Jakob and Amalie Freud had both been raised as Orthodox Jews, but they gave their children a relatively nonreligious upbringing. Freud was to become firmly atheisticlater in life, but although he never failed to distance himself from the religious side of Judaism, he always remained true to secular Jewish culture. Freud's early schooling took place at home under his mother's direction. His father, contributed to his education as Freud grew older. Eventually, Freud entered the Sperl Gymnasium, a German grammar school, or high school. Freud, always very seriousand studious, was first in his class for seven years. His scholarly career was strongly encouraged by his parents: when the Freuds moved to a new house on the Kaiser Josefstrasse in 1875, Freud was the only one of the eight- member family to get his own room, and the only one to get a gas lamp for a light instead of candles. It speaks to Freud's singular focus on scholarship that he only got intodebt once during his childhood– by spending too much on books.
“Around the time of Freud's graduation from the Sperl Gymnasium, he began to use the name "Sigmund," which was the name he would use for the rest of his life. In 1873, at the early age of seventeen, Freud entered the University of Vienna as a medical student. He had briefly considered a career in law, but found the allure ofscience–whetted, according to Freud, by an article by Goethe on nature–too strong to ignore. His interest in medical school came not from any desire to cure, although he was certainly happy to be engaged in work that might benefit humanity, but from a deep fascination with the image of the scientist as truth-seeker. Much later in life, in his Autobiography (1925), Freud would write that medicine had neverbeen his passion, and that he was glad to have returned to the research that had initially drawn him into the field.”(Spark notes)
He received his medical degree in 1881, and having become engaged to be married in 1882, he rather reluctantly took up more secure and financially rewarding work as a doctor at Vienna General Hospital. Freud made the acquaintance of Martha Bernays, the sister of one ofFreud's university friends. Freud and Martha were both far too poor to marry, but nonetheless they secretly got engaged. Because of Freud's meager income, they would not be able to marry for another five years – their relationship seems to have stayed healthy throughout their more than fifty years of marriage. Martha and Freud's first child, Mathilde, was born in 1887 she was followed by Anna,Martin, Sophie, Ernst, and Oliver - Shortly after his marriage in 1886 Freud set up a private practice in the treatment of psychological disorders, which gave him much of the clinical material on which he based his theories and his pioneering techniques.
In 1885-86 Freud spent the greater part of a year in Paris, where he was deeply impressed by the work of the French neurologist Jean Charcot, whowas at that time using hypnotism to treat hysteria and other abnormal mental conditions. When he returned to Vienna, Freud experimented with hypnosis, but found that its beneficial effects did not last. At this point he decided to adopt instead a method suggested by the work of an older Viennese colleague and friend, Josef Breuer, who had discovered that when he encouraged a hysterical patient totalk uninhibitedly about the earliest occurrences of the symptoms, the latter sometimes gradually abated. Working with Breuer, Freud formulated and developed the idea that many neuroses had their origins in deeply traumatic experiences which had occurred in the past life of the patient but which were now forgotten, hidden from consciousness; the treatment was to enable the patient to recall the...