Fixation is an intense psychological preoccupation from the past that triggers feelings or behaviors when individuals are confronted with similar events.

Sigmund Freud (1857–1939) theorized that the stages of infancy and early childhood chart people's lives in ways that are difficult to change. He believed that most adult neuroses could be attributed to a fixation developed during a developmental stage of childhood. Freud was especially concerned about how these stages related to sexual development in later life. His psychosexual theories were, and remain, quite controversial.

In his famous Introductory Lectures on PsychoAnalysis, Freud described human development as a journey into new territory. Freud states that as primitive peoples migrated into new, unexplored territory, certain members of the party might stop at a place that offered them the prospect of a good life. These early stopping points would be analogous to the fixations people develop in early life, attaching themselves to a period of safety and security before the entire journey of life is fully accomplished.

See also Freud, Sigmund; Id ; Neurosis ; Psychosexual stages .



Bennett, Paul. Abnormal and Clinical Psychology: An Introductory Textbook. Maidenhead, UK: McGraw Hill, Open University Press, 2011.

Borch-Jacobsen, Mikkel, and Sonu Shamdasani. The Freud Files: An Inquiry into the History of Psychoanalysis. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Brace, Nicola, and Jovan Byford. Investigating Psychology: Key Concepts, Key Studies, Key Approaches. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Freud, Sigmund. Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis. New York: Norton, 1966.