The Theory of Object Relations

4032 WordsOct 8, 201217 Pages
OTTO KERNBERG THE THEORY OF OBJECT RELATIONS Kernberg generally defines object relations theory as the psychoanalytic study of intrapersonal relations and how intrapsychic structures grow from internalized past relationships with others. Broadly, object relations theory could refer to a general theory of the structures of the mind influenced by interpersonal experiences. More narrowly, object relations theory is a more circumspect approach within psychoanalysis, stressing the construction of structures from internal objects – that is, self-representations linked with object-representations. I. STRUCTURE: Object An Object is a mental image of a person, a mental image colored with feelings. Kernberg’s work examines the…show more content…
The ego organizing at this stage results in a consolidation of ego structures so that the child has a sense of the continuity of the self, the self being the self-image that is organized from introjections and identifications. At this stage, internalized object relations, according to Kernberg, are also organized into the representational world, which internally represents the external world. Identity formation means that early primitive identifications are replaced overtime by selective identifications in which only those aspects of the object relation that are in harmony with individual identity formation are internalized. These partial identification are of people who are loved and admired in a realistic way. III. DEVELOPMENTAL STAGES Kernberg believes that internal object relations develop into structures of id, ego and superego. Kernberg also views structure formation as a series of developmental stages. Failures in normal development can result in various forms of mental illness or psychopathology. Stage 1 The earliest stage of development covers the first month of life. Very little occurs during this period that influences the building up of personality structures. Then begins the gradual formation of undifferentiated self-representations and object-representations. Undifferentiated means that the self-representations and object-representations are fused with
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