Quiz 8: Fromm: Humanistic Psychoanalysis
Both intimacy and lust are dynamisms, meaning that they are relatively stable behavior patterns or habits. In an ideal situation, intimacy should develop during preadolescence when a child can safely form a meaningful friendship with another person who is more or less like himself or herself. Once children form an intimate relationship, usually with someone of equal status and of the same gender, they are able to feel confident in their ability to love and be loved, even with regard to members of the other gender. However, if children have no preexisting capacity for intimacy, they may confuse lust with love (intimacy) and develop sexual relationships that are devoid of true intimacy.Sullivan believed that people who emerge from early adolescence in command of both their intimacy and lust dynamisms will have few serious interpersonal difficulties later in life.
Sullivan theorized seven epochs or stages of development, each crucial to personality formation.Interpersonal relations are important during each of the stages. Personality change can take place at any time, but it is most likely to occur during the transitional periods dividing the stages. The first stage is infancy, from birth until the child develops meaningful (syntaxic) language.The mothering one is the most important other during this stage.Infants who see their mothering as mostly positive have a strong good-mother personification and will have many of their needs for tenderness satisfied. Childhood lasts from the beginning of syntaxic language until the child experiences a need for playmates of equal status, or from about 18 to 24 months until 5 or 6 years old.The mother and father (and other nurturing persons) are now seen as individuals.The child has a relationship not only with parents, but frequently with an imaginary playmate as well.These playmates allow children to have a safe interpersonal relationship with a friend who will not punish them. The juvenile stage begins with the need for peers of equal status and ends with the need for intimacy with a single chum.In American society, this stage corresponds with the first 3 or 4 years of school.An important challenge for children of this age is the learning of cooperation, compromise, and competition. Having learned cooperation, compromise, and competition, the child establishes an orientation toward living and enters into the most crucial of all stages-preadolescence.During this stage, a child should develop intimacy with a single friend of more or less equal status.This period, from about 8 or 9 years of age until adolescence, is, perhaps, the most untroubled and carefree time in a person's life.He or she can form a close interpersonal relationship without the encumbrance of sexual desires. Early adolescence comes to young people regardless of whether they are socially and psychologically ready for it.This stage begins with puberty and ends with the need for sexual love with one person.Ideally, children should retain the intimate friendships they formed during preadolescence while seeking lasting relationships with others. Late adolescence is marked by the union of lust and intimacy; that is, it begins when young people are able to feel both lust and intimacy toward the same person.Late adolescence may begin around age 16 to 18, but some people experience it because they are not able to love the person for whom they feel the most sexual attraction, or they are not able to feel sexual attraction toward the person for whom they feel the strongest love. People who combine lust and intimacy continue into the stage of adulthood.Sullivan wrote very little about adulthood because people who attain it are beyond the realm of interpersonal psychiatry.