Object Relations and the Family Process

Object Relations and the Family Process

Object Relations and the Family Process

Object Relations and the Family Process

Synopsis

This volume explores the psychoanalytic theory of object relations and its application to the study of marital and family interaction. Freud's object relations model lends itself well to the study of internalized object relations and external personal relations. Integrating various psychoanalytic conceptualizations as well as contributions of Piagetian scholars, this book incorporates a strong flavor of general systems theory. The study covers the breakdown of marital relationships, narcissism of partners, separation and individuation of adolescent offspring, role typing, family communication, defense mechanisms, entrapping and emotional processes.

Excerpt

This book is an essay on the psychoanalytic theory of object relations and its application to the study of marital and family interaction. The conceptual premise on which this effort is founded is that the object relations theoretical model is one of many comprising the psychoanalytic paradigm as evolved since Sigmund Freud's revolutionary introduction of a new way of viewing the world and its people. The object relations model lends itself well to the integrated study of internalized object relations and external interpersonal relations, both of which by necessity coalesce in an intertwined and interdependent configuration to provide a comprehensive and inclusive investigation into the processes of marital and family transactions. Marital and family processes, in reciprocation, provide the most immediate and intimate relational focus in which the unified construct of object relations, incorporating both the internal and the external spheres of entity, can be most thoroughly studied and tested.

Chapter 1 presents an introduction to the object relations model and its inherently salient principles as I conceive them in reference to and in collaboration with the theoretical formulations of many psychoanalytic investigators. Chapter 2 describes the process whereby the human neonate acquires the concept of the object of both permanence, a substantial thing, and libidinal strivings, a loved person. Jean Piaget's (1952, 1954) theoretical constructs of cognitive and intellectual development emphasize experiential coordination with the external object world as the precipitator and facilitator of the acquisition of the object concept.

Chapter 3 represents the arduous attempt to define the concept of libidinal object, including its origins and functions. Chapter 4 provides an overview of the psychoanalytic theory of object relations, wherein due homage is paid to the British school of object relations. This overview presents the object relations hypothesis that the human being at birth is inherently embedded in both relations with and relatedness to the libidinized mothering object.

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