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Many counsellors can trace their history back to the work of Sigmund Freud in the 1880’s who was trained as a neurologist, Freud started a private practice in 1886 and by 1896 had developed a method of working with hysterical patients which he called ‘psychoanalysis’ Freud (1949). According to Mytton and Dryden (2004) Freud’s work has been highly influential in such notions as the unconscious defence mechanisms, Freudian slips and dream symbolism. However, Gross (2001) suggest his theories remain widely disputed, Freud’s theories and research methods were controversial during his life and still are so today but few dispute his huge impact on psychologists and the academically inclined. Holt (1989) suggest Freud’s life portrayed that he was only human, some might have said that he was sometimes mean, untruthful and unjust, but he did not expect to be treated any different to anyone else. According to Garfield (1981) Freud’s theories provided the first true paradigmatic revolution in psychological thought out of which psychoanalysis emerged. He further suggested that Freud’s contribution to psychology could be divided into three theoretical milestones or paradigms in his thinking. Evolving from behaviourism was Kuhn (1970) ‘paradigm shift’ which was useful in identifying revolutions in psychological theorising Kuhn claims that most paradigms are heralded in by some great new discovery or new way of thinking. Freud’s three important discoveries and paradigm shifts was the trauma, the drive, and the ego paradigm.

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