All About Freud (and Others)
-- Updated January 20, 2011 --

What About Freud?

    Sigmund Freud's theory of psychoanalysis has been challenged and revised practically from the moment it was made public. Freud's very words have been and are continuing to be revised. The difficulty with English-speaking people attempting to understand complex thoughts, ideas, concepts and theories that were originally rendered in the German language is that important nuances and significant shades of meaning are subject to getting lost in the translation.

    Even if those significant shades of meaning could be captured in the English-language translations, controversy and criticism are part and parcel of getting to the core of essential truths about our psychological and behavioral selves. I am thankful for thought and discussion, and for complexity. They are manifestations of the wonders of human mentality.

    So, in the spirit of discussion and gaining awareness of the upside and downside of Freudian theory and other theories of personality, psychology and behavior, we will post ongoing columns and links to Web sites about Freud and others on this page. Check back often to see how Freud fares.

Freud and Daily Computer Life...

    The Freudian Send: E-Mail Gone Wrong

      Recently, I have been conducting an informal Freud survey. Not a lot of people know what a Freudian slip is. And, not a lot of younger people know who Freud was. Where to begin? Freud: founder of psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis: Long definition -- maybe you should look it up. (See links further below.)

      However, most everyone knows about “bloopers.” They see and hear them all the time. There are whole videotapes and DVDs full of bloopers. Most bloopers are just simple mistakes without a lot of meaning -- a forgotten word, a trip, a fall. But a Freudian slip is another kind of “mistake” altogether -- “an unintentional mistake of speech that reveals the true feeling or impulse of the person speaking.”

      It is very significant that nearly every explanation of such slips uses an example of a guy slipping up. Don't women make slips?

      My current favorite example of a probable Freudian slip is when President Bush reportedly said in a speech he was giving to a group of teachers “I'd like to spank all teachers.” We guess that he wanted to say “thank” all the teachers, but he didn't. Why didn't he? That is open to analysis.

      The female equivalent of such a slip would be to address a guy named Dennis as “Penis” or Rick as “Prick.” You get my drift? A true Freudian slip reveals what is really on our mind and not the more civilized thing we were trying to say in the first place.

    Well, Who Cares?

      Psychoanalysts care. I care. You should care. Here's why.

      The more we suppress a thought or feeling, rather than deal with it, the more likely it will express itself in some inappropriate, possibly strange manner. Suppression produces steam. Where the steam will escape, nobody knows.

      I know, we can't go around just expressing all our thoughts and feelings because that would probably get us locked up. However, we all have significant reactions to people and situations that we need to discuss with someone in our life, or at least recognize and talk to ourselves about them, or else, unpredictable things may happen.

    Beware of the Send Button

      Beware of the “Send” button if you are feeling hot or bothered. It can bite you in a truly Freudian way.

      The speed and ease of e-mail can get us in trouble, even when we don't have a lot of steam built up about some issue or person. E-mail brings a huge, new dimension to how far and wide our “slips” can be distributed, examined, reacted to, and recorded for posterity.

      Alice Kahn, co-author of “Your Joke's in the E-Mail,” is credited with originating the term “Freudian Send.” It is a term worth remembering.

    Steam Cleaning

      If you use e-mail a lot, especially at work, you have probably heard at least one horror story about e-mail sent to precisely the wrong person, like to the exact boss someone was cracking jokes about.

      Dissention, arguing, and poking fun have certain health benefits between consenting adults, but most likely, the person down the hall doesn't want to know what we think about their brain, breast, penis or butt size, and the boss doesn't want to know, either. I guarantee it.

      Prevention is 99% of the cure for the Freudian Send.

      Sure, we can do some impressive tap dancing to try to fix the consequences of an e-mail gone wrong, but the damage will have been done. Apologies help, but they don't delete memories or saved copies of the Freudian Send.

      Here are four suggestions to help prevent a Freudian Send.

        One:   If you are feeling hot or bothered, slow down and think. Two:   Don't use the Reply or Forward button. That will keep you from accidentally replying or forwarding “To All.” (DearShrink doesn't believe in accidents.) Three:   Write your e-mail message outside of the e-mail program. Review it carefully. Four:   Steam clean your e-mail. Get rid of cussing, swearing, and any loaded or insulting words.

      The pay raise, job or relationship you save may be your own.

A Whole Bunch of Links About Freudian Slips.

U.S. Library of Congress Links About Freud.

Links to Information about Other Psychological Theories.

Thank You for Stopping By!

            -- Best wishes, Dr. Sterling


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