Object Relations Theory of Personality Disorders
J.E. Marcia, in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, . In keeping with ego psychology and object relations theory, the term 'real . According to object relations theory, beginning during infancy, people blocks organizing people's internal life, including their motivations and behavior. Object constancy suggests that, at some point in our early development, humans express the capacity to understand that 'out of sight' doesn't mean 'gone'.
In fact or phantasy, one now realizes the capacity to harm or drive away a person who one ambivalently loves. The defenses characteristic of the depressive position include the manic defenses, repression and reparation. The manic defenses are the same defenses evidenced in the paranoid-schizoid position, but now mobilized to protect the mind from depressive anxiety.
As the depressive position brings about an increasing integration in the ego, earlier defenses change in character, becoming less intense and allow increasing awareness of psychic reality. Unconscious guilt for destructive phantasies arises in response to the continuing love and attention provided by caretakers.
These feelings of guilt and distress now enter as a new element into the emotion of love. They become an inherent part of love, and influence it profoundly both in quality and quantity. Omnipotence is lessened, which corresponds to a decrease in guilt and the fear of loss.
Previously, extended absences of the object the good breast, the mother was experienced as persecutory, and, according to the theory of unconscious phantasythe persecuted infant phantisizes destruction of the bad object. The good object who then arrives is not the object which did not arrive.
Likewise, the infant who destroyed the bad object is not the infant who loves the good object. In phantasy, the good internal mother can be psychically destroyed by the aggressive impulses. It is crucial that the real parental figures are around to demonstrate the continuity of their love.
In this way, the child perceives that what happens to good objects in phantasy does not happen to them in reality. Psychic reality is allowed to evolve as a place separate from the literalness of the physical world.
Through repeated experience with good enough parenting, the internal image that the child has of external others, that is the child's internal object, is modified by experience and the image transforms, merging experiences of good and bad which becomes more similar to the real object e. In Freudian terms, the pleasure principle is modified by the reality principle. Melanie Klein saw this surfacing from the depressive position as a prerequisite for social life.
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- Object Relations Theory Of Personality Disorders
Moreover, she viewed the establishment of an inside and an outside world as the start of interpersonal relationships. Klein argued that people who never succeed in working through the depressive position in their childhood will, as a result, continue to struggle with this problem in adult life. The guilt is there because of a lack of differentiation between phantasy and reality. It also functions as a defense mechanism to defend the self against unbearable feelings of sadness and sorrow, and the internal object of the loved one against the unbearable rage of the self, which, it is feared, could destroy the internal object forever.
Further thinking regarding the positions[ edit ] Wilfred Bion articulates the dynamic nature of the positions, a point emphasised by Thomas Ogdenand expanded by John Steiner in terms of '"The equilibrium between the paranoid-schizoid and the depressive positions"'.
Grotstein, following Bion, also hypothesizes a transcendent position which emerges following attainment of the depressive position. This aspect of both Ogden and Grotstein's work remains controversial for many within classical object relations theory. Death drive[ edit ] Sigmund Freud developed the concept object relation to describe or emphasize that bodily drives satisfy their need through a medium, an object, on a specific focus.
The central thesis in Melanie Klein 's object relations theory was that objects play a decisive role in the development of a subject and can be either part-objects or whole-objects, i. Consequently, both a mother or just the mother's breast can be the focus of satisfaction for a drive. Furthermore, according to traditional psychoanalysis, there are at least two types of drives, the libido mythical counterpart: Erosand the death drive, mortido mythical counterpart: Thus, the objects can be receivers of both love and hatethe affective effects of the libido and the death drive.
Ronald Fairbairn's Six Ego Positions[ edit ] Fairbairn posited six ego positions or inner voices, or 3 pairs: This is the part of the inner world that object relations therapists try to expand and grow. The Antilibidinal Ego relating to the Bad Object, is the depressed, angry or hopeless inner child relating to the rejecting or neglectful inner parent.
Whenever someone speaks in a tantrum-like way they are speaking from the Antilibidinal Ego, and they are speaking to the Bad Object. Whenever someone is overly critical and harshly judgmental they are speaking from the Bad Object part of their personality, and are speaking to the Antilibidinal Ego hopeless inner child. The Libidinal Ego relating to the Exciting Object, is the gullible and overly hopeful inner child relating to the exciting over-promising inner parent.
Whenever a person goes back to their cheating or abusive spouse they are operating from their Libidinal Ego and relating to the Exciting Object in their inner worlds. Whenever they are in an addiction they are treating whatever they are addicted to as if it were an Exciting Object.
The Fairbairnian Object Relations therapist imagines that all interactions between the client and the therapist are occurring in the client's inner object relations world, in one of the three dyads. If the client thinks the therapist is wise and compassionate the therapist sees this as an interaction between the client's Libidinal Ego and Exciting Object.
If the client is angry at the therapist for not meeting the client's needs, the therapist might see it as an interaction between the client's Antilibidinal Ego and the Bad Object. The therapist might ask the client if this particular interaction reminds the client of something from childhood. If the therapist can patiently be an empathic therapist through the client's re-enactment, then the client has a new experience to incorporate into their inner object world, hopefully expanding their inner picture of their Good Object.
Cure is seen as the client being able to receive from their inner Good Object often enough to have a more stable peaceful life.
If the therapist has absent mindedly made a mistake that hurts the client, the therapist admits the mistake, and empathizes with the client's pain, but instead of apologizing, the therapist asks: How did this mistake in therapy re-enact a childhood scene? Kernbergin New York City receives referrals from surrounding therapists who have become frustrated with the most severe personality disordered clients. Therapists at the Institute wean their clients off all anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications, and then work with the clients using Transference Focused Psychotherapy, a form of Object Relations Theory.
A typical successful therapy lasts sessions. Numerous research studies have found that most all models of psychotherapy are equally helpful, the difference mainly being the quality of the individual therapist, not the theory the therapist subscribes to. Object Relations Theory attempts to explain this phenomenon via the theory of the Good Object. If a therapist can be patient and empathic, most clients improve their functioning in their world.
The client carries with them a picture of the empathic therapist that helps them cope with the stressors of daily life, regardless of what theory of psychology they subscribe to. Continuing developments in the theory[ edit ] Attachment theoryresearched by John Bowlby and others, has continued to deepen our understanding of early object relationships.
While a different strain of psychoanalytic theory and research, the findings in attachment studies have continued to support the validity of the developmental progressions described in object relations. Recent decades in developmental psychological research, for example on the onset of a " theory of mind " in children, has suggested that the formation of the mental world is enabled by the infant-parent interpersonal interaction which was the main thesis of British object-relations tradition e.
While object relations theory grew out of psychoanalysis, it has been applied to the general fields of psychiatry and psychotherapy by such authors as N. Gregory Hamilton   and Glen O. In making object relations theory more useful as a general psychology N. Splitting is as defined above. Projective identification--imaginatively splitting off part of oneself and attributing it to another in order to control the other.
This often includes splitting, in the form of externalization of inner anxiety and anger. Ego and superego carry on functions previously performed by parents or others. Good breast becomes focal point around which ego develops. Infant deflects life instinct and death instinct on to external object ex.
This "fluctuation of introjection and projection creates the amalgam of ego and object that is the core of the developing ego.
The superego does not accurately represent the parents as they are but is formed out of the infant's fantasy images of the parents, modified by his or her feelings and fantasies.
With increasing maturity, infant overcomes illusions of omnipotent control over objects.
Object relations theory
There is a decrease in projection and introjection and a rise in more accurate projection. To alleviate the early anxieties, and modify the harshness of internalized objects and inner persecutors. This is done through analyzing and interpreting the transference. Transference therapy is a new version of the fantasies, fears, and feelings that were involved in past relational experiences. Object Relations and Self Psychology.
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland in Fairbairn held that energy and structure are not separate entities: Rather than pleasure-seeking, as Freud held, followed Klein in viewing libido as object-seeking--that is, in search of others.
The baby starts life as a psychosomatic whole, however primitive and undeveloped. This is a more positive view than Klein. The fundamental dynamic wholeness of the human being is the most important natural characteristic. Focus on infancy, breast feeding, and incorporation.
The time of one's first object relationship. Early oral- pre-ambivalent sucking or biting. Late oral--ambivalent sucking or biting. Between infantile and mature dependance. In place of directing both love and hate toward the original object, there is a loved or accepted object, and a hated or rejected object. Four techniques for dealing with difficulties of the transition stage include obsessional, paranoid, hysterical, and phobic approaches.
Dominant characteristic is an attitude of giving. Focus is on development of self-other differentiation and on the capacity for giving as well as taking.
Dichotomy of the object: This dichotomization gives say to the use of the four techniques for dealing with the difficulty of the transition stage. The 5 structural factors are the Central Ego, the Libidinal Ego more infantile, less organized, and less in touch with reality than the Central Ego, the Internal Saboteur an aggressive and persecutory egothe Rejecting frustrating object; and the Exciting alluring Object.
The two dynamic factors are libido and aggression. Schizophrenia is related to disturbance of development arising in object-relationships over sucking loving and depression related to difficulties in object relationships over biting hating. The characteristic of the schizoid state is futility. Theories of Psychotherapy, 5th ed. How this interaction played out over time, he said, was crucial in infant growth and development. Satisfactory parental care, he said, includes three overlapping stages: It is psychological as well as physical.
As the infant moves from relative dependence toward independence, such terms are used as good enough care average expectable environment facilitating environment.
True self--this is the part of the infant that feels creative, spontaneous, and real. False self--is "built up on the basis of compliance. Transitional objects are the infant's first not-me possessions, like a blanket or doll.
They are tangible--can be held onto, grasped, hugged. They lessen the stress of separation and soothe the infant. Transitional phenomena are behaviors--repetitive actions like rocking, or fantasies, which serve the same function as transitional object. He gave considerable attention to the schizoid personality, who "feels a deep dread of entering into a real personal relationship, i. You are always impelled into a relationship by your needs and at once driven out again" by the fear of either exausting your love-object by your demands of losing your individuality by over-depencence and identification.
To escape from this "in and out" oscillation typical schizoid behavior into detachment and loss of feeling is the typical schizoid state. Guntrip, Treatment involves rapport, transference, and regrowing or maturing. Therapeutic change can only come about in, and as a direct result of, a good-object relationship.
The first, primitive, punitive images; the second, the ego ideal; the third, realistic, moderate identifications. Moderate and realistic functions replace crude fears. This is true both for literal holding, which helps the child feel secure through body contact, and also psychological holding. The latter keeps tension and frustration from becoming too great. It involves "holding a space" within which the child can be itself and feel protected and secure. Wrong holding can include not holding a child physically or psychologically when it needs to be held, or holding it too tightly in a way that is felt as smothering, so that individuality does not have a chance to develop.
Development and "psychological birth.
Maybe a mobile over the crib for eye contact. By the third month, the infant begins to sense itself, begins to remember. The psychological awareness, or "psychological birth" starts to happen about then. The infant starts to have a memory. Differentiation and body image.
The infant starts to pull away from the mother a bit.
Object relations theory - Wikipedia
Shift from outer-directed to inner-directed attention. If the mother is too neurotic, and needs the infant to focus on her needs, it interferes with normal development.
Instead of needing the infant to mirror her, she should be mirroring the infant. That begins with holding on. Then moves from crawling and standing to actually walking. Always, not going too far, looking back to see if mother is there. A healthy child may go to another friendly adult. Overprotectiveness may delay this phase. Don't push the child, and don't hold it back. Second half of second year. Child wants mother to share every new skill and experience.
This can be the "terrible twos" if the parents view it as defiance and get into power struggles with the child. If not, it becomes simply a time of enjoying the child's greater self-reliance and newfound ability to say "no. Third year and beyond. An internalization of the image of the mother.
At this point child no longer really need's mother's presence. Can hold the image of her inside while she's away. Can use an object like a toy tosupply comfort in her absance. Child is cognitively putting things together, cause and effect. Remember the past and think of the future: Also the beginnings of the conscience. If handled badly by caregivers, this stage involves the development of pathological shame and guilt.
In adulthood, "I'm not okay, not good enough, etc. Learning that there are consequences for acting in certain ways. The reality principle replaces the pleasure principle.
Some children at this stage will actively seek the father, fear being reengulfed by the mother. The very heavy emphasis on the mother in the paragraphs above is somewhat dated. Today the father is much more involved much earlier. Applied object relations not only to development, but to adult social interaction, especially in family systems. The most explicitly interpersonal of the object-relations theorists.
I need someone object in the drive area in which I need to be active and vice versa. The sense of relating that results helps both of us gain individuation and clarify self-object boundaries.
Each of us has an "internal conception of the self" and an "internal conception of the other"--the "internal other. A person goes through stages of development in which the motive of individuation is dominant and others when relatedness is dominant.
But both are also present to some degree at every stage. My daughter when she was three: One minute she responded to my offer to help her with something: If person A makes a relational move, person B can: This is similar to the Gestalt therapy term "confluence. Healthy development and interaction--subject and object roles. Alternating of subject and object roles is a vital structural component of both personality and relationships. Trouble results if you lock yourself or get locked into being consistently the subject or consistently the object.
A healthy relational engagement includes tuning into the partner's object-seeking wants or needs. Both partners discover themselves in part through dialogue with the other.
For example, playful boxing betwen father and sun is a friendly rather than destructive encounter, with each offering himself to the other's aggressive needs. The other may be strongly invested in assigning an exclusively object role to you. This may be done from an imperious authoritarian position, or from a position of apparent victim who really controls the situation "Oh, poor me, how can you do this to your dear old mother?
A person may be a "captive" of object-role assignment--unable to escape the assigned role. Being force-fed an object role impedes development of one's own autonomy, self-support, and ability to tbe the subject.
A child may be fed a "parental" role, with the parent demanding to be taken care of physically or emotionally rather than providing the child with the caretaking it needs. Someone to whom the subject role is denied may adopt a strategy of "passive-receptive mastery" which involves developing strategies to influence powerful others. There may be disregard for any individuality or autonomy among family members.
Member's will finish each other's sentences or claim to express other's innermost feelings. Rigid insistence on the subject role means trying to make others comply with all one's needs. The person who does this is a "taker" and never learns to give.