Why Do We Still Teach Freud If He Was So Wrong?
Why Do We Still Teach Freud If He Was So Wrong?

Thanks the curiosity stream for supporting this episode of scishow psyche go to curiosity stream comm slash psych to learn more We all have that one friend, you know the one who’s a bit more organized and stubborn and who sometimes gets upset if they or You screw up. You might have even heard someone insult them by calling them anal. But wait, that doesn’t make any sense Why does being rigid and organized have anything to do with butts? Well, if you were to ask Sigmund Freud quite a bit But also he’d be wrong that insult of calling someone anal though does come right out of Freud’s work It’s related to anal retentive fixation, which is supposedly the result of unresolved conflicts between you and your caregivers during potty training But like so many things Freud thought it’s kind of bogus So, why do we still spend so much time talking about the student psychology classes? The short answer is that there were a few things Freud got right that were really important but also Psychologists now want to take the lead on debunking some of the nonsense he started in their field if you haven’t heard of the guy Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist who popularized loads of ideas about psychology across the United States and Europe Some of his ideas were pretty reasonable and are still supported today for example Freud believed that the experiences you had growing up can influence how you behave now, but even more of his ideas were Kind of out there like Freud also thought that while growing up your unconscious mind spent time focused on each erogenous zone like the mouths anus and genitals He also suggested that children work through sexual frustrations with their opposite sex parent and that women suffer from penis envy Really so it can seem really weird or even harmful that psych classes devote time to his work But there are reasons for it One reason is historical Freud did get some things right and that became the foundation of future more trustworthy research. For example Freud popularized the idea that people are influenced by an Unconscious mind meaning that your thoughts and behaviors might not all be under your conscious control He wasn’t the first to introduce the idea But he was among the first to talk about it without mentioning like ghosts or demons instead He thought your unconscious mind grew from your experiences and modern attachment theory grew directly from those ideas in other words Psychologists now think that the experiences in your relationship with your caregiver can influence how you develop relationships later in life Although no one today could legitimately Argue that it has to do with your erogenous zones It’s still based on the insight that unremembered experiences as a child can influence you as an adult which was a fairly new idea at the time another reason that Freud is still taught today is because Sometimes Freudian therapy can still kind of work Most of Freud’s theoretical ideas about how the mind operator were based on his clinical work with patients that kind of therapy is called psychoanalysis or psychodynamic therapy It involves a lot of talking and sorting through Supposedly unconscious processes and although Freudian theory is now mostly abandoned some meta analyses have shown that Psychodynamic therapy can be effective at least depending on what you compare it to for example a 2012 meta-analysis of 11 studies found that Psychoanalytic therapy was somewhat effective for a variety of disorders if you compared it to treatments that didn’t involve talk therapy But it didn’t seem that useful if you compared it to anything else another Meta-analysis in 2008 looked at more than 23 studies that compared long-term psychodynamic therapy to shorter therapies And it found that spending more time in psychodynamic treatment was generally better for personality functioning and reducing symptoms There are plenty of caveats to this though for one Even if the overall results were promising the studies in the meta analyses did seem to vary a lot Some found that Freudian therapy worked really well and others not so much that suggests there could be other variables at work Also, most of these studies compared Freudian methods to shorter treatments or to no treatments at all. Ultimately the takeaway here Is that if you’re looking for a therapist? You might find that someone practicing a more Freudian style actually works well for you or you might find better results elsewhere regardless because these types of therapies do still exist the idea is they’re based on are important to know about Finally one last reason you still hear about Freud in class. Is that psychologists are trying to take responsibility for the mess their field made and are trying to clean things up a bit in the past century Freud and his ideas got really popular So students come into psychology courses with all kinds of ideas about the guy and your professors need to point out which ones are flat-out Wrong Plus Freud isn’t just in psychology class anymore 2008 study of course descriptions at 150 colleges and universities found that 86% of courses referencing psychoanalysis Were taught outside psych departments. The researchers found that Freud’s work is brought up across the humanities including in English departments So the hope is that if you learn about him in psych class You should be able to sort out fact from fiction if you run into him in another course if you’re suffering through the boring parts Of intro psych wondering why you’re spending so much time talking about this old dead bearded wrong, dude. Don’t worry too much your professor is just trying to give you some historical context about how psychology has grown and clean up some of the messes the field is made if you’ve watched a few episodes of scishow psych you’ve probably picked up on the Fact that we’re really curious people who love learning about the mind and about the world that’s why this episode is brought to you by curiosity stream their subscription-based streaming service that offers more than 2400 documentaries and nonfiction titles many of them come from the world’s best filmmakers and they’re super interesting For example, we just found one called light on earth. That’s all about bioluminescence and it’s narrated by Sir David Attenborough So like, you know, it’s good If you want to check it out you can get 31 days of curiosity stream for free Just go to curiosity stream comm slash psych and use the promo code psych during the signup process after that a subscription Only costs $2.99 per month besides learning cool stuff. You’ll also be supporting scishow. So, thank you

100 thoughts on “Why Do We Still Teach Freud If He Was So Wrong?”

  1. SciShow Psych says:

    Go to http://curiositystream.com/psych to start streaming Light On Earth. Use the promo code ‘psych’ during the sign-up process to get your first 31 days free!

  2. James Downs says:

    My psychology course taught Freud as if he was right. So I was really confused as to why I learned about him if he was actually so wrong.

  3. Xxh0mEr0xX says:

    The penis envy is real tho

  4. Curly privat says:


    In Vienna Freud isn't taught -simply because the founder of the faculty of psychology did not like him. xD

  5. Abra Morgan says:

    Research that demonstrates efficacy of psychodynamic therapy is not the same as demonstrating efficacy of psychoanalysis. I'm a behavioral therapist and I have colleagues who do great psychodynamic work. What they do is typically largely based in Adlerian psychology, Jungian psychology, or is a combination of a non-Freudian psychodynamic base with Relational therapy or something else mixed in. There are very few psychoanalysts and their work is very different from the more widely accepted psychodynamic work that is used by my colleagues. Further, when looking at efficacy for these studies that say psychodynamic work is more efficacious than short-term therapy, I'd be curious about how short-term and how they're measuring success. If we measure based on objective behavioral change, I think different results will be given than if we measure by subjective patient report. Yes, learning about Freud's lack of use of the scientific method is important, but when we allow schools of psychology to continue to claim to be "psychology" while continuing refusal to adhere to scientific methods, it diminishes our credibility as a whole.

  6. mdx says:

    the same reason why we still have democrazy: peaople are idiots.

  7. Sarah Gerhardt says:

    That’s my big q

  8. Obey Silence says:

    Depth psychology based therapy approaches are more effective than CBT for many patients.

  9. Dop3matt3r _ says:

    The only mess that psychology made was in the post modern era

  10. Topher S says:

    The photo @ 2:11. Adorable.

  11. infinateU says:

    No, Freud cannot be wrong. He Izzzz settled science. Keep Science great. Unless your ready to transcend, in that case….

  12. infinateU says:

    Check out SuspiciousObservers.org

  13. Dominik Arendt says:

    First video on any of the SciShow channels that i find upsetting. This channel is called SciShow >Psych< and i can't help but feel like its making fun of the founder of modern Psychology. He founded psychoanalysis and who knows where the field would be today without him. Sure he got many things wrong, but science is just that, creating theories, finding ways to test them, and overwork them. Look at any great mind and you will find that they advance and revolutionize science and not simply "get everything right".

  14. Dick Bird says:

    human cognitive function is still poorly understood, yet the need for treatment in large numbers of people very obviously remains. i'd say it's just a matter of, those who have to do what they can to help, often go with whatever seems like it might be working at the time in each case, without so much worrying about having a rock solid scientific basis for the therapy as you might get in other areas

  15. Happy ClamGuy says:

    Most of Freud's ideas say more about him than others >_>

  16. Taranis Spatula says:

    There’s a sure a lot of very tight asses nowadays…

  17. UnboundSpirit says:

    He wasn’t wrong, scientists just weren’t ready to admit their secret affections for their mothers ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

  18. SteveVi0lence says:

    Freud…. Pyscho anal therapy

  19. David Beaulieu says:

    At this point shouldn't we just be calling him Fraud?

  20. Chaos Z says:

    Smart guy, still pseudoscience.

  21. Maria Dacosta says:

    What is the freudian explanation for homosexuality?

  22. kathryn doyle says:

    He was a crackhead too

  23. Kevin Yeoh says:

    Jordan Peterson has left the chat

  24. Chris Felouzis says:

    This is pretty funny because if there was ever a woman that had penis envy, I would bet it would be her.

  25. Neophyte says:

    he's not much wronger than the rest of psychology.

  26. Dexy83 says:

    "…penis envy. Really. 😒" – Brit! 🤣🤣🤣

  27. theotherguitargeek says:

    I remember my intro psych class. My teacher was v clear that A: Freud wasn’t ACTUALLY the first major psychologist and B: that a lot of Freud’s ideas, esp about child development, were borderline pedophilic. Honestly I recognize the importance of Freud, but he was also a little nuts.

  28. Jimbo Jackson says:

    I remember reading Freud's Wikipedia pg before I knew he was a cook. I was like, what is wrong w/ this man?!

  29. Corksucker says:

    You call some up tight anal because it’s as if they a stick up their ass, not because they had trouble learning how to use the toilet.

  30. Agustin Ilarregui says:

    I mean this respectfuly: the way you adress this topics shows your clearly didn't understand them…at all. This doens't imply that I think that everything Freud said is gold.

  31. Eagle 367 says:

    Are you psychic? Me and my friends were discussing his importance.

  32. khen sane says:

    Freud's theory is a Fraud

  33. Karla Faulkner says:

    You know I don’t like some of things Freud says. But I do think he has a point.

  34. DKLK says:

    Freud got "some things right" is quite an understatement. This man layed the foundations for modern psychology…

  35. Haidy Bug says:

    I’m just saying I think Sigmund had an Oedipus complex lol

  36. eric gonzalo says:

    one reason incest

  37. Yunfei Liang says:

    Cause human psychology is so much more complicated then what controlled experiments can show.

  38. Pablo123456x says:

    The first American woman under 50 who doesn't speak with the upward tone and the fry voice thing at the end of every sentence.

    I love her.

  39. Mariano Betacam says:

    Penis envy debubk… Psttt You can say whareaver You want

  40. plasmaburndeath says:

    Star Trek TNG really had Freudism fever with Troi and some of it was dangerous or just plane bad advise. Steve Shives has pretty neat rundown on this "Why Guinan Should Actually Have Counselor Troi's Job"


  41. Mona Moore says:

    Thanks fraud I don't need penis

  42. hamsbone says:

    I always thought "anal" meant analytical… "you're being anal" is the same as "you're being over analytical" or "god, why do you over analyze everything?"

  43. MrCinnamonWhale says:

    Freud is confirmed to be wrong about all is sex-with-your-mom stuff? Thank god because I always thought he was a 100% wrong, pseudo-intellectual who assumed way to much. Good to know lol

  44. Mystic Zealot says:

    I think Freud's views on large groups and subconcious desires have greatly influenced modern marketing as well. His nephew, Edward Bernays, used his thoughts on things like herd mentality to influence entire cultures. So while Freud was wrong on his specifics, he had a knack for understanding the general.

  45. Kunori says:

    Someone being wrong doesn't mean they weren't an improvement. Though he certainly didn't invent them, Freud spread and encouraged the ideas that mental illness wasn't just an intrinsic flaw in the person, and that mental health could be studied and treated as much as physical health.

  46. Andre Freysen says:

    Such a well-spoken and articulate presenter. Well done!

  47. Sad Cena says:

    Why does Freud look like Sans?

  48. MyOther Soul says:

    Things Freud got right.

    1:10 The things you experience growing up can influence how you behave in adulthood. True, but when did humans not know that?

    1:50 "Unconscious minds" isn't useful, id ego and superego don't explain anything and they are easily reified.

    1:51 Your thoughts and behaviors may not be under you conscious control. Sure you may not be aware of or come up with a believable explanations for everything you do, but then again, we already know that. Is a thought that isn't conscious even a thought?

    Freud is right has historical example of how not do science and as what a pseudoscience looks like.

  49. Fox Mulder says:

    From what I understand of psychology now, they're trying to clean up all their messes with their reproducibility problem.

  50. Alex Homer says:

    Apparently just slips right in there..

  51. De Vious says:

    Psycho analysis is true. Freud just had to work with what he had at the time.

  52. a-wanderingcloud 0-0 says:

    This is what I say to everyone who asks me this question. Now I can just send this video to them. THANK YOU!

  53. Ijas Ahammed says:

    The problem is that no one could digest his ideas which are really true to an extend.
    Just focussing on those things which are conflicting to accept.

    There is a beast in everyone.
    No one's born good or bad ..
    A bad man's life sometimes could be a wise man's conflicting thoughts.

  54. Bill Volk says:

    Psychology professors don't teach Freud like he's still relevant, but humanities professors do. The first people to bring Freudian theory into the field of literary criticism, like Lacan and Derrida, never got debunked even though their foundation was debunked. The softer a discipline is, the less likely it will ever move forward or make real progress.

  55. Anil Palan says:

    Because he was also very very right in other areas. People seem to forget that he literally discovered the unconscious mind, a concept unheard of or ridiculed at the time. The problem with Freud is that all of his good ideas became assumed truths of almost everyone and thus are no longer thought as 'Freudian school of thought', just, psychology. His bad ideas on the other hand, we're so bad that's all anyone remembers about him. It's rather unfortunate really.

  56. AtarahDerek says:

    Because Jung is so strongly associated with self-taught women whose theory is abused daily that we ignore him in favor of his mentor out of spite. No, it doesn't make any sense, but seriously, ask anyone who knows Jung's name and who also hates MBTI because its creators weren't allowed to become degreed psychologists, and you'll only hear loathing for him, as if it's all his fault that his biggest fans were barred from school and decided that wouldn't stop them from learning.

  57. Transpower says:

    Freud got ego state theory correct: the superego, ego, and id.

  58. Angelika Skoroszyn says:

    Freud was, and still is, popular. That's why if you want to be YouTube psychoanalyst all you have to do is shout his name to be considered knowledgeable person

  59. Tunisian Man says:

    So wrong. You really don't understand Freud at all. Penis envy is still a strong issue even in this so-called feminist era. You need to go back and so some long-term, serious reading of da' man.

  60. PESKY46 says:

    What is the opposite of anal retentive? Is it anal expressive?

  61. M C says:

    so i call ppl a-hole cause of my history of potty training? yeah

  62. Jennifer De Leon says:

    I enjoyed this video but I wish “Freud being wrong” wasn’t stated so much. It would be helpful to also give reasons as to why he’s “wrong” instead of coming off so biased. If people who don’t know of Freud watch this video, they might view his work/life more negatively instead of deciding for themselves what they think about it.

  63. Please End Me says:

    Didn’t Freud say that everyone is supposed to be attracted to their mom once?

  64. jeanbeans says:

    I think that this video has a lot of good points, but in my experiences in Psychology 101 (and the experiences of friends who took AP Psychology across different schools), Freud is taught the same way other psychological theories are taught, and it was just a footnote––rather than an emphasis––that this was wrong. I'm not a psychology major, and only one friend is, and most of us could have walked away from the way in which people teach Freud thinking he was totally correct.

  65. Jay Davis says:

    This is laughable. There is a lot of double talk in this video. Ill leave you with, OK.

  66. AuroraGrace says:

    I actually loled at that "really?"

  67. Shuttup And Payyabills says:

    In England you don't get a couch. You just get to realise how much your parents and shool peers fucked up your mental stability.

  68. Tulip says:

    Who tf calls someone anal?

  69. barta andel says:

    I think we enjoyed the penis envy   ))

  70. Jean says:

    Unfortunately when Freud is taught outside of a Psych class they don’t seem to get what he was right and wrong about. My Sociology professor taught us as if he was right about everything and refused to listen when I said that more recent psychological research says otherwise.

  71. Toxophilite says:

    Wrong is a matter of worldview. Studies in Psychoanalitical Clinical Theory help clergy identify the difference between chemical disorders of the brain, from demonic influences. +

  72. Malena Di Bella says:

    Freud’s theory was created for the people, for their custom problems. And still lives on nowadays. May seem crazy but our sufferings are not that different from the early 1900s. Please, try to comprehend psychoanalysis before tearing it apart.

  73. Arthur Castilho says:

    You americans dont study others post Freudian authors? Like ferenczi? Otto rank? Bion? Kahn? Zafiropoulos? Or even lacan? This video is the most non profound thesis about psychoanalysis I've ever seen.

    The only country that wildly disapprove Freudian methods is usa. It's very important for the rest of the world. Mostly in Latins countries .

    Not to mention the phalus envy hypothesis , that was debunked a long time ago. Feminists analysts are growing day by day in Latin America.

    Sorry about the bad English.

  74. Bronxbomber11b says:

    He was amazing intelligent.

  75. Lucas Contador says:

    Why so shallow?

  76. Master Adjuster says:

    Freud came up with the fantasy theory to explain why his patients were "lying" about being sexually abused by their parents.

  77. Jenny H says:

    The thing about women having penis envy can have a non-literal interpretation. Think about how much more powerful men were over women in Freud’s era. It can be understood in his context as young women wanting the power their fathers had but could never get in their society

  78. 3emispheres says:

    When you say “Freudian therapy worked”, do you mean “actual Freudian therapy” or “psychodynamic therapy at large”? Which is not the same thing. There are psychodynamic therapist who don’t do “specific Freudian therapy” per say.

  79. John Herbert says:

    The DSM-5 is deeply flawed.
    The mind cannot be treated without dealing with the trauma captured in the body.

    I use psychodynamic combined with somatic therapy, best results I’ve ever seen.

  80. Mia Mafalda says:

    coughs Oedipus Complex eyeroll

  81. Jamie Walkerdine says:

    the reasons are bad. Freud is worth reading for more reasons than that. Psych majors who think they’re much smarter thqn they are don’t read or actually try to understand Freud

  82. The Manhunter says:

    I very much dislike people who completely discredit Freud. Without his applications in Psychology we would be very much behind. He got things wrong, sure, but what he did get right was revolutionary.

  83. Bearborne says:

    Modern psychodynamic therapy has nothing to do with Freudian psychodynamic and it's used very very frequently because it works well for many people.

  84. isstinna says:

    Freud is so popuar among general public in Russia! His wrong ideas are widely spread by sexists, homophobes and such to "proove" their beliefs. I legit thought that everything he said was true. And that caused me traumas and problems 🙁

  85. suffarstar dev. says:

    Try actually reading Freud before making statements about his work. Just to avoid sounding like an ignorant. Freud s work is incomplete, or, his model of the psyche is incomplete. Even that, most of the psychotherapy is based on his ideas.

  86. Provoganda says:

    How to find the right one of your sources? They're just a list of links. 🙁

  87. Fly Oz says:

    "Why"? because academics are basically morons that derive their credibility and self worth from parroting some one else followed by the mass.

  88. Socrates In Chains says:

    Personally, I think it is really because of stupid women.
    Here you got the girls suffering from penis envy because all the guys are in front of the TV with Matrix envy. All the girls have to do is shut off the TV.

  89. Sascha Umicevic says:

    I fell off my chair when she said Penis Envy XD

  90. Juan Jose L says:

    This is a really vapid take on both Freud and psychoanalysis. The american way, really.

  91. Joseph Stockhausen says:

    Saying Freud is wrong is pretty rich, theyre just too abstract to prove

  92. Troy Müller says:

    The level of dogmatism and certainty in the presenter's rhetoric is as ridiculous as it is anti-intellectual, and, as any adult with average intelligence will quickly realize, this type of pedagogy is insidiously intended to influence and corrupt malleable minds. Moreover, you have only an ostensive understanding of Freud's thought, and fail to grasp his deeper insights and implications. F

  93. C. Delevingne says:

    Sigmund Freud is not boring! How his mind worked was intriguing! If it wasn't for his malicious mind, there would be little foundation. Many other theories sprang from his. Where could he pull off those kind of out-of-this-world ideas? Man was simply mental. Great video though :))))

  94. mobsmoba says:

    Quite a misleading and simplistic explanation for such a complex theory. It's ok if you're not interested on psychoanalysis or if you've never studied/understood it; but if you haven't, don't try to explain it (specially in a divulgation channel on youtube). Just admit that's not your area, and if people are asking for videos on this, be responsible and tell them to find a channel of someone who has actually studied these theories. It's great for you to have an opinion, it's ok if you don't like, nor practice psychoanalysis, but for a channel that might be a reference for students and people learning, the responsible thing would be to say THIS is your opinion and that you (clearly) haven't studied/understood these theories. He was a pioneer, and of course he wasn't absolutely right on everything he wrote (if you had read it, you would know he, himself, was aware of some of his mistakes and making corrections until the very last day) but it is absolutely ridiculous to say his findings where all wrong and use his concepts out of context to make them sound nonsense. I was quite excited about this channel and trying to find videos for my intro to psychology students… now I'm frankly disappointed.

  95. kylerm18 says:

    A lot of things Freud said were wrong for important reasons. For example, it was a common thought that women were inherently immoral, and when Freud brought that thought into a psychological theory, meaning it could be tested and falsified, and it was.
    I wish, though, that his daughter was taught more. I think she made more interesting, and correct, observations that should be studied more.

  96. DJSaltyPistachio says:

    She looks like if Brie Larson became a soccer mom.

  97. Bryan Justin says:

    Psychology is a Philosophy just as much as it is a Science. Science is constantly changing, or building upon itself. In Psychology, there are Theoretical Orientations that people identify with and defend. Freudian Psychology (Psychoanalysis) being one of them. Just wanted to share, it was a little too simplistic to call Freud “wrong” because everyone in Psychology is Wrong, and Everyone is Psychology is Right. If that didn’t make sense, ask yourself “Is Personality Learned or Inherent?”

  98. Javier Bello says:

    You did not prove that any of his ideas were wrong, nor did you provide any explanation as to why other psychoanalysts think he's wrong; you were just labeling them.


    Chomsky is also dead wrong. But because his followers have made a religious thing out of him… It's gonna take about 50 years until more people actually get it…

  100. Ginny Jolly says:

    Fortunately, my Psych 101 class had limited material on Freud (though I read his works in one of the Great Books series). We moved on to Jung, Pavlov, and B.F. Skinner in rapid succession. Skinner was amazing to me because it was a quantification of behavior, something that had not been done before. (Even Pavlov only studied involuntary responses to stimuli.)

    At least my teacher didn't insist and hammer on the idea that my uterus was the cause of all of my ills. Nor say I'm not getting enough sex.

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