75 Years After His Death, Has Freud Slipped Out of Our Conscious?

If you ask a psychologist, they will tell you Freud is obsolete. His theories have been debunked. The Oedipus Complex? Nonsense. Psychotherapy? Not helpful. But this week, Michael S. Roth, President of Wesleyan University, says otherwise in a piece he wrote for the The Chronicle of Higher Education entitled, “Why Freud Still Haunts Us.”

Rather than being an artifact of psychological history, Roth argues that 75 years after his death, “Freud continues to haunt our culture because his genre of questioning remains tied to our desire for meaning.” Even though we no longer rely on his theories for the accurate diagnosis and treatment of psychological maladies, his work pervades our cultural subconscious and college humanities classrooms.

Here at the BYU Humanities Center, we are also asking questions about Freud and psychoanalysis. Dr. Carl Sederholm, who leads the Psychoanalysis Reading Group, responds about Freud’s relevance, “I think that Freud will remain relevant so long as people read him and use his ideas to challenge their own thought. No matter how many people claim that Freud’s ideas have become outdated, he remains an important influence on the way that many people think about themselves, about others, and about creative expression. Freud also continues to challenge us with the idea that we don’t know ourselves nearly as well as we think we do.”

-Phoebe Cook

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