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Sigmund Freud

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Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis, a clinical method for evaluating and treating pathologies seen as originating from conflicts in the psyche, through dialogue between patient and psychoanalyst. Freud was born in 1856 in the Moravian town of Freiberg, which is now part of the Czech Republic. He was the eldest of eight children of a Jewish wool merchant and his second wife. He moved to Vienna with his family when he was four years old and lived there until 1938, when he fled to London to escape Nazi persecution. He died in 1939 at the age of 83 from cancer of the jaw and palate.

Freud had a brilliant academic career, studying medicine at the University of Vienna and becoming a professor of neuropathology in 1902. He was influenced by the work of Charles Darwin, Jean-Martin Charcot, Josef Breuer, and others. He married Martha Bernays in 1886 and had six children, one of whom, Anna Freud, became a distinguished psychoanalyst herself.

Freud developed many influential theories and concepts in psychology, such as the **Oedipus complex**, the **id, ego and super-ego**, the **stages of psychosexual development**, the **unconscious**, the **repression** and **defence mechanisms**, the **libido** and the **death drive**. He also invented therapeutic techniques such as **free association** and **transference**, and pioneered the use of **dream analysis** as a way of accessing the unconscious.

Freud's work has been widely criticized for its lack of scientific rigour, its sexist and ethnocentric biases, its overemphasis on sexuality, and its generalization from a small number of patients. However, his work has also been enormously influential in shaping the modern understanding of human nature, culture, art, literature, religion, and society. Freud is widely regarded as one of the most important thinkers of the 20th century and one of the founders of modern psychology.