IPA Inter-Regional Encyclopedic Dictionary of Psychoanalysis

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Loewald believed that Freud postulated two different understandings of the drives. The first was before 1920 with drives as discharge-seeking. The second came with his introduction of the concept of Eros in 1920 in Beyond the Pleasure Principle, where Freud radically altered his definition of the drive as no longer discharge-seeking but rather as connection-seeking "not using objects for gratification but for building more complex mental experiences and for re-establishing the lost original unity between self and others" (Mitchell and Black, 1995, p.190). Loewald's revision of Freud's drive theory required a radical reformulation of Freud's traditional psychoanalytic concepts. While for Freud the id is an unchanging biological force clashing with social reality, for Loewald the id is an interactional product of adaptation rather than a constant biological force. The mind is not interactive secondarily but is interactive by its very nature. Loewald theorized that in the beginning there is no distinction between self and other, ego and external reality, or instincts and objects; rather there is an original unitary whole composed of both baby and caregivers. He proposed that " Instincts understood as psychic and motivational forces become organized as such through interactions within a psychic field, consisting originally of the mother-child (psychic) unit ." (Loewald, 1971, p118). It is because of statements like these, that French speaking analysts in Canada find Loewald, self identified as an Ego psychologist, exemplary of 'Third Model' thinking described below. By putting Freud's instinct theory and ego psychology together, Loewald's work can be seen as building a vital bridge between a "one-person psychology" and a "two-person object relations psychology” (See also separate EGO PSYCHOLOGY entry). V. Af. Sullivan Harry Stack Sullivan (1953, 1964), the founder of the quintessentially American Interpersonal Psychoanalysis, proposed that: “1. Striving for security and the satisfaction of drives are indissoluably linked; 2. The integrated force of these impact upon the evolving interpersonal relationships and is in turn affected by them; 3. What is called the ‘self’ is nothing but a collection of reflective appraisals of early caregivers; 4. Anxiety, a threat to safety, can only occur in an interpersonal context; 5. The self maintains its integrity by selective inattention to those aspects of behavior that stir up anxiety; 6. The foundation of moral concepts lies in the child’s perception of parental approval or dispproval; 7. Sexuality is important but not the central motivating force in life; 8. Psychopathology results from the eruption of self states that were dissociated and the expression of which causes anxiety; 9. Treatment ought to focus on the relational context of anxiety; and 10. As a result, active participation of the therapist is more desirable than his laid-back anonymity. Countertransference plays a central informative and guiding role in treatment” (Akhtar 2009, p 151). Sullivan is generally viewed as paying only a little attention to the processes of the psychic interior, and the genetic roots of transference.


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