A Comaprison of Freud and Fromm
Sigmund Freud was born in Monrovia on May 6,1856. He entered the University of Vienna in 1873 at the age of 17. He finished his degree in 1881. Freud died in England in 1939. He was an active therapist, theorist and writer to the very end. ( Ewen 19-20)
Erich Fromm was born four years after Freud in 1900 in Frankfurt, Germany. Unlike Freud, Fromm had no medical training in his background. He received his PHD from the University of Heidelberg and later studied at Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute. Erich Fromm died March 16, 1980 in Switzerland. (Ewen 187)
While Freud and Fromm were contemporaries and shared some basic beliefs, their approach to most issues varied greatly. Freud’s attitude was purely scientific. Fromm desired to humanize things.
Fromm accepted the importance of unconscious, biological drives, repression and defense mechanisms, but rejected Freud’s theory of id, ego and superego. Fromm did not believe in specific developmental stages. “He believed that the growing child slowly learns to distinguish between “I and not I”, through contact with the environment, notably those involving the parents.”(Ewen 194) Fromm contends that personality development continues into adulthood. He believes that if a child keeps up with the increasing feelings of isolation, that anxiety can be kept to a minimal and personality development proceeds normally. Freud’s well-known theory is that the personality is determined during the first five years of life. He believes we proceed through a series of psychosexual stages: oral, anal, urethral, phallic, a latency period and genital. Freud contends that the genital stage is the goal of normal development and that it represents true maturity. ( Hansen 25-26)
Fromm warns against pathogenic behavior because it can damage the child’s sense of reliance. He believed healthy personality is illustrated by biophilia, love, creativity and reason. ( Ewen 195-196) These characteristics compromise the productive frame of orientation. The nonproductive frames include narcissism, necrophilia, dependence, compulsive strivings for power or wealth and the mechanisms of escape. Fromm had four other nonproductive orientations that he devoted a great deal of attention to. These were receptive, exploitative, hoarding and marketing. Three of these orientations can be loosely compared to Freud’s oral-dependent, oral-sadist...