Fromm’s Humanistic Psychoanalysis And Attachment Theories

Eric Fromm was significantly impacted by Sigmund Freud and his ideas of conflict, defense, and the critical role unconscious play in people’s lives (Bacciagaluppi, 2014). At the same time, he had other visions of the role of culture in the evolution of individuals. He believed that society and its customs and values are vital for individual development and should be viewed as central elements influencing the formation of a personality (Bacciagaluppi, 2014). His concept of humanistic psychoanalysis states that separation from the natural world resulted in the emergence of feelings of loneliness, isolation, and the development of anxiety (Bacciagaluppi, 2014). Being a part of nature, people are also separated from it, which results in the development of a conflict.

Fromm’s theory and the concept of humanistic psychoanalysis offer some valuable ideas that should be considered. The most notable idea is that the inability to remain the part of nature is a serious challenge to human beings and results in conflicts and psychological problems (Fromm, 1947). Today, this statement becomes especially relevant as people have few chances to interact with nature. The high pace of industrialization, globalization, and urbanization deprive human beings of an opportunity to feel belonging to nature. It creates the basis for high anxiety levels and new conflicts.

Fromm’s theory can be linked to Bowlby’s attachment theory as they have some similar features. The last one states that children are biologically pre-programmed to create attachments with others as it is a key to their survival (Slater, 2007). It means that newborns have an inborn need to attach to a certain figure, which can be seen as the natural feature of all living beings (Slater, 2007). The inability to establish this bond will result in high anxiety levels, which leads to Fromm’s ideas of separation from nature. In such a way, the use of attachment theory in developmental psychology is supported by the notions of the natural or inborn needs of a person.

One of the sources useful for a better understanding of Fromm’s ideas is the article “The relevance of Eric Fromm” by Bacciagaluppi. This secondary source offers an in-depth analysis of Fromm’s ideas and assumptions. The author emphasizes that the scientists became one of the central figures in psychoanalysis as his contributions preconditioned the emergence of attachment theory and multiple concepts of trauma (Bacciagaluppi, 2014). Fromm’s assumptions about the critical role of nature in the life and development of a person stimulated the attempts to explain the reasons for children’s anxiety and how disregard of inborn desires might result in problems with mental health. The source is vital for understanding the relevance and applicability of Fromm’s ideas.

Another vital source is the book Man for himself. An inquiry into the psychology of ethics by Fromm. It offers the basic postulates of humanistic ethics and how the concept of humanistic psychoanalysis can be applied to real situations and cases (Fromm, 1947). The source helps to understand the major concepts used by Fromm to justify his views and explains why the theory becomes the basis for the evolution of new visions, such as attachment theory and discussion of trauma.

Furthermore, to support the application of this theory to real-life conditions, the following three sources can be used. First of all, it is the article “Attachment theory as an alternative basis of psychoanalysis” by Bacciagaluppi. The source traces the evolution of the attachment theory from the first Fromm’s ideas to Bowlby’s concepts and statements. The author assumes that children have an inborn desire to be bound to someone and feel support, which can be explained by the nature of human beings and multiple binding mechanisms present in every individual (Bacciagaluppi, 1989). They form relations following the unconscious desire and patterns of interaction peculiar to them. This idea is vital for understanding how to work with children and promote better outcomes.

The article “Attachment theory and primary caregiving” by Colmer, Rutherford, and Pam Murphy is another source vital for understanding the discussed topic. The given paper focuses on how the attachment theory can be applied to early childhood settings to ensure the development of supporting and positive relationships vital for children and their success in the future. The authors explain the nature of the parent-child attachment bond and emphasize the need for its cultivation (Colmer et al., 2011). This idea is relevant for the project as it outlines methods how to ensure a young person does not have psychological issues or conflicts leading to problems in relations with peers, family, and other individuals.

Finally, Salter’s work “Attachment: Theoretical development and critique” can also be analyzed to improve the understanding of the discussed framework. This source focuses on the relevance of attachment theories and their place in the current practice. For this reason, the author outlines the central contributions towards the development of attachment theory, including Fromm’s views and concepts. This information is vital for the research project as it contributes to the enhanced understanding of how the framework evolves and remains applicable to most existing cases. Slater (2007) also points out the idea that a set of attachment theories remains fundamental for modern settings and should be used to attain better outcomes.

Altogether, Fromm’s idea of humanistic psychoanalysis and the assumption that separation from nature creates the basis for conflicts and anxiety established the ground for a set of attachment theories. They presuppose that a child has an inborn desire to form a bond with a person to feel support. This framework becomes vital for working in early childhood settings and attaining better results regarding psychological development and functioning.


Bacciagaluppi, M. (1989). Attachment theory as an alternative basis of psychoanalysis. The American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 49(4), 311-318.

Bacciagaluppi, M. (2014). The relevance of Eric Fromm. The American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 74, 123-132.

Colmer, K., Rutherford, L., & Pam Murphy. (2011). Attachment theory and primary caregiving. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 36(4), 16–20.

Fromm, E. (1947). Man for himself. An inquiry into the psychology of ethics. Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

Slater, R. (2007). Attachment: Theoretical development and critique. Educational Psychology in Practice, 23(3), 205-219.