Born in 1856 to Jewish parents, Freud lived and practiced most of his life in Vienna. He was graduated from medical school in 1881 and practiced as a clinical neurologist for several years before becoming interested in the "talking cure" that his colleague, Josef Breuer, had developed as a means of dealing with his patients' emotional symptoms. Freud's writings and lectures on the subject of hysteria and its sexual roots led him to be ostracized by most of his medical colleagues. His medical training and the influence of the work of Charles Darwin were largely responsible for his emphasis on sexual and aggressive instincts as the basis for behavior.
Freud's theory was important because it was the first of its kind and because it was controversial, generating further research into and theorizing about the female personality.
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