7. In disguised form, “unacceptable” wishes may appear in dreams or slips of the tongue or incidents of forgetfulness, offering clues about unconscious conflicts.
8. One of Freud’s essential contributions was showing the extent to which we are influenced by childhood experiences: – how such experiences are not forgotten, but stored and usually combined with various feelings such as fear and shame. We resist bringing painful or scary childhood memories and fantasies to consciousness in order to avoid experiencing terrible feelings in the present, and instead rely on a whole system of psychological defenses to maintain repression.
9. Freud’s work also led to the currently accepted recognition that just as we go through certain stages of physical and mental development before reaching adulthood, (e.g. there are specific age-periods at which a child can walk or talk, comprehend abstract concepts, enter puberty, etc.), so are there stages of emotional development that we must master in order to move on to emotional maturity.
10.Thus, it is no longer disputed that childhood experiences and fantasies play an important part in determining the character and emotional stance of each individual, and that these must be considered, along with genetic factors, in treating seemingly intractable psychological disorders such as panic, anxiety, irrational phobias and sexual and relational problems in adults.