- Object relations theory is
a psychodynamic theory.
- Ronald Fairbairn coined the term "object relations and
Melanie Klein is most commonly identified with the term
"object relations theory"
- It describes the process of developing a mind as one
grows in relation to others in the environment.
- The theory may be defined as “a system of psychological
explanation based on the premise that the mind comprises
elements taken in from outside, primarily aspects of the
functioning of other persons."
- The theory emphasizes interpersonal relations, primarily
in the family and especially between mother and child.
- Major proponents are
- Melanie Klein
- D.W. Winnicott
- Margaret Mahler
- Theory guides inner world exploration and recognizes the
introjected persons of the past living within the
patient’s mind, comprising the person’s psychic structure
(Mohl PC, 2008).
- Introjects refers to the internalized images
of others within the patient.
- Focus of attention of the theory.
- The "objects" of the theory are both real others in
one's world, and one's internalized image of others.
- Objects are usually persons, parts of persons, or
symbols of one of these.
- “object relations” refers to interpersonal relations or
specific intrapsychic structures.
- refers to the way the person has or possesses an object.
- Klein explains two two psychological “positions” during
the first year of life.
- paranoid–schizoid position - during the first 6
months of life
- depressive position - during the second 6 months.
- Paranoid–schizoid position is characterized by the
defenses of projection, introjection, projective identifi
cation, splitting, idealization, omnipotence, and denial.
- Depressive position is characterized by d epressive
- The object relations theory helps understanding of
children's behaviour and guides nursing practice.
- The theory provides conceptual model for practicing
, Third Edition. Edrs. Allan Tasman, Jerald
Kay, Jeffrey A. Lieberman, Michael B. First and Mario Maj.John
Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2008.