Throughout much of the twentieth century, Freud's ideas had a profound influence o how the mind was understood to operate. His continuing influence can be seen in sev eral areas. First, psychoanalytic ideas influence the practice of psychotherapy eve today. The second lar gest division of the American Psychological Association is the Division of Psychoanalysis. The basic idea of the "talking cure" can be traced back to Freud. Even if a psychotherapist does not engage in classic psychoanalysis, many rely on a few psychoanalytic ideas, such as free association (saying whatever comes to mind as a part of therapy) or transference (that the patient will re-create interpersonal problems with the therapist) in their practice of therapy .
Another area of influence concerns the resu gence of interest in some Freudian ideas on the part of research psychologists. Research psychologists are showing a revival of interest in such topics as the unconscious (e.g., Bornstein, 1999) and defense mechanisms (Cramer & Davidson, 1998). While they may not endorse the whole of Freudian theory, such researchers are nevertheless finding empirical support for sev eral of his ideas, either in their original form or as they have been modified by others
A third area of influence can be found in our popular culture, where many o Freud's ideas have been incorporated into everyday language and the logic of understanding our own and others' behavior. For example, if someone says, "He cannot get along with his teacher because he has a conflict with authorit ," this comment draws on Freudian ideas. Or if someone explains a person' s current problems as being the result of poor parenting, this is a Freudian interpretation. Or if you think a person is avoiding dating and putting all her time into needlepoint work because she is conflicted over sexualit , then you are following a Freudian theme. Many of Freud's ideas have made it into everyday explanations of behavior and everyday forms of speech, such that you probably know more about Freud' s theory than you actually realize.
A final reason that Freud s ideas are important is because he laid the foundation for many of the topics and questions that psychologists are still addressing. He proposed a developmental sequence in the growth of personality. He devised a method to resolve internal conflicts. He proposed a structure of the basic elements of per sonality and described what he thought were the main dynamic relationships between these elements. He noted that the mind has regions about which it does not itself have awareness. All these ideas have continued to be areas of inquiry among contemporary psychologists.
Freud started one of the more interesting, influential, and even controversia approaches to understanding human nature. Consequently , no student of personality should skip over this theory , even if the theory does not play a lar ge role in contemporary studies of personality . Pieces of it have survived and inform various parts of current personality research and theory and so it is worth taking a good look at Freud's classic theory as well as the contemporary modifications of it
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