How Much of Freud Do Modern Psychiatrists Accept?

Like Freud’s ideas about personality-the idea that humans have an ID, an Ego, and a Subconcious?
Or the Freudian ideas about infant sexuality?
Is Freud mostly seen as wrong on most things, or did he get the fundamentals right?

I am sure there are still Freudians around who pretty much buy the whole package, but, apart, perhaps, from the subconscious (which he did not really invent), I think the mainstream view would be that he was wrong on most things (but with quite a bit of disagreement about what small minority of things he might have got vaguely right).

I thought I’d read somewhere (perhaps on the boards) that his work is seen more as an example of how to do things incorrectly, a case study of sorts. Any truth to that or am I just not remembering something properly?

. . .

You might be thinking of the views of Popper and his supporters. In psychiatry (and philosophy of science, whence it comes) that is no more mainstream than the view that Freud is the Perfect Master (and, here, we know that is not true!) Some physical and biological scientists seem to have swallowed Popper hook, line and sinker, though.

There’s the views of Jeffrey Masson(?) who worked in the Freud archives - until he got the boot for publishing his theory that Freud was a fraud. He makes the plausible argument that the trauma that Freud was often treating (hysteria and hysterical paralysis in young women, often) was actually the result of childhood sexual abuse trauma. His early cases, he described some victims with specific persons committing abuse.

The good doctor quickly figured out that accusing some of the prominent families in Vienna society of child abuse (the ones that could afford his bills) was what we call a “career-limiting move”. He instead chose to take psychaitry on a 100-year wrong way detour, by inventing the idea that it was all in the fantasy and unconscious of the children themselves.

Worked for him, and for his child-abusing clients.

I can’t speak for what’s currently taught to med students or psychiatry residents, or what’s currently in the mainstream among practicing psychiatrists or psychologists. However, I can tell you that when I was doing an undergrad psychology degree (mid to late 00s, Canada), the professors and textbooks not only did not bother to conceal their disdain for Freud, but expected us to be able to explain WHY people aren’t so fond of his theories anymore.

The current mainstream training for counselors and psychologists is

–Person-centered/client-centered (Rogers)
–Cognitive-behavioral (Beck)
–Psychodynamic (the outgrowth of Freud’s work)

The focus of training and practice has a genographical component. New England is more psychodynamic than the Northwest, for example.

In first-year psychology courses nowadays, they explain how Freud basically pulled everything out of his ass. His theories were speculation, not science. For instance, he had some pretty bold ideas about the “psychosexual” development of children, especially considering that he never worked with children.

The main contribution that Freud made was pioneering (or at least popularizing) the idea of a “talking cure”, even if the particulars of his talking cure were baseless.

I had a doctor tell me that Freud only had a half dozen patients. How many patients did Freud have?

Psychiatry is not psychoanalysis.

PSYCHOANALYSIS is the one with the couches. The main and foremost father of psychoanalysis is Sigmund Freud, with lesser "founding father’ roles played by Adler and Jung.

Psychoanalysis still exists but 99% of you are not seeing one, don’t know anyone who is seeing one, and don’t know anyone who knows anyone who is seeing one.

PSYCHIATRY did not stem from the work of Sigmund Freud. Psychiatry’s founding fathers are less well known: Eugen Bleuler and Emil Kraepelin.

A lot more than 1% of you see a psychiatrist, considerably more than that have ever been to one, and nearly every one of you knows someone who does. Psychiatry is about the medicalization of abnormal behavior, culminating in the treatment of it with drugs.
Asking how much of Freud modern psychiatrists are inclined to accept is like asking how much of Aristotle is accepted by modern political speechwriters (“rhetoric”).

Gotta say that’s not true for me or the people around me who see the same Yellow Pages ads and trainings that I do. I could point you to at least 10 local, hard-boiled analysts in my mostly-rural state.

(slightly off topic, but related to Freud: )

Freud developed his theories due to one patient named Anna, who had a weird problem : She couldn’t move her leg. Freud decided that the physical problem was due to repressed sexuality, and history has never been the same.

My question is: how many people ever had such a problem? Was it common in 1880’s Vienna? Has it ever been seen since?

No it isn’t. Psychiatry is about the medicalization of abnormal behaviour, culminating in its treatment, period. Whether a given condition for a given patient is best treated with drugs is not part of the definition. There is a huge variety of other treatments commonly used, including various forms of non-pharmacological psychotherapy, and also the controversial ECT. Drugs, while a relatively recent introduction to psychiatry, are not its be-all and end-all.

Fair enough. It’s mostly drugs, but your’e right, the profession has other interventions in its therapeutic arsenal, including the intentional surgical destruction of healthy brain tissue as well as ECT. But drugs are generally the first thing tried, and also something that is tried on almost anyone who walks through their door, collectively & generally speaking.

I don’t know anyone who sees a psychiatrist. I know a plenty of people who see a non-medical therapist (CBT, talk therapy, or whatever), and get psychoactive medication from a general practitioner in conjunction with that.

Speaking of which: Was Sigmund Freud a quack?

I see your point but the analogy fails - although modern speech writers may not be aware of it, a lot of what they do is classic Aristotelian rhetoric.

This seems to be quite true, though I’m not sure I’d call Freud a “fraud.”

I think he was incorrect, but his studies and practices were not really deliberate.

Indeed, his methods do seem to be a way to work with people who suffer from hysteria and hysterical symptoms. Frued miscalculated that he could apply that treatment to all kinds of mental problems, instead of a very narrrow subset.

The problem with Freud was that his hypotheses were not testicle. :wink: