Freud’s Theory of the Interpretation of Dreams Essay …

Essay: Sigmund Freud's Theory on Dreams

Beystehner's essay on psychoanalysis is a good introduction to Freudian theory, and also addresses the issue of whether it holds water as a science, but stops there, which is somewhat misleading. There are even a few simple factual statements that I find questionable, including the statement that the superego's demands are managed by the id. Nothing can really be "managed" by the id, nor the superego, for that matter. These two elements counterbalance each other, but only the ego is capable of "management." The term "Electra phase" is also attributed to Freud, which is a term with which he personally did not agree. In a paper such as this one that addresses Freudian theory, rather than psychoanalysis as a whole, it would be more appropriate to simply note the theoretical gaps in the theory for females. Freud's famous quote "What do women want?" would be appropriate to note. He conceded that he was unable to make his theory a balanced one for both sexes, so why not simply address that in the paper?

Neglecting much of the literature is a much more serious offense. Only Freud's writings are addressed as far as psychoanalytic theory goes, and all of the innovations within Freud's framework are ignored. Psychoanalysis has come a long way since Freud's day, including changes that account for the aforementioned inability of Freud's theory to address the issues specific to women. Many criticisms of Freud are briefly noted in the essay, but the only one that is properly addressed is the question of whether psychoanalysis has a solid scientific basis in theory and practice--that is, whether it should be considered a "pure science." This question may be an issue, but I think it is essentially a secondary one. Many modern analysts would simply concede this point, and go on their merry post-Freudian way. Far more important issues regarding sexuality, etc., are simply glossed over and left to rot as loose ends, unaddressed in the paper and, therefore, in the reader's head. There has been a lot of criticism of psychoanalysis, and it has held up very well under fire. To address only the question of scientific status, which is one of the few criticisms that has been conceded by analysts, but is (arguably) a relatively unimportant criticism, is a horrible mistake in a paper that aims to survey the literature on psychoanalysis. The paper is relatively good on the points that it addresses, but for an overview of psychoanalysis, it fails to emphasize the right points.

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