Fairbairnian Theory

Fairbairnian theory is attributed to William Ronald Dodds Fairbairn, a Scottish psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. Fairbairn stated that the ego is already present at birth. This is in contrast with Sigmund Freud’s theory which states that the ego begins to develop after the id, which is the pleasure principle, during the first three years of life. Furthermore, Fairbairn explained that the ego eventually splits to form the “central ego” (reality principle which is similar with Freud’s concept of the ego), “libidinal ego” (similar with the id), and the “antilibidinal ego” (corresponds to Freud’s superego). Fairbairn theorized that these three kinds of ego are our inner voices.

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