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

By Francis D. Kelly | Go to book overview

3
Object Representation Assessment in Adolescence: TAT and Rorschach Research in Relation to Different Clinical Populations

Greenberg and Mitchell ( 1983) widely accepted definition of object relations functioning postulates internal and external transactions with self and others: "The term refers to individual's interactions with external and internal (real and imagined) other people and to the relationship between their internal and external object worlds" (pp. 13-14). Another term sometimes used to define the domain of an individual's real or imagined definition to self and others is object representation. Although the term is sometimes used interchangeably with object relations, its more useful and appropriate place is the inner domain, as it is a psychological construct referring to a complex, multidimensional inner mental map, schemata, or template, providing graphic psychological definitions of self and others.

Blatt and Lerner ( 1983), expanding on earlier writings ( Beres & Joseph, 1970; Sandler & Rosenblatt, 1962), offered a succinct definition: "Broadly defined, object representation refers to the conscious and unconscious mental schemata--including cognitive, affective, and experiential components--of objects encountered in reality" (p. 194).

These mental schemata are transmitted to the child within the context of a dyadic interpersonal relationship involving the child and the person or persons primarily entrusted with his or her care. Thus, object representations are mental constructs or models that develop first from the initial relationship via the process of internalization ( Schafer, 1968). They subsequently serve to organize and integrate perceptions and experiences of self-systems, as well as the complex matrix of information involving significant others. This eventually ensures that the individual, at any given point in time, has at his or her disposal an array of ideas and feelings

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