Object Relations

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Generally used in psychoanalysis to refer to the individual's interaction with the objects and part-objects that constitute his or her environment. Object relations theory attempts to avoid Freud's tendency to speak of the subject in isolation and to introduce an interpersonal dimension into psychoanalysis. The so-called 'object-relations school' is the majority tendency within British psychoanalysis. Strongly influenced by Klein, Winnicott, and Michael Balint, as well as by Anna Freud, it gives primary importance to the early relationship between mother and child rather than the father-child relationship that is so important in Freud's own writings, and has helped to produce a 'mother-centric psychoanalysis.'

Object-relations analysts use a number of different approaches and, whilst they share similar conceptions, do not really subscribe to a fixed body of theoretical principles. In historical terms, the group, sometimes described as the independent group, developed out of the need to find a working compromise between the followers of Anna Freud and those of Klein.

Object relations (279)