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Psychoanalytic Theories

  1. Peter Fonagy

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0720

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Fonagy, P. 2010. Psychoanalytic Theories. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–4.

Author Information

  1. University College London, United Kingdom

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Psychoanalytic theory is a continually evolving body of knowledge, but the so-called genetic or developmental point of view, which regards current functioning as a consequence of developmentally prior phases, has always been central. The notion that mental disorders could be best understood as residues of childhood experiences and primitive modes of mental functioning was key to Freud's thinking (Freud, 1905/1961), and a developmental approach to psychopathology has been the traditional framework of psychoanalysis. Each theory described here focuses on particular aspects of development or specific developmental phases and delineates a model of normal personality development based on clinical experience.


  • ego psychology;
  • object relations theory;
  • personality theory;
  • psychic determinism;
  • psychosexual development