Freud observed that many patients behaved according to drives and experiences of which they were not consciously aware. He then concluded that the unconscious plays a major role in shaping one's behavior. He also concluded that the unconscious is full of memories of events from early childhood. Freud noted that if these memories were especially painful, people kept them out of conscious awareness. He used the term defense mechanism for the methods by which individuals handled painful memories. Freud believed that patients used mass amounts of energy to form defense mechanisms (Peter Gay, page 97). Tying up energy could affect a person's ability to lead a productive life, causing an illness called neurosis. With this theory, scientists have used hypnosis to unlock the defense mechanism to help thousands of patients cope with their problems.
Sigmund Freud also believed that many childhood memories dealt with sex. He believed that his patients' reports of sexual abuse by a parent were fantasies reflecting unconscious desires (Sigmund Freud, page 19).
He theorized that sexual functioning begins at birth, and that a person goes through several psychological stages of sexual development. He thought that all children were born with powerful sexual and aggressive urges that must be tamed. In learning to control these impulses, children acquire a sense of right and wrong. The process and the
results are different for boys and