The Proto System – Freud’s theory of the psyche-soma

The Proto System – Freud’s theory of the psyche-soma

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    By Dr Margaret Lowenfeld

    According to the theory of psycho-analysis, the fundamental energy-drives and patterns of behaviour in the human being take the form of instincts. These instinctive drives are teleological (‘goal-directed’, ‘aim-inhibited’). The primary instincts Freud at first defined as sex and aggression, adding later eros and Thanatos in recognition of the tendency of the aggressive instinct to become directed against the instincts of self-preservation and propagation and thus to become destructive of the psyche. The instincts of sex and aggression are definite and straightforward in their action, developing from the pregenital to the genital. The genital stage is the mature stage which is the goal or aim of the process. This aim which controls the direction of the process is present throughout, and, if not interfered with, will make steadily for and arrive at its goal. A complementary concept is ‘tension’: the movement of the instinctive energy towards its goal produces a state of tension, which it becomes the aim of the activity to discharge. Tension is temporarily relieved in the individual acts of discharge, but the instinct remains.

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