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Balint, M. (1948). On Szondi's 'Schicksalsanalyse' and 'Triebdiagnostik'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 29:240-249.

(1948). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 29:240-249

On Szondi's 'Schicksalsanalyse' and 'Triebdiagnostik'

Michael Balint

L. Szondi Schicksalsanalyse. Wahl in Liebe, Freundschaft, Beruf, Krankheit und Tod. (Fate Analysis. Choice in Love, Friendship, Profession, Illness and Death.) Second edition. Basel: Benno Schwabe und Co., 1948. Pp. 422. Price Sw. Fr. 28.50.

Experimentelle Triebdiagnostik. Band I. Test-Band, Band II. Text-Band. (Experimental Diagnosis of Instincts.) Bern: Hans Huber, 1947. Pp. xvi + 308. Price Sw. Fr. 68.


The starting point of Szondi's investigations was the observation that man is attracted by persons who show similar symptoms to one or the other of his ancestors. As explanation of this very frequent occurrence he puts forward two hypotheses, (a) that man inherits the genes of the illness from his ancestors, but that they are in a recessive state in him, kept in biological 'repression' by their normal, dominant allels, (b) that although these receissive 'repressed' genes cannot influence his phenotype (he remains manifestly healthy) they do determine his choice of love objects; he is bound to fall in love with someone exhibiting the phenotype the genes of which he carries in himself in a recessive state.

A psycho-analyst, of course, has a less biological, more psychological explanation. The 'ancestor' is usually an important person of the man's infantile world and in case his (the man's) libido becomes fixated on this 'ancestor, ' the man's choice of love objects is thereby severely restricted, he will be attracted only by people on whom a transference of his emotions is possible because they are in some way similar to his primary love object.

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