Education Essay

1912 Words Jun 13th, 2012 8 Pages
EROS AND THANATOS
INTRODUCTION
Any student of the psychotherapies would have heard of the terms:
Eros and thanatos
Libido and mortido
Life instinct and the death instinct
If they have not heard of them then they should have! Freud seized on this concept and it became central in his overall theory of human nature.
In his book “The ego and the id” he discusses this theory of instincts at length. Freud[1962] in his discussion of the two classes of instincts states that the first class is the sexual instincts or Eros. This is a "...selfpreservative instinct,..."(P30). On the other hand there is the death instinct whose task it is to, "...lead organic life back into the inanimate state;..."(P30).
He is thus entering into the field of the
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He talks about love and hate being able to change into one

another and how eating is both simutaneously constructive (gives life to consumer) and destructive (destroys the consumed product).
It is this point that in my view gets lost and is never taken far enough by Freud. This theory of insticts gets caught up in right/wrong or good/bad morality. His bipartite system has a moral basis which leads it into trouble.
It follows on from the same moral view that has been held by many if not all religions through out time.
Life, growth, creation is good vs death and destruction is bad. In religious terms we have good and evil and god and the devil. The church has for all time seen god as good and the devil as bad and we must behave and think in a way that allows to be with god and defeat the devil. The only true way to defeat the devil is to not define god. As soon as one defines god, one defines the devil at least in part - the devil = non-god. If you do not define god then the devil cannot exist. If it does not exist then it is ‘beaten’ in one sense. MORAL BASIS OF PSYCHOTHERAPY
This god vs devil or eros vs thanatos are static models based on a moral principle as suggested before. Thus we have very basis for the moral underpinnings of psychotherapy.
Thanatos vs Eros = games vs intimacy, aggression vs assertion, I’m not OK vs
I’m OK, win/lose vs win/win, competition vs cooperation, script vs autonomy.
Some now argue that they do not hold to such a moral view, as

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