Field Theory and the Internal Group as a Model of the Psyche

A distinction is drawn between psychoanalysis of the link and the link perspective of psychoanalysis. Pichon Riviere´s notion of the internal group – a notion which is lesser known and infrequently used – would appear to be the theory which is most compatible with the latter of these perspectives. This approach requires a reformulation of the conception of the individual in relation to society and culture and, as a consequence, suggests a change of emphasis from classic theories. Ultimately, the psyche is considered, from a psychoanalytical perspective, as the product of the meeting of dispositional biology and the imprint that society and culture leave on the individual. The socio-cultural influence on the individual is mediated by means of the immediately surrounding human groups. Rather than seeing ‘conflict’ in terms of opposition between drives and culture, as was Freud’s perspective, it is considered as being intrinsic to the life of the individual in a socio-cultural context.

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