1st Edition

Unlocking the Nature of Human Aggression A Psychoanalytic and Neuroscientific Approach

By Adrian Perkel Copyright 2024
    216 Pages
    by Routledge

    216 Pages
    by Routledge

    Unlocking the Nature of Human Aggression is a neuropsychoanalytic and scientific exploration of aggression and argues for its central role in psychopathology and the genesis of individual symptoms, as well as in broader systemic conflicts and violence.

    Adrian Perkel creates a unique theoretical approach to the various manifestations we encounter of individual, group, and geo-political aggression and destructiveness. Based on psychoanalytic investigations of this dynamic and Freud’s incomplete exploration of this human drive, this book seeks to understand the science of aggression that Freud himself suggested would be possible with time and scientific development. Perkel investigates the commonplace inversion of the perpetrator and victim narratives, navigating through the complexity of how the aggressive drive, often driven by feelings aimed at homeostatic regulation, challenges the perception of any objective view of who is perpetrator and who victim. He includes his own personal experiences of South African Apartheid, as well as historical and contemporary data such as speeches from historical figures during times of war, including the Second World War and the Ukrainian/Russian conflict.

    Offering a fresh and innovative insight into the nature of this paradoxical drive in humans, this book integrates the psychology, psychodynamics, and neuroscience of modern research into a coherent exposition of this key aspect of psychic functioning in humans. It is an essential read for analysts in practice and training, psychologists and other mental health professionals, and students looking for a modernised theoretical model of the destructive and aggressive drive of the psyche to facilitate better interventions for individual and couple patients and for interventions at systemic and organisational levels.

    Preface Introduction Chapter 1: Freud’s Incomplete Theory Chapter 2: The Development of Subject – "I" Chapter 3: Beyond the Pleasure Principle Chapter 4: Science and the Psyche Chapter 5: Perversion of the Inner Guardian Chapter 6: Geopolitics Meets Freud Chapter 7: A Unifying Theory – Symptoms and Implications Chapter 8: Concluding Comments


    Dr. Adrian Perkel (M.A. Clin. Psych.; D.Phil.) is a registered practising clinical psychologist based in Cape Town. Since 1989, he has been lecturing, writing, supervising other professionals, and practicing psychotherapy. His work is deeply informed by psychoanalysis and neuroscience.

    "This book is an essential read for clinicians who work psychotherapeutically with individuals, couples and families, as well as for academics and the general reader interested in deepening their understanding of how the two psychic drives, sexuality and aggression, interact and can affect individuals, communities, and humanity as a whole. The author presents complex psychoanalytic and neuroscientific ideas in an uncomplicated and straightforward way, effortlessly deepening our understanding of historical and current geo-political aggressions from a theoretical and neurobiological viewpoint."

    Dr Amita Sehgal, MA, PhD, Couple Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist, The Balint Consultancy, London.

    "Dr Perkel offers us an outstanding exploration of human aggression that draws on selected psychoanalytic and neuroscientific sources.  Particularly impressive is the way in which he weaves clinical and sociohistorical material into his theoretical discussion.  Sophisticated in its arguments yet eminently readable, this book will be of great value to students and practitioners in the mental health professions and the social sciences.

    Dr Barnaby B Barratt, PhD, DHS, ABPP, IPA Psychoanalyst (Research & Training), Sexuality Consultant - Somatic Psychologist.