Sigmund Freud

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According to Sigmund Freud, what are the processes of identification?

Freud says that the processes of identification involve the following: 1. The process of P ersonalization (separation) 2. The process of I dentification (being identified with or identifying with) 3. The process of O rientation (orientation toward or being oriented toward) 4. The process of I nvolvement (being involved or involving) It is important to understand how each one functions in relation to the other because they can be used together in order to understand a particular dynamic between two people.

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There are only two "primary" processes of identification (Primary and Partial). The others are secondary. Narcissistic is a secondary identification process, as mentioned. Other secondary identification processes are goal-orientated, object-loss, and aggressor. Each of the processes of identification are meant to allow a child learn to pull away from identifiers which do not identify them as their own person.


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According to Freudian thought, there are four process of identification.

1. Primary identification: Primary identification happens when a newborn child creates an emotional attachment with his/her parents. This attachment is the first identification an infant makes and is where the infant regards his/her parents as an extension of themself. It is through this identification that the superego is created and the infant will embrace the parents' beliefs and morals and adapt them as his/her own.

2. Narcissistic identification: This identification is a secondary identification. This process of identification exists after the infant or child has suffered a loss or abandonment. The child or infant will become attached to objects of the one they lost and begin to identify with the "ego" of the object itself. Given that the ego is the part of the psyche which examines reason, the child's attachment to the object allows them to find/embrace reason in the abandonment or loss.

3. Partial identification: Partial identification allows a child or infant to perceive the important qualities of a person other than themself. This identification process allows recognition of characteristics which the child identifies or raises up so that they can come to identify with a group based upon the characteristic or similar ideologies.

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