Neo-freudism definition does not represent a single coherent doctrine. As followers of the father of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud, neo-Freudians psychologists remained committed to the idea of unconscious emotional motivation of human activity, but offer evidence that psychopathology is relative and specific to each culture.


Freud’s ideas continue to influence psychology, literature, art, anthropology, sociology, and medicine. Many of his views are generally accepted, while other aspects of his theory are widely discussed. The continuation of Freud’s ideas gave birth to the modern psychological flow of neo-Freudism, which evolved from Orthodox Freudism during its cultural and sociological reformation. The leaders of the neo-Freudian theory have criticized some of Freud’s fundamental statements (in particular, his libido theory), emphasized the role of social and cultural determinants in the life activities of individuals and society. Neo-freudism was formed in the process of combining psychoanalysis with the works of American social anthropologists.

Proponents of neo-Freudism are trying to overcome the biology of classical Freudism and put its main provisions in the social context. Representatives of neo-Freudism believe that social and cultural influences play a leading role in human formation: they focus on social and cultural processes. In their view, it is these processes that have a significant impact on the emergence of intra-personal conflicts of the individual. All theoretical constructions of this direction are based on the notions of unconscious and principled conflict between individual and society. The neo-Freudian group included Harry Sullivan, C. Horney, and Erich Fromm.

The sociocultural orientation of neo-Freudism has led to a restructuring of psychoanalysis: the center of gravity is transferred from intrapsychic to interpersonal relations. It is a society that is seen as a source of general alienation and is recognized as hostile to the fundamental tendencies of the individual and the transformation of his or her life values and ideals. Through the healing of the individual, the healing of society as a whole can and must take place.