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Geyskens, T. (2003). Imre Hermann's Freudian theory of attachment. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 84(6):1517-1529.

(2003). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 84(6):1517-1529

Imre Hermann's Freudian theory of attachment

Tomas Geyskens

In this paper the author addresses some problems concerning the relation between attachment theory and psychoanalysis and sketches the outline of a Freudian theory of attachment, based on the ideas of the Hungarian psychoanalyst lmre Hermann. First, he elucidates the fundamental divergence behind the insults and misunderstandings that have dominated the debate between attachment theory and Freudian psychoanalysis: they differ radically in their conceptions of temporality and of the relation between psychopathology and human nature. Second, the author presents Hermann's work on ‘Clinging—Going-in-search’ (1976) as a theoretical model in which the findings of attachment theory can be integrated in a theory of psychopathology that is radically dimensional and that preserves the methodology of Freudian psychoanalysis. In the third part of the paper, the author discusses the question of whether Hermann's ‘clinging instinct’ is a primary instinct in the Freudian sense, and whether it is an interesting alternative for Freud's ‘death instinct’, as Hermann claims.

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