Essay on Defining Love

991 Words Dec 10th, 2009 4 Pages
Defining Love: Aim-inhibited Libido or Unconditional Positive Regard?
Abstract
Love, whilst recognised as a universal experience has been found to be extremely difficult to define. This essay compares and evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of two of the most prominent love theories. The first is Freud’s theory of love as aim-inhibited libido. Aim-inhibited libido can be defined as libido where the sexual instincts have been diverted or disguised due to the means for their fulfilment being forbidden. Roger’s theory of unconditional positive regard is founded on the idea that a healthy love relationship must consist of two self-actualising people. It was found that Freud’s theory was too scientific, while Rogers’ not enough.
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Roger’s believes that this forms the foundation of a successful, loving relationship. Furthermore, Rogers emphasises that successful relationships only exist where each person has a significant and loving influence on the other person but where each person is also able to grow and change, being viewed as an individual in their own right. He even believed this sometimes involves allowing the other person to explore outside relationships (Rogers, 1978). Subsequently, it is evident that the only way this can be achieved is through unconditional positive regard being given by each person in the relationship. This is why Rogers defines ‘love’ as unconditional positive regard.
On analysis of Freud and Rogers’ separate theories it can be seen that they both contain strengths and weaknesses. While Freud’s ideas in the explanation of love as being aim-inhibited libido seem quite unusual, they can be supported by observations of love in society. For example, Freud’s assumption that the sucking of the mother’s breast by the child forms the basis of the model for finding a love-object later and that in fact it is trying to re-find the object relation it had with the mother’s breast is supported by Berlant Lewis in his book Psychoanalysis of Elation. Berlant presents elation as the reliving of the early infantile pleasure at the mother’s…

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