Sigmund Freud: His Work into the human psyche 

Freud, the father of psychoanalytics, explored the human condition. One of Freud’s fundamental ideas was the “unconscious mind” (NOTE: not “SUB-conscious!). 

Freud’s explanation of the human mind

Freud said the mind was spilt into free parts, namely the:

  1. Unconscious 
  2. Pre-conscious 
  3. Conscious 

Unconscious mind 

The unconscious find may be defined as the part of the mind that cannot be accessed by us. We are not aware of it. It may contain repressed urges that we find too difficult to handle, so we “push to the back of our mind”. 


The pre-conscious mind is the part of your mind that is accessible by your mind if you choose to think about it. For example, I may ask you want you had for supper or to remember your childhood pet. These things can be brought to the forefront of your awareness, so they are often found in the pre-conscious mind. 

Conscious mind 

The conscious mind is all of what you are currently aware of. For example, the words on this blog. 

The mind has often been described in terms of a football pitch in the black of night. Imagine there is a single spotlight, that can move freely across the pitch. The spotlight represents the conscious mind. The parts of the part pitch where the spotlight can reach, but currently isn’t at, is the pre-conscious mind. Everything outside of the pitch, where the spotlight cannot go, is the unconscious mind. 

(A great video on ‘Consciousness‘) 

The poets and philosophers before me discovered the unconscious. What I discovered was the scientific method by which the unconscious can be studied. 

– Sigmund Freud 

Freud’s explanation of the human personality 

FIG:1 Image of iceberg metaphor for Freud’s explanation of the human personality 

Freud believed the human personality was split into three distintive parts:

  • The Id 
  • The Ego 
  • The Superego

The Id 

When we are born, we are “little balls of id”. We want what we want… NOW! We have no control over our own impulses. The id is often described as a “devil” on your shoulder, telling you to put your own needs and desires before everyone else. 

The Ego

The ego develops next. It relies on the realistic principle. It gets the ID what it wants – but only when suitable. The Ego respects that we can’t always have what we want straight away. 

The Superego

At around age 5, the superego appears. Many described it as the angel on your shoulder, but this isn’t entirely true. The Superego is the externalised morals of our parents and society. In small doses or when adequately controlled by the Ego, the Superego gets us to act in selfless ways. However, when uncontrolled it attacks an idividals self-worth. A person can never be perfect, and the Superego is unwilling to accept this fact. 
FIG 1:


The Freud Museum: The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud and Anna Freud 

In biological psychology section of the course, you cover some of Freud’s theories. In London, there is a museum dedicated to the life and works of the famous psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud and his daugther, Anna Freud, who was a pioneer of child psychoanalysis. 

In psychoanalytic treatment nothing happens but an exchange of words between the patient and the physician. 

–  Sigmund Freud

The museum is the home where Sigmund Freud spent his last days after fleeing Nazi-occupied Austria. When walking up to the pale front door, through the flowery garden, you can understand why Freud said the house was “too beautiful” for his family. 

When you walk into the hall and up to the “half-landing” you discover two seats by huge windows at which Freud’s wife and her sister sat sewing for hours on end. As the sun pours into the windows and the view of the street becomes apparent- it is clear why this was their favourite spot. 

Up another flight of stairs is a room dedicated to Anna Freud. Hung proudly on the wall is her many certificates that show the abundant work she done on improving the lives of children. When she worked as a primary school teacher, she conducted some experiments on her pupils. Including, allowing them to pick their own food. Shockingly to the people of the time, she found that they didn’t just pick cakes and sweets! Along the same road is the “Anna Freud Centre” a place dedicated to helping children who have been referred bysocial  services. 

When you walk back down the stairs to the ground flour, there is a door into the famous study of Sigmund Freud where he continued his work throughout his elderly years in “freedom”. A large personal libary, a collection of areological finds and the famous couch upon which his patients laid. The couch was positioned facing away from Freud to, firstly, give the patient freedom to talk away from judgement and also because Sigmund didn’t like being “stared” at for hours on end. In addition, in later years after he lost his hearing in his right ear due to cancer of the jaw, it aided Freud in hearing his patient. 

The Freuds revolutionised the way in which mental illness was treated. They where kind and compassionate. We have a lot to thank them for. 

The Value in Studying Psychology 

A wonderful blog titled “Why Psychology Should Be Taught In Every School” (read here) got me thinking about why I think studying psychology is so valuable. Psychology is, in its most basic form, the scientific study of ourselves. This means that through the human psyche is so complex, we have tried to measure and understand it in an objective sense. 

We have tried to understand behaviour and thoughts. For example, in this specific course, you will study why murders kill. In Raines et al’s study into murders who pleaded “Not Guilty For Reasons Of Insanity “, it was found that some murders have significant brain differences. For example, in the pre-frontal cortex of the murderers (when compared with carefully selected controls) there was little activity, suggesting a lack of impulse control and an  increase of aggression when provoked. In addition, there was less activity in the corpus callosum meaning the two hemisheres were not communicating correctly. These findings have real-life implications, murders may face reduced jail time or stay in a hospital instead of a prision. 

If psychology is used correctly, the benefits can be great. However, if research is carried out in an unethical fashion or mistakes are made, results can be devastating. Participants can be left confused and damaged. Results may be inaccurate and used for incorrect means. 

However, studying psychology has major pros. It is a way of somewhat understanding ourselves and others. It is a way to bring understanding between societies. Psychology can teach us not to be so hard on ourselves. We are far from infallable, and our brain makes many mistakes daily to help process everything. That is okay, however, because we are just human. 

To read another brilliant, extensive article on the benefits of psychology: Read Here 

In its primary form, psychology studies people—who and what they are. It looks into why they act and think the way they do and how someone can improve himself or herself. Therefore, everything a person does is connected to the subject.

Psychology allows people to understand more about how the body and mind work together. This knowledge can help with decision-making and avoiding stressful situations. It can help with time management, setting and achieving goals, and living effectively.

Experimentation and Ethics in Psychology 

After reading Research Ethics in Psychology: Vulnerable Research Participants, I remembered the importance of so-called “Ethics” in psychology. It is covered in the social psychology part of  the   course. 

So, what are ethics? 

Well, to be ethical may be defined as sticking to moral principles, such as values that avoid deliberate harm to others or ourselves.  Ethics, in psychology, links to the rights and responsiblities of researchers to their participants. These ethics are meant to limit psychical and psychological harm of an individal and are moral restrictions of research. 

The British Psychological Society (BPS) decided not to allow the researchers to define their own moral standards, but to come up with guidelines that all must follow. 

These guidelines are as follows: 

  • Respect 
  • Integrity
  • Responisiblity
  • Minimising harm 

Below are some key parts of ethics studied in the course

Informed Consent

Well this idea is split into two important parts. 

Firstly, the simple idea of consent. This is the idea that all participents must be voluntary. They must not be forced, brided or intimidated in any way to take part. 

Secondly, the idea of “informed” consent. This is the idea that, whenever possible, the participent must be aware of 100% of what the research is for, what their results will be used for and what the procedure is. 

For example, Milgram had many issues around the idea of informed consent as he told his participants that his experiment was about memory when it was in fact about obedience. 

Right to Withdraw

The right to withdraw suggests that at anytime a participent may leave the research. They cannot be forced to stay or denyed the right to leave. 

The researchers have a few important procures to ensure they obide by the right to withdraw: 

  1. The researcher has the responsibility to inform the participants of their right
  2. If, at any time, a participant asks to leave – they must be allowed without any resistance 
  3. If, during or after the research, the participents asks to withdraw their data (or remain anonymous) from the research – this wish must be respected


A debrief is the process in which, after research, the researcher “checks in” on the  participant to ensure no harm has come to them. This is especially important where full informed consent was unable to be attained. 

It is important that the debreif if done as quickly as possible, with the aim to sooth any anxieties of the participant. 

Protential for harm   

This is the idea that researchers take into account any harm that may occur. This may include any psychical, emotional or psychological risks that the participant may encounter. Risks are particularly important to be reduced if the participents are vunerable due to young/old age or disabilities. The rule is, usually, that a participant must not be exposed to more risk than they would encounter on a normal day of their lives. However, allowances may be made if the value of the research is high (pictured below). 

Abbeyfield’s Football Highlights

On Friday, the last day of term, Abbeyfield Sixth form had a football tournament.

Don’t give up

at half time.

Concentrate on winning

the second half.

– Paul Bryant

Read below for some opinions on the match!

Rhys Barnes (Head Boy): Player & Goal Keeper

What was your most memorable part of the match?

The most memorable part of the match for me was either getting kicked in the head or winning the final!

Who was the player of the tournament for you?

Player of the tournament was probably Tom Vaughan because of the amount of goals he scored!

And I would also add that Jed Richardson played really well as well as Matt Normington. 

Daisy Sexton: spectator

 My favourite part of the match was when Ope was trapped in the corner with the ball and he started shouting “let me go”. It was funny to watch and it was cool when they did good moves. I enjoyed watching it.

Andrew Groves: Player 

What was the best game of the tournament?

Probably the Davy and Cooper game, when Davy was making a substitution and Cooper scored, because it would’ve changed the whole finals!

Do you think Abbeyfield needs more sporting events?

Definitely because I think I’ve only been to around 5 events in about 6 years and I love competitions within the school. Maybe Abbeyfield needs a variety of events, because the same people always participate so it woould be better to get more people involved in something they enjoy! 

Jamie Culley (prefect): Referee

My favourite part of the match was Saleem tripping over the ball repeatedly! It would would be great to have more sporting events and increase participation, especially involving the girls. 

Matt Normington: Player

What was the most memorable part of the tournament for you?

For me, the most memorable part of the tournament had to be when I scored against Rhys Barnes. Everyone in the sixth form knows that he’s a sensational goalkeeper, so to be able to beat him was quite a good feeling, the result didn’t quite go our way but that made me happy.

Who was your man of the tournament?

I would have to say the man of the tournament was Tom Vaughan. He was everywhere. His venomous shots, passes that carved teams open and being able to track back, sit in defence and them come forward and join the attack, for me, made the difference and that stood out for me.

Was it a good match for you?

It was a good match. End to end football with good passing, many shots, good spells of possession. A great match for some real talent within the sixth form. Like I said the result didn’t go my teams way but the tenacity we showed was positive, but the other team were simply better on the day. 

Kingsley Abananne: player and goal keeper

What was your most memorable part of the match? 

The most memorable part was probably Max being hit by the ball! 

Who was your man of the match? 

Most certainly Tom, he always has a calm look on his face but, as a goal keeper, his shots pack a punch! 

Thank you and well done to all the players and participants. Especially a shout out to Tom Vaughen who was everyone’s clear man of the match! I would also like to mention Andrew Groves, who also played well and stood out to a lot of people.

Also, a big thank you to Rhys Barnes who organised and made the event possible. Finally, thank you all for your time and comments for this blog.

Psychiatry vs Clinical Psychology: what is the difference? 

Today I wanted to clarify two different careers that work with mental illness- Psychiarists and Psychologists. They are very similar, but very different. Enjoy! 

So I attended a Medicine Calling event called “With a Spotlight on Psychiatry” at Leicester University. I will share some insights that they taught me. 

Just take moment to think about your answers to these questions… 

Are psychiarists doctors? How about clinical psychologists, are they doctors? 

Do either of these career choices need you do have a medical degree? 

What would be the best opitions at A level to secure a place on the needed courses? 

Read on to know discover the answers! 

While I have decided to take the path of Clinical Psychology, both are very rewarding ways to get to diagnose, work with and treat people with mental health disorders. Both careers are considered to be doctors but they are quite different in the education you need. 


Psychiary can be defined as a medical speciality. Psychiarists tend to work with the more severe end of the spectrum of mental illness- such as chronic Schizophrenia. Psychiarists are medical doctors that can prescribe medicines, such as antidepressants, to control symptoms of mental illness.  

Psychiarty is the act of teaching people to stand on their own two feet while reclining on couches

-Sigmand Freud 

To become a psychiatrist you need a medical degree. Medicine is one of the most competitive university courses to get on, so it would be advisable to pick 2 science A levels (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) and then one contrastng A level, such as English Lit, French or History. It would also be important to get some work experience through the NHS or in other care settings such as a care home.  Good places to find volunteer work: 

  1. Vinspired
  2.  Get Involved Northamptionshire
  3. Do It

Clinical Psychology  

Clinical Psychology can be described as a specialism  of psychology, thay are doctors but without a medical degree. They cannot prescribe drugs and they usually specialise in a type of treatment such as CBT. 

Man can alter his life by altering his opinon 

-William James

To become a clinical psychologist, you can take a psychology degree at university. It is advisiable to take at least one science subject AND psychology or maths. It would be important to show a passion for psychology through attending lectures, events and further reading. 

Some good places to start Psychology TED talks and Psychology Today

So whatever you decide, both careers are highly competitive but rewarding ways to work with mental illness. I will link here a post by “Learn How To Become” that allows you to explore more careers that work with mental illness if it is something you are interested in. Also, here is a insightful post by Psychology Today of interviews from people who work with mental illness.   

So, What Is Psychology? 

Psychology. So, what is it? 

Many will describe it as : The scientific study of the human mind and behaviour. 

Some are positive. 

The purpose of psychology is to give us a completely different idea of the things we know best.     

– Paul Valery

Some are negative. 

Idleness is the parent of psychology.     

– Friedrich Nietzsche

But ultimately, it is a personal choice. 
Continue reading “So, What Is Psychology? “