The Dynamics of Human Aggression: Theoretical Foundations, Clinical Applications

The Dynamics of Human Aggression: Theoretical Foundations, Clinical Applications

The Dynamics of Human Aggression: Theoretical Foundations, Clinical Applications

The Dynamics of Human Aggression: Theoretical Foundations, Clinical Applications

Synopsis

Aggression is often thought of as involving hostility, anger, or destructiveness. In the context of analysis, this view is based on the concept of aggression as an impersonal instinctive drive that forces the subject to act destructively, requiring defensive responses to control it. The Dynamics of Human Aggression challenges this view, proposing instead that aggression is best conceptualised as the capacity of the mind to carry out any psychic or physical activity directed to overcoming any obstacle interfering with the completion of an intended internal or external action. This new paradigm advances a single concept to encompass all varieties of aggression. To put forth and justify their new theory to readers on both the theoretical and clinical fronts, the authors have reviewed the main theoretical selections of the field from Freud to contemporary writers, and offer a wide range of clinical accounts.

Excerpt

The present work represents the efforts of three decades of thought, careful evaluation of extensive clinical material obtained through the analytic process as conducted by the authors, and correspondingly prolonged discussions regarding the nature of aggression and the role it plays in the analytic situation and process. Only gradually, slowly, laboriously-with countless steps of seeming progress forward in our understanding and ability to formulate our ideas in consensually resonant terms, followed all too often by new doubts, skepticism, and recurrent questioning of what we had once thought to have been settled and agreed upon-did we come to the common ground of theory and clinical application that we are presenting.

To keep our efforts in perspective, we realize that we are submitting a view of aggression and its role in the analytic process that is new, different, and challenging to the convictions and theoretical persuasions of the great majority of present-day analysts. The major focus of our revision is on the shift from a theory of aggression as drive to a concept of aggression as motive. This shift sacrifices nothing of the explanatory potential due to aggression, but removes the basis of explanation from an appeal to the drives to an appeal to motivating contexts and stimulus conditions. This shift calls for exposition on two fronts-the first theoretical, to justify its theoretical legitimacy, and the second clinical, to demonstrate the differences in clinical application between a view of aggression as motive and as drive. We have made the effort to accomplish both; however success-fully remains to the judgment of the reader.

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