"The poets and philosophers before me discovered the unconscious. What I discovered was the scientific method by which the unconscious can be studied." Freud, 1928
Psychology is everywhere in today's society. No crime fiction, documentary, chat show, or medical consultation is complete without the introduction of a psychological angle. A basic domain of psychology is psychoanalysis that was founded by Sigmund Freud (6 May 1856 – 23 September 1939), who is regarded as one of the most influential and controversial minds of the 19th century.
The Freud Museum is in Sigmund Freud's London home after he fled the Nazis in 1938. It is a time capsule, a small chunk of Hapsburg Vienna transported to Hampstead. It contains Freud's study and library and his collection of Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities and of course the couch on which psychoanalysis was born. This was Freud's new clinical method of treating psychopathology through dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst. In creating psychoanalysis, Freud developed therapeutic techniques such as the use of free association and discovered transference, establishing its central role in the analytic process. Freud focused on sexuality explaining the psychosexual stages and formulating the Oedipus complex as the central tenet of psychoanalytical theory.
Dream interpretation was Freud's favourite way of understanding our inner conflicts between unconscious and conscious desires since according to him dreams are symbolic metaphors of our true underlying feelings. His analysis of dreams provided him with models for the clinical analysis of symptom formation and the underlying mechanisms of repression. The Austrian neurologist on this basis elaborated his theory of the unconscious and went on to develop a model of psychic structure comprising id, ego and super-ego looking into the existence of libido ; an energy which contributes in the processes and structures that generate erotic attachments, and a death drive, the source of compulsive repetition, hate, aggression and neurotic guilt. Through his work he also criticized religion and culture. In 1933, the Nazis publicly burnt a number of Freud's books and shortly after the Nazis annexed Austria in 1938, Freud left Vienna for London with his wife and daughter Anna.
The house is also filled with memories of his daughter who lived there for 44 years until 1982. Anna followed her father's paths in psychoanalysis focusing on the importance of the ego and its ability to be trained socially she developed her pioneering psychoanalytic work, especially with children. Alongside Melanie Klein, she may be considered the founder of psychoanalytic child psychology. It was her wish that the house become a museum to honour her illustrious father. The Freud Museum is one of the few in London to have two blue plaques, one for Sigmund and the other for Anna. Upstairs in the museum, in Anna's office we can read her letter-reply to someone who would like to become a psychoanalyst where she explains that he should be interested in scientific but also personal truth and work beyond the limits of medical science, religion, sociology, literature and history in order to see deeply inside his patients.
Admission Charges Adults: £8.00
Senior Citizens: £6.00
Concessions: £4.00 (students with valid ID cards, children aged 12-16, UK unemployed persons - with proof, disabled persons)
Children under 12: Free