The following essay will provide discussion on topic "What role does Freud have in modern psychology?” Although Freud’s theories have been widely criticized during his life and afterward, this essay will argue that his work is still playing important role in modern Psychology.
Starting point for the discussion is to examine the definitions of relevant terms. Psychology, Themes and Variations defines psychology as the science that studies behavior and psychological and cognitive process that underline it, and it is the profession that applies the accumulated knowledge of this science to practical problems (Weiten, W. 2004, p 18).
Freud was born in 1856, the year Darwin published The Origin of the Species. He grew up in one of the most exciting times in human history, when the basis of modern science was being laid down by early psychophysicalists like Billroth, Helmholtz and Brucke (Sulloway, 1979). While, Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory endured condemnation and in some cases outright ridicule when it was first published, it has produced many groundbreaking insights about unconscious, the role of internal conflict, and the importance of early childhood experiences in personality development (Weiten, W. 2004, p 480). Furthermore these theories are supported by research which demonstrated that firstly, unconscious forces can influence behavior, secondly, internal conflict plays a key role in generating psychological distress, thirdly, early childhood experiences can have powerful influences on personality and finally, people do use defense mechanisms to reduce their experience of unpleasant emotions (Westen, 1998; Westen & Gabbard, 1999).
In 1915 Freud published essay Instincts and Their Vicissitudes in which he put forward an idea “the three great polarities that dominate mental life”, pleasure-unpleasure, active-passive and internal-external (Freud, 1915/1957). This Freud’s contribution fits extremely well with contemporary psychological views of polarities...