A Level psychology students delve into Freud’s life work and theories on museum trip

A Level psychology students delve into Freud’s life work and theories on museum trip

22 June 2023

Ms Mariyam Batka, Teacher of Psychology

On Monday 19 June, Lower Sixth psychology students and I enjoyed a fascinating visit to the Freud Museum, based in the house where Sigmund Freud spent the last year of his life after fleeing Nazi-occupied Vienna. It was a great opportunity for students to delve into Freud’s life, work, and theories.

Our day commenced with a very informative presentation, shedding light on Freud's background and his contributions to the field of psychology. After a discussion about this, we explored the museum’s many exhibits, showcasing Freud's personal and professional life.  Our expert guide proved invaluable in helping us interpret the significance of the artifacts and memorabilia on display. Although students weren’t able to sit on the actual couch where Freud conducted his therapy, they enjoyed practising therapeutic techniques and discussing what they had learnt on a replica couch from the set of a film about Freud’s life.

The visit concluded with a highly educational session on Freud's theories on dreams. Using his wealth of knowledge and opinions about Freud's ideas, our guide skilfully led discussions exploring Freud's interpretation of dreams as a window into the unconscious mind.

The Freud Museum served as a platform for self-reflection, reminding us of the complexities of the human mind and the ongoing journey of discovery in the field of psychology.  Students Francesca and Niamh were keen to share their perspectives:

Francesca L, Lower Sixth

We learnt how Freud likened the mind to archaeology, ‘retrieving memories out of sedimented depths and incorporating these memories into the present’. I thought this was a good summary of his controversial approach. We also gained a great insight into Freud’s personal life, such as how he was forced out of Vienna due to the Nazis taking over Austria. I found learning about Freud’s daughter, Anna, the most interesting part of the trip. Her work contributed greatly to current understanding of child psychology. Anna Freud’s approach was mainly directed towards putting ourselves in a child’s skin to understand their thoughts and feelings and the issues they are going through so that they can be treated on a more personal level.

Niamh W, Lower Sixth

I learnt about interesting case studies such as “Wolf Man”, who had an early childhood dream about six or seven wolves sitting in a tree outside his bedroom window and woke up at the thought of being eaten by them. I found it interesting that Freud wanted to prove that psychoanalysis could succeed as a therapy where official psychiatry had failed. I really enjoyed the session on dreams led by Stefan Marianski, who discussed the meaning behind dreams according to the work of Freud.

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