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Google doodle on Sigmund Freud, Father of Modern Psychology

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The 160th birth anniversary of Sigmund Freud, father of psychoanalysis and considered an influential and often controversial 20th century thinker, is being celebrated by Google with a doodle on its homepage.

Doodler Kevin Laughlin captures the image of a dreamer, perhaps Freud himself reclining on a blue iceberg with a vast hidden base that can be interpreted to be a "reference to the murky depths of the unconsious mind", as a tribute to the psychologist who introduced concepts such as 'Id' and 'Oedipus complex'.

"More importantly, the design draws our eye to the horizon, reminding us how the genius of Freud's practice rests in the space between doctor and patient, reader and text, human and world," Google describes the doodle.

The idea that dreams "mean" anything or that we have an active subconscious mind, is a concept by Freud, an Austrian neurologist, who created an entirely new approach to understanding of human personality.

Born on 6 May 1856 in Freiberg, Moravia (now Pribor in the Czech Republic) to a merchant father, he was educated in Vienna where his family moved to and eventually settled.

After graduating in medicine at the University of Vienna he worked at the Vienna General Hospital where he collaborated with Josef Breuer in treating hysteria by the recall of painful experiences under hypnosis.

Freud is best known for introducing the method of

resolving mental illness through a dialogue between a doctor and patient, which has been often potrayed in popular culture with a typical visual of a patient reclining on a dimpled couch while talking to the therapist.

The Freudian method of interpretation - looking for meaning beyond the surface of things - now extends far beyond the sphere of psychotherapy. Freudian terms like "narcissism," "sibling rivalry," "free association," and "death wish" are part of the vernacular, and Freud's theories continue to fuel heated debate among academics.

In 1900 Freud published 'The Interpretation of Dreams' that analysed dreams in terms of unconscious desires and experiences and developed the theory that humans have an unconscious in which sexual and aggressive impulses are in perpetual conflict for supremacy with defences against them.

In 1910, the International Psychoanalytic Association was founded with Carl Jung, a close associate of Freud as the president. Jung later broke with Freud and developed his own theories.

In 1923, he published 'The Ego and the Id', which suggested a new structural model of the mind, divided into the 'id, the 'ego' and the 'superego'.

It has been suggested that his understanding of human psychology may have been partially derived from the plays of Shakespeare, whom he read throughout his life.

Freud, who left Austria in 1938 to escape the Nazis died of cancer of the jaw in United Kingdom on 23 September 1939 at the age of 83.

First Published: Fri, May 06 2016. 12:13 IST