Psychobiology and Psychoanalysis

  • Elias Andreoulakis
  • Ioanna Ierodiakonou-Benou


Psychoanalysis and psychobiology have followed a quite interesting course since the foundation of the former. Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, initially believed that these two paths would eventually converge and that biology would provide scientific validation of the psychoanalytic theory. Although frustrated by the inability of biology to provide adequate answers at his time, he never abandoned the hope that this would be feasible in the future. Thereon, for most of the twentieth century, psychoanalysis and psychobiology have followed divergent courses ignoring or avoiding one another. Nowadays, though, the interest concerning the merging of the two disciplines – depicted by the birth of a new discipline, namely, “neuropsychoanalysis”—revitalized. This is mainly due to technological development and research advances that might shed light to the understanding of human behavior. Thus, there appear many overlapping areas of interest between the two disciplines including the unconscious itself, memory and repression, defense mechanisms, dreaming, motives, drives, and the notion of the self and the ego, among others. So long as the twenty-first century is considered as the brain century, the issue of bridging psychoanalysis and psychobiology might as well represent the “controversial discussions” of this century; many questions are raised concerning this potential bridging. Will it be feasible and meaningful in the first place, as well as legitimate and mutually beneficial? Many researchers have engaged in this debate with pros and cons presented and discussed extensively. The seed has been planted and a fruitful dialogue is taking place.


Psychoanalysis Defense mechanisms Libido Freudian theories Subconscious 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elias Andreoulakis
    • 1
  • Ioanna Ierodiakonou-Benou
    • 1
  1. 1.3rd Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, School of Health SciencesAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece

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