History vs. Sigmund Freud – Todd Dufresne

Working in Vienna at the turn
of the 20th century, he began his career as a neurologist before pioneering the discipline
of psychoanalysis. He proposed that people are motivated
by unconscious desires and repressed memories, and their problems can be addressed by making those motivations conscious
through talk therapy. His influence towers above that of all
other psychologists in the public eye. But was Sigmund Freud
right about human nature? And were his methods scientific? Order, order.
Today on the stand we have… Dad? Ahem, no, your honor. This is Doctor Sigmund Freud, one of the most innovative thinkers
in the history of psychology. An egomaniac who propagated
pseudoscientific theories. Well, which is it? He tackled issues medicine
refused to address. Freud’s private practice treated women who suffered from what was called
hysteria at the time, and their complaints hadn’t been taken
seriously at all. From the women with depression
he treated initially to World War I veterans with PTSD, Freud’s talking cure worked, and the visibility he gave his patients
forced the medical establishment to acknowledge their psychological
disorders were real. He certainly didn’t help all his patients. Freud was convinced
that our behavior is shaped by unconscious urges
and repressed memories. He invented baseless unconscious
or irrational drivers behind the behavior of trauma
survivors— and caused real harm. How’s that? He misrepresented some of his most
famous case studies, claiming his treatment had cured patients
when in fact they had gotten worse. Later therapists influenced
by his theories coaxed their patients into “recovering” supposedly repressed memories
of childhood abuse that never happened. Lives and families were torn apart. You can’t blame Freud for later
misapplications of his work— that would be projecting. Plenty of his ideas were harmful
without any misapplication. He viewed homosexuality
as a developmental glitch. He coined the term penis envy— meaning women are haunted for life
by their lack of penises. Freud was a product of his era. Yes, some of the specifics were flawed, but he created a new space
for future scientists to explore, investigate, and build upon. Modern therapy techniques
that millions of people rely on came out of the work he started
with psychoanalysis. And today everyone knows
there’s an unconscious— that idea was popularized Freud. Psychologists today only believe
in a “cognitive unconscious,” the fact that you aren’t aware
of everything going on at a given moment. Freud took this idea way too far,
ascribing deep meaning to everything. He built his theories on scientific ideas
that were outdated even in his own time, not just by today’s standards— for example, he thought
individual psychology is derived from the biological inheritance
of events in ancient history. And I mean ancient— 
like the Ice Age or the killing of Moses. Freud and his closest allies actually
believed these prehistorical traumas had ongoing impacts on human psychology. He thought that the phase
of cold indifference to sexuality during pubescence was literally
an echo of the Ice Age. With fantastical beliefs like these,
how can we take him seriously? Any renowned thinker from centuries past has ideas that seem fantastical
by today’s standards, but we can’t discount
their influence on this basis. Freud was an innovator
linking ideas across many fields. His concepts have become everyday terms that shape how we understand and talk
about our own experiences. The Oedipus complex? Ego and id?
Defense mechanisms? Death wishes? All Freud. But Freud didn’t present himself as a
social theorist— he insisted that his work was scientific. Are you saying he… repressed
inconvenient facts? Freud’s theories were unfalsifiable. Wait, so you’re saying he was right? No, his ideas were framed so that
there’s no way to empirically verify them. Freud didn’t even necessarily believe
in the psychoanalysis he was peddling. He was pessimistic
about the impact of therapy. What! I think I need to lie down! Many of Sigmund Freud’s ideas
don’t hold up to modern science, and his clinical practices don’t meet
today’s ethical standards. At the same time, he sparked
a revolution in psychology and society, and created a vocabulary
for discussing emotion. Freud made his share of mistakes. But is a thinker responsible
for how subsequent generations put their ideas to use? Do they deserve the blame,
credit, or redemption when we put history on trial?

100 thoughts on “History vs. Sigmund Freud – Todd Dufresne

  1. If you're interested in learning more about the vital hours you spend unconscious, we recommend "Why we sleep,” Matthew Walker's groundbreaking book that examines how we can harness the transformative power of sleep to change our lives for the better. Download a free audiobook version here: audible.com/ted-ed And thanks! Every free trial started through this link helps support our nonprofit mission.

  2. Seems to me Freud should be viewed less as a scientists or "great thinker" and more as a Pioneer. His specific ideas were all over the place and unverifiable.. but his work paved the way for more thorough and accurate insight.

  3. I believe there was a misunderstanding of what Freud has stated in regards of those so called "Ice Age Traumas" and such. In his texts, he uses those stories as exemples of characteristics of modern society, how we organized in systems of power and our rituals. In those texts he was thinking about society as a whole, not only the individual who goes through a psychoanalysis

  4. So if Freud was alive today for a day

    So hey Freud, you are still kind of important…
    Unfortunately most of what you learned was wrong…

  5. I think it's important to keep in mind that Freud wasn't being "scientific" in terms of positivity and all the epistemology behind it. Only looking at the world in terms of what can be observable, measurable and quantifiable won't answer all our questions.

  6. Em' Psychiatrists exist because of this man..
    And now i got go talk about my feelings and stuff.. ugh!!
    Freud why didn't you just "slip" and become a physicist instead.

  7. Please make a video on:
    What if we fill the entire earth with water till atmosphere:
    1. Water pressure on bottom of ocean?
    2. Can earth crust sustain such pressure?
    3. Total depth of ocean from Mariana trench to atmosphere?
    4. Pressure on water molecule at bottom?
    5. Any life can sustain under such pressure?
    6. If crust collapse, then how mantle and water behave after mixing?
    7. Earth's rotation and revolution behaviour?
    8. Will water at top get out from space slowly?
    9. Moon's behaviour?

  8. Freud's initial clientele, in the 1890s when he was still working with Breuer, were all hysterics (based on the same root as "uterus"–i.e. presumed to apply only to women), but 1/3 (6 of 18) were men. This video consists of little more than assertions supported by brief, summary, unexplicated examples. Freud's legacy is very complex and hard to understand, let alone describe or evaluate in simple terms. He changed our appreciation of human motivation, and of the complexity of human functioning, for the better, but also was a dogmatist who made huge mistakes (IMO as a retired psychotherapist). This too-brief, too-simple video will have served a useful purpose if it motivates people to find out more about Freud, his successors, and the whole broad field of psychotherapy.

  9. This video is totally inaccurate and misleading! The supposed facts it presents about psychoanalysis are absolutely falsities.
    On the contrary nowadays neuroscience and particularly neuropsychoanalysis validates, clarifies and refines most of Freud's theories and therapeutic techniques.
    Eric Kandel, nobelist in the field of neurobiology, says that psychoanalysis still

    represents the most coherent and intellectually satisfying view of the mind.
    So it seems to me that the purpose of this video is to promote a book rather than present Freud's contribution through the lenses of contemporary science.

  10. when i took an AP psychology class my book said that freud’s ideas are not practiced anymore by therapists. i’ve been doing cognitive therapy with several therapists over the years. it never worked. i started doing psychotherapy & it worked. my hunch that i had a form of PTSD was right. i have CPTSD. a lot of therapists that i saw believed it was only anxiety. i posed the question that i think it’s more than that and they said no it’s anxiety. my psychotherapist uses talk therapy and EMDR to help with my CPTSD. we talk about the ego, repressed memories, my defense mechanisms, etc. freud’s way of practicing was extreme. that shouldn’t discredit his foundation of these concepts he coined. his discovery has helped me so much that now i can function better. i’m more self aware & i’m making healthier choices. psychotherapy works & should be valued the same way cognitive therapy is.

  11. History vs. Alexander Hamilton
    History vs. Neville Chamberlain
    History vs. Thomas Jefferson
    History vs. Karl Marx
    History vs. John Lennon
    History vs. Mother Teresa
    History vs. Guy Fawkes
    History vs. Julius Caesar
    History vs. Abraham Lincoln
    History vs. Alexander the Great

  12. Saying that Freud believed homosexuality was a "glitch" is a half-truth. He believed in "primary bisexuality." This would imply that HETEROsexuality is a glitch as well.

    A lot of his ideas get misrepresented – which is a real shame because his writing tends to be pretty accessible. Another missed point is that Freud VERY OFTEN ADMITTED HE WAS WRONG. Like… thats the whole point of so many of his case studies, as well as "Beyond the Pleasure Principle"

  13. It's like trial and error we make mistake and learn the truth at the end. But at the end people will start saying what people did back then was wrong

  14. Once again, you’ve provided quality content which is enlightening & engaging. Keep this knowledge train going! (Choo-Choo!)

  15. The stupidity of this video makes it impossible to comment.

    By the way, EVIDENCE BASED studies have proved that psychodynamic psychotherapy is the most effective therapy that we dispose today. Psychodynamic psychotherapy is the modern way to say psychoanalysis. These are facts, enough said.

  16. I love how this episode took a turn, and it wasn't just about, was this historical figure a good or bad person, but rather do their ideas have any merit and should they be praised for their advancements. Well done Ted-Ed.


  17. ???SUGGESTIONS ???

    * History vs. Jesus ( as a historical figue and a religious figure btw)
    * History vs. Mahatma Gandhi
    * History vs. Abraham Lincoln
    * History vs. Hideki Tojo
    * History vs. Saddam Hussein
    * History vs. Maximilien Robespierre
    * History vs. Winston Churchill

    Please like so the overlords at Ted-Ed will notice us. ?

  18. It's easy to look back and say what was wrong about someone's thinking. Freud had many ideas that were wrong, some of them seriously harmful. But he popularized the idea that mental illness was the same as physical illness – that it could be caused by events, and could be treated. It was a massive improvement over the former, tragically widespread idea that mental illness was an inherent flaw, where a person was simply intrinsically defective somehow – a weak mind or weak will. Freud was a big step on the road to improvement.

  19. Fun fact: Freud's nephew helped popularize Bacon and Eggs as a staple American breakfast because the meat industry paid him to.

  20. Freud was so close to being a person I would truly respect. He was one of the first to pen “seduction theory” into the vocabulary of psychology, the idea that being molested in childhood has long-term negative effects on a person. However, he was disturbed by this notion, in large part due to his own father’s molestation of a young Sigmund. As such, he blocked seduction theory from making its way into discourse, instead covering it up with Oedipal theories designed to fascinate people interested in developmental psychology and keep them from looking into seduction theory. While many current ideas are, I’ll grant you, loosely based on some of his, his efforts as a sum total pushed back therapy, as can clearly be seen by the further institutionalization of many of his patients, another thing he covered up. People subjected to his techniques for therapy had their conditions worsened as often as they were improved. What his theories did was go to people who were traumatized and tell them that actually, they only imagined that stuff that they actually wanted to happen. Even if he was a visionary for recognizing PTSD, that’s only a step forward and two steps back. Considering how awful his own childhood was, I can’t find it in myself to crack jokes about his “mommy issues,” but I hope that pop culture moves on from this fascination with an ultimately regressive figure in the science of psychology.

  21. we are certainly influenced by prehistoric factors… that's when we last evolved (significantly). We were built for prehistory.

  22. I'd say Civilization and its Discontents pretty strongly suggests Freud saw himself as at lease a bit of a social theorist.

  23. The author here isn't very knowledgeable about Freud. Both the criticisms and the accolades in this cartoon are surface understandings of his theories and not much different than the common popular (mis)understandings of his writings seen everywhere else.

  24. I am looking for friends from America, and would like to learn to speak English, if you have a desire to talk to a Russian speaker, do you mind ?Hi

  25. I think I’m only speaking for myself here- but I’d love to see history vs Vlad the Impaler

    While you can say he was a bloodthirsty vicious ruler, on the other side of the coin you could argue his brutality is because he was arguably the first true master of psychological warfare; definitely worth exploring at least

    (NOTE: I am not picking sides; just proposing a potential idea)

  26. I love that this series is back,
    but you got to improve the framerate of your animation. this is so choppy compared to older episodes

  27. Freud is the father of psychology, no one can take that away from him. No matter how many "good" or "bad" was done during the creation of it 😀

  28. History vs Caesar
    Hero of the people and brilliant general or Egomaniacal tyrant and genocidal maniac?

  29. Most of his "innovations" weren't even his own. "Ego and Id", "libido", "repressed" memories" were all plagiarized from Friedrich Nietzsche.

  30. That's like saying the Greeks trying to figure out the elements of living beings or Tribal Shamans finding herbs that can heal is not SCIENCE… There are ethical and moral limits we impose on science, for very good reasons, but science itself, creatively should have no limits.

  31. Dr Sigmund Freud was a genius in discovering how the human psyche works , with all the stupidity of his era he was a real innovator and open the path to subsequent discoveries.

  32. 3:10 "individual psychology is derived from the biological inheritance of events in ancient history…" is mostly true, because parents inadvertently transfer their psychological issues to their kids. I think that our "Covid 19" trauma most likely will influence generations to come psychologically.

  33. After certain experiences I've had a absolutely believe freud's overall message. I used to be skeptical, but I truly think that those who doubt Freud's thesis only need to have one or two direct experiences of delving into thier unconscious mind and you will realize the importance of exactly the things he talked about in your own life. It's easy to dismiss the subconscious mind, but when you actually see it for what it is and it's importance you will be awe struck

  34. He had ideas a century ago that are now dismissed? I'm shocked! Next you'll be telling me bloodletting was a bad idea.

  35. Do one for Oda Nobunaga! Was he the brutal "Demon King/General" everyone says he is or a great unifier whose conquests were necessary to bringing peace to Japan?

  36. I'm sorry, but is no one going to talk about the animation being voiced by the same person?? Or am I wrong?

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