Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sigmund Freud - Psychopathology of Everyday Life - Summary and Review

Psychopathology of Everyday Life (1901) is perhaps Sigmund Freud's most notable early work in psychoanalysis, and together with The Interpretation of Dreams it forms the basis for his entire work . Early Freud was preoccupied with abnormal psychology and the attempt to explain various psychopathological  (beginning with neurological) problems, an attempt which led to groundbreaking understanding in regard to normal mental functioning. This, in part, is what makes Psychopathology of Everyday Life such an important part of the Freudian bibliography.
Psychopathology of Everyday Life is full of stories and anecdotes (including about Freud himself) regarding "mishaps", gaps in memory and verbal errors. For Freud, everything happens for a reason (he can certainly be classified as a determinist). What appears to be coincidental or unexplained might in fact be a clue to some deep hidden and tucked away truth (think of the resemblance between Sigmund Freud and Sherlock Holmes in this regard).
Can't remember where you put your keys? maybe something in you does not want to go where it is that you're headed. Accidently called your boss "mom"? maybe it has to do with what you feel towards your boss, or more importantly, towards your mom. All these seemingly unexplainable incidents might clue us in on hidden explanations that are hidden for a reason and can only be manifested through these "errors".   
It is important to note that what Freud is implying is that we are all in a sense a bit neurotic, since we all posses deep inner conflicts that sometimes have a hard time reaching resolve and might persist in causing mental discomfort. This is what makes Psychopathology of Everyday Life so important to Freud's theory, since it is the basis for the development of the concept of unconscious, the idea that deep down we are a lot more than we think we are on the surface. 

Other articles and summaries about Freud:

Books of interest: