How relevant are Freud's findings to psychology today?

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kipling2448 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The excesses of Sigmund Freud's findings and conclusions regarding psychoanalysis -- and there were many -- need to be measured against the more valid and enduring of his findings.  The former, such as his theories of homosexuality and the extreme application of the Oedipus analogy, can and should be examined merely in their historical context and not be taken as significant contributions to the field of psychology.  His theories regarding the unconscious mind, on the other hand, were and remain highly significant. Freud's emphasis on what lay buried deep within the human consciousness was revelatory, and, while he was building on the work of others in his field, he was instrumental in raising awareness of the complexity of the human brain in terms of how thoughts occur and are translated into actions.  

The psychoanalytic contributions made by Freud, especially his association of an individual's personal history or past with his current thoughts and actions, remain highly relevant today.  Many patients have experienced significant "breakthroughs" in their therapy when deeply repressed memories have been brought to the surface and associated with emotional problems those patients are now experiencing perhaps decades later.  This is not to say that Freud's contributions have not been misapplied and abused, as one could argue that they have.  The validity of repressed memories, such as when an adult, in the course of psychoanalytic therapy, "recalls" instances of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a parent or other trusted adult, have been legitimately called into question when allegations are raised many years after the "fact."  To many, though, the risks associated with false memories are outweighed by the genuine improvements others have experienced through psychoanalytic methods developed by or attributed to Freud.

seaofknowledge eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sigmund Freud is the founder of psychoanalysis whose ideas and theories were so advanced in the 1900s that they were nothing short of revolutionary. 

In the modern context however, Freud's findings are only one of many theories and methods that have emerged since then. Freud's theories are still taught in universities but they do not dominate the curriculum in psychology or psychiatry. Some experts believe that Freud established the basis of psychoanalysis with his studies about childhood, subconscious and dreams; yet much of his work lacked scientific evidence required for the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric and psychological conditions. 

Therefore, we can say that Freud's findings have some relevancy to psychology today.