Describe the history of the field of psychoanalysis as a social science.

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Jessica Pope | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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The field of psychoanalysis originated in the medical sciences with the works and case studies of Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud. While observing child patients and adults diagnosed with hysteria, Freud noted the certain psychosomatic symptoms such as muscular twitches and certain maladaptive speech patterns seemed to have no conscious cause. Patients were not aware of the reasons for their symptomatic behavior.

Freud wondered if there might be a way to access the unconscious part of a person's brain in order to correct the behavioral symptoms that his patients seemed unable to control. In 1890 he shared these thoughts with a colleague of his: Josef Breuer. Together they began to develop protocols for treating patients. Their new treatment -- known as the talking cure -- became the basis of psychoanalytic treatment and theory.

Between the 940s and the 19670's, scholars in other non-medical social science disciplines began to work with and expand psychoanalytic theory. During the mid 20th-century, psychoanalytic theory became truly multidisciplinary with pioneering scholars in the fields of linguistics (Lacan), education (Adler, Rogers), ontology (Klein) sociology (Fromm), and philosophy (Yalom).

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