a radical theory like Psychoanalysis was actually superstitious. He believed that numbers 23 and 28 had significant importance in his life, and he even predicted that he would die at the age of 51, which of course didn’t come true.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

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selection of interesting facts from Freud's biography

How can cocaine (a lot of cocaine!), three dozen oncological operations, zoology, 32 Nobel Prize nominations and death at the hands of a doctor be connected? Everything becomes clear when it comes to the founding father of psychoanalysis, whose views on human nature were so innovative that they did not stop resonating and criticizing the scientific community throughout his life. Yes, yes, this is all the old Sigmund Freud, little-known facts about whose life and death we have collected in this material. nine0003

Sasha Epstein

Psychoanalyst suffering from a whole range of addictions? Oh yes, Freud was a complex person

Sigmund Freud (Sigismund Shlomo Freud) was an Austrian neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis who created a completely new approach to understanding the human person. He is considered one of the most influential - and controversial - minds of the 20th century. But if you think about it, how much do we know about the eminent psychiatrist, known for his work on psychoanalysis? Here are the most interesting facts about Sigmund Freud that you probably didn't know. nine0003

The future guru of psychoanalysis planned to become a lawyer

Enrolling in the gymnasium at the age of nine, a year ahead of schedule, Freud finished it, as they say, "excellent". The future scientist already stood out among his peers with a passion for learning everything new, and his parents fully encouraged him and tried to create an atmosphere that contributed to his son's successful studies. Sigmund was the eldest of eight children, and he was a favorite: he was given a separate room and a kerosene lamp for study, while his brothers and sisters did not have such preferences - they all studied together and by candlelight. nine0003

After graduating from high school, Freud had doubts about his future profession for a long time. Due to his social status and the then prevailing anti-Semitic sentiments, the choice was limited to commerce, industry, law and medicine. At first, Freud decided to become a lawyer, and he never had the slightest interest in medicine at all, which he later repeatedly wrote about.

But the fact is that in 1873 Freud entered the University of Vienna and began to study medicine. After graduation, he worked at the Vienna General Hospital. In the first years of study at the University of Vienna, where he entered, having passed the exams with the same fives, Freud studied zoology and dissected frogs. And his first scientific work was devoted to the sexual differences of river eels. nine0003

As part of his work, Freud collaborated with Joseph Breuer, with whom he treated hysteria by recalling painful experiences under hypnosis. In 1885, Freud traveled to Paris as a student of the neurologist Jean Charcot.

He underwent over 30 surgeries in 16 years

One of Freud's serious addictions was tobacco, which he became addicted to in his twenties. After the scientist switched to cigarettes, he often smoked more than 20 pieces a day. Despite doctors' warnings about the dangers of smoking, Freud was convinced that this habit increased his productivity and creativity. nine0003

After the discovery of a cancerous tumor in Freud's mouth in 1923, doctors removed most of his jaw. Although over the next 16 years he had 33 more surgeries and a large prosthesis inserted, which caused only inconvenience, Freud never stopped smoking.

Freud can be considered one of the first drug dealers

In the 1880s, Freud became interested in a then little-known legal drug that a German military doctor used as a stimulant for emaciated soldiers. It's about cocaine. As a result of his experiments with the drug, Freud found that his digestion, mood and general condition improved significantly after taking cocaine. nine0003

He gave doses to his friends, prescribed cocaine to patients and even gave it to his future wife Marta, plus he actively advertised the therapeutic properties of the "drug" in his articles and lectures. However, when Freud gave cocaine to his patient and close friend Ernst Fleischl von Marxow, who at the time was being treated for morphine addiction, the poor fellow, like other drug addicts, developed a new addiction - cocaine.

By the beginning of 1887, science had finally debunked the last myths about cocaine, it was publicly condemned as one of the scourges of mankind, along with opium and alcohol. Freud stopped promoting the medicinal benefits of the drug, but continued to use it intermittently for personal purposes for migraines, the common cold, and depression until about mid-189. 0-s.

The Nazis expelled the scientist from Austria and burned his books

After Germany annexed Austria, the Nazis raided Freud's apartment and the Gestapo detained and interrogated his daughter Anna. Although the psychoanalyst himself was an atheist, he was born into a Jewish family and became a special target of the Nazis when they came to power. It was only thanks to his friends Franklin Roosevelt and Princess Marie Bonaparte, Napoleon's granddaughter, that Freud managed to escape to Paris and then to London with his wife and daughter. Freud's four sisters were far less fortunate. The Germans did not let them out of the country, and later killed them in the Theresienstadt and Treblinka concentration camps. nine0003

Freud once joked: “What progress we have made! In the Middle Ages they would have burned me; nowadays they are content to burn my books.” Jokes aside, but his life could have gone in a completely different scenario.

Freud's legendary book The Interpretation of Dreams failed miserably. In the first six years, the publishing house sold only 351 copies of The Interpretation of Dreams; the second edition was not published for ten years. nine0003

Nevertheless, Sigmund Freud's life was full, and the neo-risk of psychoanalysis coincided with one of the most productive periods in Freud's life. His books are being published: "The Psychopathology of Everyday Life", which deals with one of the important aspects of the theory of psychoanalysis, namely reservations, "Wit and its relation to the unconscious" and "Three essays on the theory of sexuality".

Freud's popularity as a scientist and medical practitioner grew steadily. The private practice of a psychoanalyst took up the entire working week. Moreover, very few of his patients were residents of Vienna. Most of them came from Russia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and other countries. nine0003

Interesting fact. Sigmund Freud was nominated for the Nobel Prize 32 times, but never won it.

However, the most famous fact about Sigmund Freud is that it was he who developed the theory that people have an unconscious in which sexual and aggressive impulses are in constant conflict for dominance over our behavior.

Freud did not like to look his patients in the eyes

Prior to the development of psychoanalysis, Freud actively used hypnosis to treat his patients. Quite quickly, the scientist realized that it was easier to put patients into a trance if they were lying on a couch. When he gave up hypnosis, began to practice psychoanalysis and conversation with the patient, he still continued to put his patients on the couch. It is believed that the psychoanalyst simply did not want to look them in the eyes, so he sat on a chair at the head of the patient out of sight. By that time, the couch had already been covered with an expensive Persian carpet, which was presented to him by one of his patients, Madame Benvenisti. nine0003

Freud was helped to die by his friend

By the summer of 1939, Freud was tormented by an incurable form of oral cancer. On the evening of September 21, 1939, an 83-year-old psychoanalyst grabbed the hand of his friend and doctor Max Schur and reminded him of his promise "not to torture unnecessarily and help to die." “Now this is pure torture, and it makes no sense,” added Freud. Having obtained the permission of Freud's daughter, Anna, Schur administered a dose of morphine sufficient to stop the heart of an old man weakened by illness. Perhaps this is the saddest fact from the life of the great Sigmund Freud. nine0003

What was Freud's first scientific work about?

7 little-known facts about Sigmund Freud

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Sigmund Freud with his daughter Sophia

Sigmund Freud left not only a legacy that influenced many areas of human activity, but also many conjectures related to his personality and his discoveries.

He was a pioneer, not afraid to look into the dark backyards of human consciousness and expose hidden fears and desires. However, by his qualities and way of life, Freud can disappoint the seekers of his own weaknesses and vices. Here are some facts from his biography. nine0003

1. Dreamed of being a hero

As Ernest Jones writes in The Life and Works of Sigmund Freud, Freud identified himself from childhood with the brave generals Hannibal and Cromwell. Once, an old peasant woman predicted glory to him, telling his mother that she had given life to a great man. He heard similar predictions more than once later. And although Freud himself recalled the prophecies with skepticism, he always had faith in his higher destiny, to which he aspired from an early age. nine0003

Faith endowed him with the necessary purposefulness and perseverance, helping him overcome long years of scientific oblivion, loneliness and searching, rewarding him with the predicted and rightfully deserved greatness. But, even having reached the pinnacle of fame, he did not change his moral principles until his death, remaining a sensitive, vulnerable and self-critical person. He always placed the scientific idea above personal ambition.

2. He grew up in a religious environment

Freud considered himself a convinced atheist, which is often cited as an argument for his godlessness and depravity, supposedly explaining his craving for primitive sexual theories. But it is important to remember that atheism was a forced form of confrontation between medicine and science of that era and a religion that rejected scientific explanations and progress. nine0003

Freud grew up in a religious environment and was very sensitive to his roots, culture and traditions. In his revelations, Freud admitted that he often had internal dialogues with God and complained that if he were as religious as his brothers, he could more easily endure adversity and illness. The so-called atheism of Freud is full of sentimentality and sadness, inspired by a sense of loneliness and awareness of the unfortunate existence of man. To understand what he came, including through introspection.

3. Tested his theory on himself

Freud treated teachers and colleagues with respect. Communication created the conditions for one's own reflections, in which the first ideas of psychoanalysis were born. But none of those who at least somehow inspired Freud to study the human subconscious, personally failed or did not want to systematize their observations, devote their activities to a serious and thorough study of this topic.

Freud knew how to forgive, believing that benevolence and personal decency are above quarrels and insults

Freud not only managed to painstakingly put together and put into practice the concept of psychoanalysis, he was also the first and only scientist who subjected himself to an honest and self-revealing psychoanalysis. None of his critics, who built their theories, starting, in particular, from his teachings, dared to take such a step.

4. Clarity of mind valued more than life

Freud suffered from a malignant tumor of the jaw and during the last 16 years of his life underwent more than 30 painful operations. As he admitted, it was extremely difficult for him to lose the opportunity to fully practice and work. Thoughts of suicide were not uncommon, but the support of loved ones and willpower made him continue to live and fight. nine0003

Despite many years of debilitating physical suffering, he continued to refuse to take painkillers for the same reason - to maintain clarity of mind. And only in the later stages of the disease, being already completely exhausted, he resorted to the help of his attending physician, who gave him a lethal dose of morphine. In fact, it was euthanasia, which Freud deliberately went for.

Reading Freud. A study of Freud's writings in a chronological perspective" by Jean-Michel Quinodo

A guide to Freud's work: a separate chapter is devoted to each of his books, describing the essence of the work and analyzing the circumstances of its creation. A convenient way to trace how the thought of the creator of psychoanalysis developed.

5. Forgave the stolen glory

Freud had high hopes for cocaine as a possible drug to relieve fatigue and combat depression. But from the experience of close friends, he was convinced that cocaine is very dangerous.

Thanks to experiments, including on himself, he was the first to discover and describe the previously unknown properties of cocaine as an anesthetic. Later, cocaine really began to be used in ophthalmology, in local anesthesia of the eye. nine0003

One of his young colleagues took advantage of his discovery and passed it off as his own. Freud resigned himself to someone else's fame, considering that he needed it more, and did not break with his colleague. Freud knew how to forgive, believing that benevolence and personal decency are above quarrels and insults.

6. Salvation from Nazism received from the hands of ... a Nazi

In 1938, after the annexation of Austria to Germany and the ensuing persecution of Jews by the Nazis, Freud's situation became much more complicated. His loyal students advised him to leave Nazi-occupied Vienna, but he considered it cowardly. Only the arrest of Anna's daughter made him change his mind and agree to the support of influential people. nine0003

Freud, not deprived of female attention, adhered to strict, puritanical views

American President Roosevelt, British diplomats stood up for his life, and, they say, even Stalin did not stand aside. The decision depended on only one person - Adolf Hitler. Freud was persuaded to let him go by a long-time admirer of the works of the scientist and a close friend of the Fuhrer, Mussolini. Hitler could not refuse him.

However, the last significant contribution was made by Napoleon's granddaughter Marie. So Freud and his family left for London. It is noteworthy that Hitler soon ordered Freud to be arrested as soon as Britain was defeated, for his statements in support of the Czech Republic. nine0003

7. The first to declare the sensual nature of a woman

Freud avoided excessive publicity and stories about his personal life. This secrecy has become an occasion for fiction and false sensations.

In fact, Freud, not deprived of female attention, adhered to strict, puritanical views. He warned his students about the dangers of psychoanalysis, about the vulnerability of female patients. Many of these nervous and ardent women willingly shared sexual fantasies, and some were not averse to overstepping the bounds of what was permitted and putting them into practice. nine0003

Few of Freud's students resisted the temptation, which he sincerely felt. Interestingly, some feminists accused Freud of being too patriarchal. Despite the fact that patriarchy in his time, especially in science, was almost fundamental. Meanwhile, Freud was the first to declare the sensual nature of a woman, which women themselves were embarrassed to admit and what men were embarrassed to talk about.

About the author

Eduard Maron — psychiatrist, MD, professor of psychopharmacology at the University of Tartu (Estonia), honorary lecturer at Imperial College London, author of the novel Sigmund Freud.

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