I was born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire on May 6, 1856. My father was a merchant, and I have two half brothers from my mom. I lived in Vienna until 1938 when it was occupied by Germany. My family background is Jewish, but my father was a freethinker and I am vowed atheist.
In 1873, I entered the University of Vienna medical school. Above that, I was interested in science. I wanted to go into neurophysiologic research, but it was difficult to get into pure research at that time, unless a person was independently wealthy. But I was determined to go into private practice with a specialty in neurology.
During my training, I became friends with Joseph Breuer, who was another physician and physiologist. We would often discuss medical cases together. I later went to Paris to study under Jean-Martin Charcot, a neurologist known throughout Europe for his use of hypnosis.
I soon married and returned home in Vienna in 1886. I started a private practice of specializing in hypnosis but I eventually dropped that technique over time.
While being a student at the University of Vienna I relied doing research in the lab of my physiology teacher, Ernst Brucke, but life experience led me to focus on my medial studies.
One of Josef Breuer's patients was Anna O. Anna O. was a young woman who had a serious case of hysteria. She had temporary paralysis and could not speak her native language, German though she could speak English and French. She also was not able to drink even when thirsty. Breuer discovered that if he hypnotized her, she would talk about things that she could not remember while awake. Afterwards many of her symptoms were relieved. When I returned to Vienna I opened a private practice specializing...