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.

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? “

Milgram’s Shock Generator

This is the classical study by Milgram in 1963 covered in social psychology in year 1 of our course. Enjoy!

Your palms are sweaty. You can feel your heart beating in your throat.

“I think I should stop…” you stammer to a man in a white lab coat.

It is absolutely essential that you continue,” he says back in a bland, unfeeling tone

“But, he is yelling…”

You have no other choice but to continue.” He replies

You begin to question your sanity. How did you even get here?

Continue reading “Milgram’s Shock Generator”

The Writers

We currently have 10 subjects each having there own  writer. We also have our own editor and two serious admin and this is what they have to say about themselves:

Admin: A-Level Life and Mr. T Mills

Hi, we all hope you enjoy your time on this wonderful blog. We do remind you if you would like to comment please respectful to everyone as this for all of you to learn something new and maybe see what you would like to do at Abbeyfield Sixth Form.

Hope you have fun,


Editor: Lotty Mansfield

Heya, I’m Lotty! I am currently studying Biology, Chemistry and Psychology at A-Level and I will be an editor for the ALL blog. Personally, I find psychology the most enjoyable out of my three subjects, as there is always new and surprising information to learn. I am an editor for the blog as I enjoy reading through and helping others with their blogs, whilst also learning things myself along the way.

Art and Design: Jaz West

Hi, I’m Jaz! I am currently studying Art, Graphics and Maths at A-Level, all of which I am really enjoying. As you can probably tell by my choice of subjects, I am a very creative person, and I am here to help you find out more about Art. I will be explaining to you what Art at A-Level actually entails, and will give you updates on the fun things that we do in our lessons as the year progresses. I hope that my entries on this blog will show you that a Fine Art course isn’t just about painting still lifes and portraits, but that it’s a brilliant opportunity to try out new and exciting things, experimenting with different media, and gaining new skills that you will carry with you all the way to university.

Biology: Erika Blinkova

Hi, I’m Erika!

I study Biology, Chemistry and Psychology at A level, which are all fascinating subjects. I’m here to help you find out more about Biology as it is the foundation of all characteristics of life on Earth. No wonder why its name comes from the word ”bios”, which means ”life”. I hope that through this blog I can show you Biology from a different angle and that it is not only big, fat, boring books, and I can help you to discover if my subject is right for you to study in the future!

Enjoy x

Chemistry: Daisy Sexon

Hey, my name is Daisy. I am in year 12 and I study chemistry, biology, and maths at A level. I’m here to introduce you to the type of lessons that you will be experiencing if you choose to take a level chemistry. I will show you pictures of experiments that we have done to show you that chemistry isn’t just about learning from text books but also learning practically in a stimulating environment. I chose chemistry because of my love for learning about the world that I can see and also the microscopic world that I can’t see. The lessons can be challenging but they are guaranteed to be fascinating if you desire to learn about the elements that all matter is made from.

Geography: Bethany Savage

I’m a sixth form student (year 12) at Abbeyfield school studying Geography, English literature and Media studies. My future career will hopefully be in geography from which my dream job will be studying volcanoes in Italy or Hawaii. Outside of school, I love to read and have considered a job in publishing/anything related to young adult fiction.

Graphics: Jack Edwards

Hi, I’m Jack and I’m 17. I’m currently studying Graphics, History and Media at A-level. Graphics is a great subject as it allows you to create interesting visual designs using a variety of different mediums, not just basic pen and paint. Graphics is very enjoyable as it allows you to be as creative and interesting as you like. Interested in graphic design work in the future, more specifically creating album covers.

IT BTEC: Megan Brown

Hi, I’m Megan. I study IT at BTEC, Business at BTEC and Media at a level. These subjects are amazing to learn about. But the subject that I will be helping you on is IT. IT is fascinating subject because you can learn all about the computers and the different software that runs the computer. Through this blog, I will help you to discover if this subject is right for you and if it is a subject that you want to go in to when you entre Sixth Form. I hope you have a great time reading my blog!

Maths: Joshua Bastow

My name is Josh and I’m currently in year 12. At the moment I study Biology, Chemistry and Maths. I would like to study Biochemistry/Biomedicine at university. I have done a lot of maths in the past including taking Further Maths and Statistics as any extra GCSE and I am working at to an A in maths at the end of Year 13. I understand maths isn’t for all and I will try to make it as interesting as possible. I hope you enjoy reading!!

Media Studies: Lea White

Hello, my name is Lea White, I’m 17, and I study English literature, Media and Geography. I’ll be writing the blogs section on media; I chose to do this because media is a very good subject to study, in my opinion, it gives you an overview of how people are represented and why people see them this way. if you enjoy learning about feminism, sexism, racism, and stereotypes, then media is perfect for you. You get to study a wide range of media texts, such as movies, music videos, newspaper articles, CD covers, magazine covers, documentaries etc. I enjoy media mostly because I like to learn about the changes in discrimination and the things that have stayed the same in this area, I also like to analyse media text as they can be fun and interesting to watch or read, and it gives me knowledge I can take outside of my lesson.

Psychology: Olivia Taylor

Hi! I’m Olivia Taylor and I am here to tell you about everything Psychology. I study Biology, English Literature and, of course, Psychology at A level, which are all fantastic subjects to learn. I hope that through this blog I can show you a little bit about a subject that has always fascinated me. I am mainly known around the school for my win in the CET 2016 speech competition and my participation in Young Enterprise. I hope you enjoy my posts and I can help you discover if my subject is right for you!

Sociology: Gabriella Vokes

Hi, I’m Gabriella and I study Sociology, Psychology and Media at A level. Out of all of my subjects, I find that Sociology is the most interesting, you find out new things and learn to view life in a completely different perspective. I’ll be showing you all what we learn in lessons and why it would be a great subject to do as an A level.