jean laplanche : drive and instinct

The metapsychological notions of drive and instinct should be carefully distinguished. So are they in Freud’s german language, which uses both termes instinkt and trieb in an absolutely different way. However, they have always been confused since strachey’s syncretic translation of both by « instinct ». Instincts and drives are opposites in man : innate and adapted on the one side, acquired (precociously) polymorphous and anarchic on the other side. Search for appeasement (instinct) against search for excitation (drive).
In the human being, there exist instinctual behaviours of self-preservation, of which the theory of attachment has demonstrated the width, the precocity (early competencies) and the intersubjective caracter. On the other hand, in the sexual domain, instinct makes its appearance only at the puberal or prepuberal time. It is in the midst of the « silence » of sexual instinct, between birth and puberty, that the sexual drive surges and develops. It does this while leaning on the self-preservation instinct, and through the process of « generalized seduction ».
At puberty, the sexual instinct has to compromise with the infantile drive, which is, so to speak, already « in office ».
It is the infantile sexual drive, as repressed in the unconscious, that makes the object of psychoanalysis.