object relations theory

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object relations theory

n
(Psychoanalysis) a form of psychoanalytic theory postulating that people relate to others in order to develop themselves
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
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Burston and Frie also make unexpected but telling comparisions; for example in their section on Binswanger they introduce a quotation from my favourite Object Relations theorist, Harry Guntrip, (in which the latter quotes R D Laing with approval):
Proponents of Levinas's work may not find Alford's critique convincing, however, for he spends a very large part of this work comparing Levinas to his own favourite writers (the British object relations theorist Winnicott, in particular) and the foil he creates between Levinas and the Frankfurt School.
To a greater or lesser degree this is a theoretical feature of all British object relations theorists who attribute a potentially self-defeating dynamic to early developmental scenarios--pre-eminently, the way in which the psychoanalytic 'object' itself is constituted ...
According to object relations theorists (Winnicott, 1965; Sorensen, 2005) and attachment theorists (Bowlby, 1969; Riggs & Bretz, 2006), the primary goal in relationships is to feel understood.
She also nicely draws out interesting implications of Aristotle's theory by comparing Aristotle's view to those of Plato, Marcus Aurelius, the Hebrew Bible, Hobbes, Rousseau, Kant, Freud, and twentieth-century object relations theorists.
Object relations theorists recognize that the inner world of humans not only contains representations of the individual's present life but images of the past that exercise influence on everyday experiences, particularly interpersonal relationships.
It is interesting to note that object relations theorists place the role of empathy, a procedure that is heavily involved in perspective taking, as a central feature of their approach.

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