chapter  THIRTEEN
7 Pages

The origins of rage and aggression

ByNeville Symington

Psychoanalysis is a clinical methodology that encompasses a wide range of theories, and nowhere is this more evident than when psychoanalysts start to discuss the cause of aggression. At its most simple, there are two theories. The first states that aggression arises when a human being's basic needs are frustrated. This theory is based upon the homeostatic theory of motivation, which states that the organism has a built-in tendency to equilibrium, to homeostasis—that when inner tension arises, the organism is programmed to reduce that tension through incorporating food or water or finding an object that will satisfy a sexual need. The second theory states that aggression is a basic instinct in man. Although there must be few analysts today who hold the homeostatic theory, many believe what is in fact one of its consequences: that aggression arises through frustration of a basic biological need. Some would extend this to include frustration of emotional needs.