Defining Love: Aim-inhibited Libido or Unconditional Positive Regard? Abstract
Love, whilst recognised as a universal experience has been found to be extremely difficult to define. This essay compares and evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of two of the most prominent love theories. The first is Freud’s theory of love as aim-inhibited libido. Aim-inhibited libido can be defined as libido where the sexual instincts have been diverted or disguised due to the means for their fulfilment being forbidden. Roger’s theory of unconditional positive regard is founded on the idea that a healthy love relationship must consist of two self-actualising people. It was found that Freud’s theory was too scientific, while Rogers’ not enough. Subsequently, it was concluded that neither posed a valid explanation of love but if combined they would be very close. Defining Love: Aim-inhibited Libido or Unconditional Positive Regard? Love is a universal experience, yet it is still one of the greatest mysteries left to be solved. “What is love?” is a question theorists from a number of different fields continue to ask. For thousands of years, philosophy and religion have tried to answer this question with an array of different theories. Now, in the last century, with the development of psychology, science is trying to answer it too. The purpose of this essay will be to compare and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of these two significant theories on love to obtain which is more valid. Freud’s theory of aim-inhibited libido was significantly founded on his prior research into sexual development. He believed that sexual development starts at infancy, concluding when a person has sex (Freud, 1905/1953). According to Freud, all going correctly, by the time a person has sex they should be significantly prepared to find a suitable love-object (Freud, 1905/1953). A love-object can be defined as any object or person outside of one’s self toward which one’s sexual instincts...
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