Explore BrainMass

How Historical Psychology Influences Modern Psychology

What is one part of the history of psychology that has been most influential in the practice of modern psychology?

Solution Preview

One part of the history of psychology that was most influential in the practice of modern psychology, is the period from the 1890s through the 1950s, in which Sigmund Freud influenced the field of psychology in reference to his theoretical perspective on psychoanalysis. Additionally, the theory of behaviorism also influenced psychology, which has since become one of the mainstays of psychological methodology and theory in respect to the treatment of clients.

The major premise of psychoanalysis, was that the unconscious mind had a strong effect on the resulting thinking and subsequent actions of individuals, even though those individuals may not be acutely aware of the unconscious or subconscious thinking patterns that are affecting them at the present time. In general, Freud theorized that there were deep underlying experiences that lay within the memory and subconscious of most individuals, and that these underlying or repressed thoughts and memories were the cause of the mental agitation, or mental dysfunction that many of his patients were experiencing. Freud also was very adamant in expressing the fact that many of these subconscious memories and or thought patterns also contain emotional attachments, and that these underlying emotions were expressed when the subconscious memories were activated within an individual, and subsequently expressed in the actions and activities of these individuals. In addition, the subconscious memories also cause the individual to experience emotions that they could not explain, due to the fact that at the time that they were feeling the emotions, they were in a state of mind that was contrary to the particular emotion that they were experiencing. For instance, an individual may be engaged in an activity that usually makes them very happy and excited, but due to the fact that something in that environment triggered the release of the subconscious thoughts and their accompanying emotions, the individual may all of a sudden become very sad for no apparent reason.

Due to Freud's theory concerning the subconscious mind, and its affect on an individual's conscious thoughts and ...