The Evolution of Freud: His Theoretical Development of the Mind–Body Relationship and the Role of Sexuality

Author(s) : Barry R. Silverstein

The Evolution of Freud: His Theoretical Development of the Mind–Body Relationship and the Role of Sexuality

Book Details

  • Publisher : Karnac Books
  • Published : April 2022
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 157
  • Category :
  • Catalogue No : 96242
  • ISBN 13 : 9781912691401
  • ISBN 10 : 9781912691
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Renowned Freud scholar Barry R. Silverstein presents in a historical context an overview of the development of Freud’s theories. What was Freud thinking, when, and why, and what were the major influences which shaped his ideas? The book follows the inner movement of Freud’s theory construction, its meaning and coherence, as well as his conceptual logic and personal directions concerning his evolving views of the reciprocal interactions between mind and body, the motivational force of instinctual drives, and the dominant role of sexuality rooted in evolutionary biology in human development, behaviour, and the creation of neurotic disturbances. It also follows Freud’s construction and sequential reconstructions of his theoretical models concerning the nature, dynamics, and principles of unconscious mental functioning, including his changing concepts on the nature and purpose of dreams. The book traces his changing views on the role of deferred action of early childhood experiences, the determining role of unconscious fantasy, and psychic reality in the formation of adult character structure and neuroses. Through such historical analysis, The Evolution of Freud provides grounding for a meaningful understanding of Freud’s familiar concepts: id, ego, superego, and the Oedipus complex. It explores what these concepts meant to Freud, why he conceived them, and what functions they served in his theory of mind.

This is the perfect book for students and trainees wanting to learn more about the development of Freud’s ideas, as well as for established psychoanalysts and psychotherapists interested in expanding their knowledge of Freud’s theories.

Reviews and Endorsements

The Evolution of Freud provides an accessible review of Freud’s thought. Barry R. Silverstein situates Freud in the late nineteenth century, elaborating on the intellectual and scientific teachings Freud encountered as a student and young physician. From there, he traces how Freud created a discipline, and therapeutic practice, designed to explore unconscious meaning.
Judith M. Hughes, author of From Freud’s Consulting Room: The Unconscious in a Scientific Age

Professor Barry R. Silverstein’s The Evolution of Freud is an adventure into Sigmund Freud’s thinking about the mind–body relationship and the role of sexuality in the structure of the psyche. He doesn’t just tell us what Freud thought he tells us how Freud thought. Silverstein includes the medical–intellectual context within which Freud was educated and pursued his interests, and also the way Freud thought about one problem after another in search of answers that would open doors to understanding the human psyche. Silverstein shows us how Freud struggled to understand psychiatric problems, theoretical conflicts, and all the new questions they raised. We witness Freud’s struggle to make sense of phenomena for which no previous theoretical concepts existed and his courageous efforts to find a way to create a comprehensive theory of the mind that future generations could develop and extend. Silverstein reminds us of the popular critiques regarding Freud’s cocaine use, sexism, intolerance, possible affair with his sister-in-law, lack of a scientific method, and so on, but, after spending four decades studying Freud’s work, Silverstein also appreciates (1) the “continuing relevance and application” of Freud’s ideas and concepts, (2) the significant scientific legacy he left in understanding how dynamic unconscious processes could affect cognitive functions, and (3) the powerful and clinically useful understanding of repetitive behavior patterns in human relationships – the repetition compulsions. In agreement with Silverstein, I would say yes, we all have our foibles but few of us write twenty-three volumes of enduring creativity to illuminate the human soul.
Daniel S. Benveniste, PhD, Honorary Member of the American Psychoanalytic Association and author of The Interwoven Lives of Sigmund, Anna, and W. Ernest Freud: Three Generations of Psychoanalysis

It is invaluable to know about Freud’s work. Even those who may disagree with much of it cannot understand contemporary psychoanalysis without appreciating the ways virtually all of post-Freudian psychoanalysis is a reaction to, an elaboration of, or an attempted improvement on Freud. But few people will be able to study and master the twenty-four volumes of his collected writings. The Evolution of Freud provides just what is needed: a profound, perceptive, penetrating presentation of the development of Freud’s thinking in an accessible, readable book.
James William Anderson, PhD, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Northwestern University; former President of the Chicago Psychoanalytic Society

Table of Contents


Part One: Freud on mind and body
Mind and Body
From “The Project” to Metapsychology
Metapsychology: The Interpretation of Dreams
Motivation and Conflict: The Instinctual Drives
The Riddle of Hypnosis
Structural Theory
The Defensive Ego
Civilization and Dr. Freud’s Discontents

Part Two: Freud on sexuality and neuroses
J-M. Charcot
Studies on Hysteria
Sexuality and Neuroses
From Hypnosis to “Pressure”
The “Seduction Theory”
Fragments of Freud’s Self-Analysis
The Dilemma of Suggestion
From Suggestion to Transference
Childhood Sexuality and Evolutionary Biology
Defending the Sexual Theory
Development: Adult Character Types and Neuroses
Freud on Religion

Final thoughts

About the Author(s)

Barry R. Silverstein is Emeritus Professor in the Department of Psychology, William Paterson University, Wayne, NJ. His early research as a developmental psychologist produced the book (with Ronald Krate) Children of the Dark Ghetto: A Developmental Psychology, a study of the development of minority, inner-city children that is still widely cited. As an independent Freud researcher for more than forty years, he has published on the history of psychoanalysis in the journals: The Psychoanalytic Review, American Imago, The Annual of Psychoanalysis, American Psychologist, Psych CRITIQUES, The Journal of Psychohistory, and Psychological Reports. His Freud studies essays have been published in the volumes: Freud: Appraisals and Reappraisals: Contributions to Freud Studies, Vol. 1, and Sigmund Freud: Critical Assessments. His invited essay on the origins and history of psychoanalysis was published in The Freud Encyclopedia, Theory, Therapy, and Culture. He authored the book: What was Freud Thinking? A Short Historical Introduction to Freud’s Theories and Therapies. He was a frequently invited reviewer for the journal, Psychoanalytic Books.

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