Freud and the psyche

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If the nineteenth century had been mostly about physiology and somatogenic interpretations of mental problems, the early twentieth century was the golden age of psychodynamic psychiatry.   Vienna-based physician Franz Anton Mesmer is usually credited with being the first to unlock the secrets of the psyche at the end of the eighteenth century.  Mesmer’s successors included Jean-Martin Charcot, who famously hypnotised hysterics at the Salpêtrière asylum in late nineteenth-century Paris, and early in his career Sigmund Freud worked with Charcot.  Freud’s influence has been enormous, though more in the German lands and the United States than elsewhere. Psychoanalysis was shunned in France and never widely accepted in Britain or Ireland, though Freud lived in London for a short time towards the end of his life.  He died in 1939 and his family home in Hampstead, north London is now a museum, complete with his famous consulting couch.

Image of the week:
Freud’s consulting couch [copyright Freud Museum London]

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