Melanie Klein (Key Figures in Counselling and Psychotherapy series)

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Gestalt Therapy Counseling. Other Psychotherapies.

Join our mailing list Click here to read previous issues. Association for the Advancement of Gestalt Therapy. Casement, Ann. Clarkson, Petruska. Dryden, Windy. Jacobs, Michael. Kelly, George. Moreno, Joseph and Zerka. Perls, Frederick S Fritz. Rogers, Carl. Sanders, Pete. Stewart, Ian. Thorne, Brian. Zeig, Jeffrey K. Archetypal titles, a comprehensive list.

Gestalt Institute of Toronto. Gestalt Therapy. Object Relations. Psychodynamic Psychotherapy. From this developmental milestone come a capacity for sympathy, responsibility to and concern for others, and an ability to identify with the subjective experience of people one cares about. Omnipotence is lessened, which corresponds to a decrease in guilt and the fear of loss. When all goes well, the developing child is able to comprehend that external others are autonomous people with their own needs and subjectivity. Previously, extended absences of the object the good breast, the mother was experienced as persecutory, and, according to the theory of unconscious phantasy , the 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. 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.

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For example: the cause that a person may maintain suffering from intense guilt feelings over the death of a loved one, may be found in the unworked- through depressive position. 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.

Wilfred Bion articulates the dynamic nature of the positions, a point emphasised by Thomas Ogden , and 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. 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.

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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: Eros , and the death drive, mortido mythical counterpart: Thanatos.

Thus, the objects can be receivers of both love and hate , the affective effects of the libido and the death drive. Fairbairn posited six ego positions or inner voices, or 3 pairs: [15]. 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.

The Fairbairnian Object Relations Therapist also uses their mistakes in the therapy. 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? 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.


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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.

Theory II: The Internal World and the Depressive and Paranoid-Schizoid Modes of Experience

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. Attachment theory , researched 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. Fairbairn, 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 [29] [30] and Glen O. In making object relations theory more useful as a general psychology N.


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Gregory Hamilton added the specific ego functions to Otto F. Kernberg 's concept of object relations units. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is written like a personal reflection, personal essay, or argumentative essay that states a Wikipedia editor's personal feelings or presents an original argument about a topic. Please help improve it by rewriting it in an encyclopedic style. June Learn how and when to remove this template message. Important figures. Important works. Schools of thought. Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis.

Main article: paranoid-schizoid and depressive positions. Attachment theory Defense mechanisms Egocentrism Family therapy Jointness psychodynamics Psychoanalysis Relational psychoanalysis Reparation Transference focused psychotherapy Unthought known. Sandler Ronald Fairbairn D. Object Relations in Psychoanalytic Theory.

Sociology: Understanding a Diverse Society, Updated. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth. Clair, Michael An object is that to which a subject relates. This Art of Psychoanalysis: Dreaming undreamt dreams and interrupted cries. NY: Routledge.

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