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Freud, S. (1932). Libidinal Types. Psychoanal Q., 1:3-6.

(1932). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 1:3-6

Libidinal Types

Sigmund Freud

It is clear that the variety of individual human beings making up the general picture of mankind is almost infinite. Whoever undertakes the justifiable task of differentiating separate types within this multitude, from the beginning is free to select the distinguishing characteristics and principles which shall determine this classification. Physical characteristics would no doubt serve this purpose quite as well as mental ones; the most valuable distinctions would be those promising a regular association of physical and mental characteristics.

It is dubious whether the present will allow us to define such efficient types as will some day be discovered on a basis as yet unknown to us. If we limit our effort to the outlining of psychological types only, we find that the various conditions of the libido have the first claim to serve as the basis for a classification. We have a right to expect that this classification will be more than a mere corollary from our knowledge or assumptions about the libido. It should also be recognizable in everyday experience, and should serve as a tool for clarifying our observations. We may freely grant that even in the psychic field these libidinal types need not be the only ones, and that one might establish a great number of other psychological types, by taking other characteristics as a starting point. But in any case, these types should not coincide with clinical pictures. On the contrary, they should include all the variations which, practically speaking, fall within the limits of the normal. Their extreme forms, however, might approximate clinical pictures, and in this way help fill in the supposed gap between the normal and the pathological.


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