Francesco Gazzillo Eleonora Fiorenza Marianna Santodoro

Notes on the sense of safety in psychoanalysis

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In this contribution we will synthetically review the ideas of several psychoanalysts who focused their thinking on the problem of safety. Starting from the hypotheses proposed by Freud in the last years of his career, we will talk about the emergence of the theme of the need for safety in the writings of Winnicott, Balint, Sullivan, Sandler e Bowlby, who put it at the center of mental functioning shifting the attention from the pleasure principle. Finally, we will synthetically review the contribution of Control-Mastery Theory, that has connected the sense of safety not only to the protection of the self from dangers, but also to the necessity of seeing that loved ones are happy. In this brief review we will show how the emergence of the centrality of the sense of safety has gone hand in hand with the growing interest of psychoanalysis in the development of the ego, the Self, and the object relationships necessary for their constitution and development.


  • safety
  • reality
  • Ego
  • object relationships


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