The Assessment of Object Relations Phenomena in Adolescents: Tat and Rorschach Measures

By Francis D. Kelly | Go to book overview

5
Object Relations Assessment and Functioning in Adolescence: Theoretical and Clinical Considerations

The intent of this chapter is to provide some commentary and observations about object relations functioning in adolescence in order to acquaint the reader with contemporary and historical thinking. Most of this, until recently, paid little accord to the fact that the adolescent period is a developmental stage wherein considerable object relations change and potential growth may still occur. There was, as Lamia ( 1982) observed, insufficient attention to the revision and modification of self and object representations in adolescence, and to the attendant relationship between the adolescent's self and object representations. In order to illustrate some of the more essential theoretical and clinical points it is helpful to begin with a metaphorical example followed by a clinical exposition.

The trustees of a private school wish to commission a painting to be presented at the June commencement in order to honor a well-respected headmaster who is retiring after many years of long service. He had started there as a young science teacher fresh out of college. The painting is to be of the science building where he first taught as a young man. Three artists are contacted and advised that their efforts will be judged in the latter part of May, with one of the offerings to be selected by the trustees. The two remaining paintings will be offered to charity with the artists being generously reimbursed for their efforts and talent.

The first artist, a well-organized, conscientious, and fastidious person makes initial sketches, takes photographs, and begins the work in an orderly, efficient, and prompt manner. The painting is actually completed some time before the deadline, long before the days lengthen, and certainly long before the annual cornucopia of color explodes on the barren

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