What is Object Relations Theory?

Mental Health Matters

Introduction

Object relations theory in psychoanalyticpsychology is the process of developing a psyche in relation to others in the childhood environment. It designates theories or aspects of theories that are concerned with the exploration of relationships between real and external people as well as internal images and the relations found in them. It maintains that the infant’s relationship with the mother primarily determines the formation of its personality in adult life. Particularly, the need for attachment is the bedrock of the development of the self or the psychic organisation that creates the sense of identity.

The Theory

While object relations theory is based on psychodynamic theory, it modified it so that the role of biological drives in the formation of adult personality received less emphasis. The theory suggests that the way people relate to others and situations in their adult lives is shaped by family experiences during infancy. For…

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