Homosexual Urges and Paranoia and Other Criticisms of Sigmund Freud's Work
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Homosexual Urges and Paranoia and Other Criticisms of Sigmund Freud's Work

Freud’s theories were filled with sweeping generations. He formulated a theory for all humankind based on a small sample of upper class Viennese women. His theories don’t account for people of different cultures or social status. His theories were they not supposed to be clinical would be considered discriminatory and prejudice today especially when it came to women and homosexual behavior.

We have been reviewing some of the criticisms of Freud’s work.  In this article I will add a few more.  We ended the last article saying that Freud and his followers made a lot of inferences about what was happening and not simply observing what was happening.  To illustrate this point, Thomas Forrest Main (1958) http://www.enotes.com/thomas-forrest-main-reference/thomas-forrest-main,

once observed a baby having a bubble bath. The baby was gurgling and laughing and playing with the bubbles. Main concluded, “The little boy babbles tenderly to himself because he has taken into himself his tender soaping mother.”  This is a great leap since all Main had actually observed was a baby taking a bath and enjoying himself.

Clearly the inference this psychoanalyst has made is his own conjecture of what was happening.  Many critics are challenging the work of Freud and his followers for not being scientific at all. These theories can’t be proved or disproved. The scientific model of research which currently is in use requires that experiments are conducted and information gathering (theories) can be approved or disproved based on the analysis of the physical data.

Freud based his theory of personality on a very small group; the upper class Viennese Society.  From this small sample he made a theory for all humanity.  Clearly, we can see the problem here.  We have race issues, financial status, culture and lifestyle differences that were never accounted for. 

Today we are very conscious of these things, but not back then.  No one would argue that what applies to the rich lifestyle of a politician let’s say, is not the same as for the poor; nor the same for a rich Hollywood star.  American living is different from living in deepest darkest parts of Africa and so on.  All the factors in the environment in which we live will affect our personality.

If the words psychoanalytic theory is taken out of the conversion, it is not hard to see the similarities with this broad model of sweeping generalizations and the same types of sweeping generalizations for discrimination and prejudice.

One example of his discrimination was towards homosexuality.  He held that homosexual urges that have been repressed in the psyche are the basis for all paranoid disorders.   However, he failed to look at cases of people how many people with paranoia do not have repressed homosexual urges (because for him they all would have them) or how many clients with repressed homosexual urges were not paranoid at all.

To be continued

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