chapter  Nine
23 Pages

The place of instincts and affects in Fairbairn’s psychology of dynamic structures

ByGraham S. Clarke

This chapter shows that Fairbairn never dispensed with ideas of instinct and affect but carefully placed them within an object relations context where they are a necessary and central constituent. In 1930, Fairbairn wrote a long paper entitled "Libido Theory Reevaluated", which only became public when Birtles and Scharff published it for the first time in their invaluable From Instinct to Self, Volume II. This paper was written "to consider the meaning for psychology of two important Freudian theories, the 'Libido' Theory and the theory of the 'Pleasure Principle'". Fairbairn's view of the ego is that it is an inherent structure, present from birth but pristine—that is, untouched by experience at that point. In author views, each of the dynamic structures of Fairbairn's theory derives their energy from these sub-cortical sources. Fairbairn moved to develop his theory in terms of object relationships rather than ego-nuclei or structures that were explicitly based upon integrated ensembles of ego-nuclei.