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Psychodynamic Theories
Fromm: Humanistic Psychoanalysis
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Chapter Outline


I. Overview of Fromm's Humanistic Psychoanalysis
Erich Fromm's humanistic psychoanalysis looks at people from the perspective of psychology, history, and anthropology. Influenced by Freud and Horney, Fromm developed a more culturally oriented theory than Freud's and a much broader theory than Horney's.

II. Biography of Erich Fromm
Erich Fromm was born in Germany in 1900, the only child of orthodox Jewish parents. A thoughtful young man, Fromm was influenced by the bible, Freud, and Marx, as well as by socialist ideology. After receiving his Ph.D., Fromm began studying psychoanalysis and became an analyst by being analyzed by Hanns Sachs,
a student of Freud. In 1934, Fromm moved to the United States and began a psychoanalytic practice in New York, where he also resumed his friendship with Karen Horney, whom he had known in Germany. Much of his later years were spent in Mexico and Switzerland. He died in 1980.

III. Fromm's Basic Assumptions
Fromm believed that humans have been torn away from their prehistoric union with nature and left with no powerful instincts to adapt to a changing world. But because humans have acquired the ability to reason, they can think about their isolated condition-a situation Fromm called the human dilemma.

IV. Human Needs
According to Fromm, our human dilemma cannot be solved by satisfying our animal needs. It can only be addressed by fulfilling our uniquely human needs, an accomplishment that moves us toward a reunion with the natural world. Fromm identified five of these distinctively human or existential needs.
A. Relatedness
First is relatedness, which can take the form of (1) submission, (2) power, and (3) love. Love, or the ability to unite with another while retaining one's own individuality and integrity, is the only relatedness need that can solve our basic human dilemma.
B. Transcendence
Being thrown into the world without their consent, humans have to transcend their nature by destroying or creating people or things. Humans can destroy through malignant aggression, or killing for reasons other than survival, but they can also create and care about their creations.
C. Rootedness
Rootedness is the need to establish roots and to feel at home again in the world. Productively, rootedness enables us to grow beyond the security of our mother and establish ties with the outside world. With the nonproductive strategy, we become fixated and afraid to move beyond the security and safety of our mother or a mother substitute.
D. Sense of Identity
The fourth human need is for a sense of identity, or an awareness of ourselves as a separate person. The drive for a sense of identity is expressed nonproductively as conformity to a group and productively as individuality.

E. Frame of Orientation
By frame of orientation, Fromm meant a road map or consistent philosophy by which we find our way through the world. This need is expressed nonproductively as a striving for irrational goals and productively as movement toward rational goals.

V. The Burden of Freedom
As the only animal possessing self-awareness, humans are what Fromm called the "freaks of the universe." Historically, as people gained more political freedom, they began to experience more isolation from others and from the world and to feel
free from the security of a permanent place in the world. As a result, freedom becomes a burden, and people experience basic anxiety, or a feeling of being
alone in the world.
A. Mechanisms of Escape
To reduce the frightening sense of isolation and aloneness, people may adopt one of three mechanisms of escape: (1) authoritarianism, or the tendency to give up one's independence and to unite with a powerful partner; (2) destructiveness, an escape mechanism aimed at doing away with other people or things; and (3) conformity, or surrendering of one's individuality in order to meet the wishes
of others.
B. Positive Freedom
The human dilemma can only be solved through positive freedom, which is the spontaneous activity of the whole, integrated personality, and which is achieved when a person becomes reunited with others.

VI. Character Orientations
People relate to the world by acquiring and using things (assimilation) and by relating to self and others (socialization), and they can do so either nonproductively or productively.
A. Nonproductive Orientations
Fromm identified four nonproductive strategies that fail to move people closer to positive freedom and self-realization. People with a receptive orientation believe that the source of all good lies outside themselves and that the only way they can relate to the world is to receive things, including love, knowledge, and material objects. People with an exploitative orientation also believe that the source of good lies outside themselves, but they aggressively take what they want rather than passively receiving it. Hoarding characters try to save what they have already obtained, including their opinions, feelings, and material possessions. People with a marketing orientation see themselves as commodities and value themselves against the criterion of their ability to sell themselves. They have fewer positive qualities than the other orientations because they are essentially empty.
B. The Productive Orientation
Psychologically healthy people work toward positive freedom through productive work, love, and reasoning. Productive love necessitates a passionate love of all life and is called biophilia.

VII. Personality Disorders
Unhealthy people have nonproductive ways of working, reasoning, and especially loving. Fromm recognized three major personality disorders: (1) necrophilia, or the love of death and the hatred of all humanity; (2) malignant narcissism, or
a belief that everything belonging to one's self is of great value and anything belonging to others is worthless; and incestuous symbiosis, or an extreme dependence on one's mother or mother surrogate.

VIII. Psychotherapy
The goal of Fromm's psychotherapy was to work toward satisfaction of the basic human needs of relatedness, transcendence, rootedness, a sense of identity, and
a frame of orientation. The therapist tries to accomplish this through shared communication in which the therapist is simply a human being rather than
a scientist.

IX. Fromm's Methods of Investigation
Fromm's personality theory rests on data he gathered from a variety of sources, including psychotherapy, cultural anthropology, and psychohistory.
A. Social Character in a Mexican Village
Fromm and his associates spent several years investigating social character in a isolated farming village in Mexico and found evidence of all the character orientations except the marketing one.
B. A Psychohistorical Study of Hitler
Fromm applied the techniques of psychohistory to the study of several historical people, including Adolf Hitler-the person Fromm regarded as the world's most conspicuous example of someone with the syndrome of decay, that is, necrophilia, malignant narcissism, and incestuous symbiosis.

X. Related Research
Fromm's theory ranks near the bottom of personality theories with regard to stimulating research. Recently, Shaun Saunders and Don Munro have developed
the Saunders Consumer Orientation Index (SCOI) to measure Fromm's marketing character. To date, much of their work has consisted in establishing the validity
of this instrument. In general, Saunders has found that people with a strong consumer orientation tend to place low value on freedom, inner harmony, equality, self-respect, and community.

XI. Critique of Fromm
The strength of Fromm's theory is his lucid writings on a broad range of human issues. As a scientific theory, however, Fromm's theory rates very low on its ability to generate research and to lend itself to falsification; it rates low on usefulness to the practitioner, internal consistency, and parsimony. Because it is quite broad in scope, Fromm's theory rates high on organizing existing knowledge.

XII. Concept of Humanity
Fromm believed that humans were "freaks of the universe" because they lacked strong animal instincts while possessing the ability to reason. In brief, his view is rated average on free choice, optimism, unconscious influences, and uniqueness; low on causality; and high on social influences.