15. Object Relations (for comps only includes Klein, Winnicott, and Fairbairn)*** Flashcards Preview

Psychopathology > 15. Object Relations (for comps only includes Klein, Winnicott, and Fairbairn)*** > Flashcards

Flashcards in 15. Object Relations (for comps only includes Klein, Winnicott, and Fairbairn)*** Deck (31)
Loading flashcards...

Which dates/books do you need to remember for Klein?

The Psychological Principles of Early Analysis (1926)
The Psycho-Analysis of Children (1932)
The Oedipus Complex in the Light of Early Anxieties (1945)
A note on depression in the schizophrenic (1960)


Melanie Klein is a contemporary of whom? How did they differ?

A. Freud (1936)

A. Freud thought children weren't analyzable because their egos were too weak. Klein thought they were analyzable, resulting in a split between people.

This resulted in a split: those who followed Anna Freud, those who followed Melanie Klein, and those of an independent orientation, which was later to be called object relations. Today, Klein is considered object relations.


What did Klein try to do with her theory?

Klein tried to integrate drive theory with internal object relations. Subsequent thinkers such as Fairbairn (1941) and Winnicott (1951) developed what is known as British Independent Perspective which argued that the primary motivation of the child is object seeking rather than drive gratification.


Klein posited that infants go through which two stages?

1. Paranoid-Schizoid Position (0 to 6 months)
2. Depressive Position (6 months to Death)

Klein (1926)


According to Klein, what is the first stage of infant development? What occurs?

1. The Paranoid-Schizoid Position (0 to 6 months) is characterized by part object relations. The ego splits experiences as all good or all bad (good breast and bad breast cannot be integrated into a “whole” mom), the infant projects bad feelings and this hated, frustrated object quickly becomes persecutory in revenge for infant’s feelings, from the infant’s perspective, leads to a paranoid anxiety about annihilation.
Klein (1926)


According to Klein, what is the second stage of infant development? What occurs?

2. The Depressive Position (6 months to Death)
▪ When the child realizes that he had been aiming his aggression towards the bad breast at his whole mother, he feels tremendous fear of annihilation and fears the mother will retaliate against him.
▪ The task during the depressive position (6 months on) is to be able to integrate the good and bad aspects of the mother. The child must then experience the mother’s love in a way that he sees that his mother forgives him for the tremendous rage he believes he had been aiming towards her.
▪ Klein would say that if mothers were unable to provide this type of reassurance, then the person may be prone to depressive dynamics later in life.

Trying to repair the good and bad split continues throughout a lifetime. A resolution is evident when the splitting and part objects are succeeded by the capacity to integrate. The infant is able to experience the other as a whole, and becomes aware of separateness of the mom, allows guilt to arise in response to the continuing love and attention by caretaker, lends to a shift from fear of destroying others. These feelings continue until the child becomes fully assured of the mother’s love for them, which is accomplished through adequate responsiveness to their needs (unconditional love); if this is failed, the individual will be vulnerable to returning to the depressive position in adulthood, marked by feelings of helplessness, sadness, guilt, and regret.
Klein (1926)


According to Klein, what causes depression in adults?

Klein (1940)
▪Infant reacts to frustration with rage and sadistic fantasies
▪Child feels helpless as weak ego cannot control these feelings, leads to helplessness
▪Weak ego induces fears of being exterminated or destroyed by impulses and object
▪Depression is the result of problematic mother-child relationships during the first year of life, as opposed to a series of traumatic relationships
▪Those children who are not met with sufficient love are always predisposed to depressive feelings of loss, sorrow, guilt


How does Klein describe schizophrenia (1960)?

o Schizophrenia occurs from a failure to develop secure attachment during the paranoid-schizoid position, making human interaction extremely anxiety inducing.
o Because they are fixated in the paranoid position, they regress back here later.
o Defenses like withdrawal are used to deal with the anxiety of human interaction.
o She feels that intense paranoid anxiety is due in part to strong sadistic and envious impulses of schizophrenics. Defenses like withdrawal, splitting, and projective identification are to cope with this intense paranoid anxiety.
o Treatment should focus on the relationship to remedy attachment dysfunctions.


Which works will be important to reference from Fairbairn?

1952 - Psychoanalytic studies of the personality

1957 - Freud, the psychoanalytic method and mental health
1958 - On the nature and aims of psychoanalytic treatment
1963 - Synopsis of an object-relations theory of the personality


Fairbairn's theory builds on whom?



Fairbairn is considered an object-relations theorist, however, his theory is the first _____ theory within psychoanalysis.

deficit theory


What does Fairbairn posit about children's relationships?

(Fairbairn 1952)

▪ When children have imperfect relationships with their caregivers (real people are deemed “primary” or “natural objects”) in real life (which is inevitable), they will form internalized object representations of these primary objects.
▪ These internal representations then become tied to a portion of the ego, and these parts of the ego become “split off” from the rest of the ego.
▪ Because libido is not pleasure-seeking but object-seeking, relationships with others are the infant’s primary goal in life.
▪ Because babies cannot be around their mothers every single second and cannot experience their mothers as perfect, they will begin forming internal objects to represent the parts of the mother that they cannot get in real life.
▪ The more disturbed a person’s relationships are in real life, the more internal objects they will have.


The idea of the "mother" becomes torn into three aspects of the infant's internal representations (Fairbairn, 1952).

1. Gratifying object - aspects of the mother become tied to the central ego, and the central ego is the only portion that remains for the person to use in developing real relationships with real people.

2. Enticing object - the aspects of the mother that signaled some hope but did not really provide, and these internal objects become tied to the libidinal ego.

3. Rejecting object - represents the parts of the mother that were outright ungratifying, and these objects become tied to the anti-libidinal ego.


According to Fairbairn (1952), what is the root of psychopathology?

When a person has a great deal of internal objects tied to the libidinal and anti-libidinal egos, they will be much less capable of forming real fulfilling relationships.


Fairbairn (1952) posited that people move through what phases?

Infantile dependence, a transitional phase, and then mature interdependence.


According to Fairbairn (1952), what occurs during the transitional phase?

A person must give up all of their internal objects and learn to accept themselves as a separate and individuated person from the mother/others.

BUT, to do so, they must believe that other primary objects are actually available and will provide love. Some people don't fully believe this, and the thought of giving up their internal objects is too anxiety provoking because it means they would be alone.


What did Fairbairn (1952) explain differently than Freud?

Repetition compulsion.

Freud (1920) stated that the repetition compulsion operated beyond the pleasure principle and was a lingering manifestation of the death instinct.

Fairbairn (1952) believed that repetition compulsion was a person's attempt to re-master past relationships that went poorly. It could also be a result of a person recreating old, bad relationships because these were the type of relationships they had with their parents, and following, the type of internalized object relations they now have.


How does Fairbairn (1952) explain depression?

▪A lack of internalization of positive object relations in childhood leads to negative affective states (depression) in adulthood
▪Child compensates by substituting fantasized internal objects rather than real external orientation, feeling that hate is his fault
▪The person may play out the dramas of her past (repetition) in present and may even seek similar objects in order to master old bad relationships, or because old bad relationships are familiar and provide some pleasure
▪Person likely believes it was their fault that they drove the love object away through their neediness or hate. this happens if the person experiences a loss at the late oral incorporative phase.
▪The person requires a transitional phase to learn to love without destroying by hate.


How does Fairbairn (1952) explain anxiety?

▪Dangerous object ties can threaten one’s maintained sense of self and emerge into consciousness, causing anxiety.
▪In terms of anxiety, individuals who internalize punitive and wrathful objects or neglectful objects who failed to nurture and love, will expect this in future relationships, this causes anxiety.
▪The person may play out the drama of her past (repetition) in present relationships to try to master them, or because they are comfortable/provide some sort of pleasure.


Which year should you cite when talking about Winnicott?



What did Winnicott (1969) believe a child needed to do to avoid later pathology?

To experience good-enough mothering so s/he can develop healthy object relations.


A mother experiences __________ during the __________ of the child's life. What does this mean?

maternal preoccupation; her needs are temporarily placed on hold and she seeks only to meet the needs of her child.

Winnicott (1969)


What does the mother provide for the child when she brings the world to him?

A holding environment.

Winnicott (1969)


What is typical of the period of primary maternal preoccupation (Winnicott, 1969)?

The baby doesn't recognize that he is separate from mom, allowing mom to be perfectly responsive to his needs. The baby thinks he is stirring up mom's responsiveness in his own mind, or hallucinatory omnipotence (e.g., when he is hungry, mom provides the breast and he thinks he conjured it up in his own mind).

When parenting, needs can't always be immediately met and the child must wait. Slowly the child begins to realize that s/he is not all-powerful as previously thought.

Infants need to temporarily experience this form of omnipotence and then be gradually let down by mom to learn they are separate objects who don't have control over others.


What happens if a child is forced into objective reality too soon (Winnicott, 1969)?

It hinders his/her development, and the child's true self is stunted. Following, the child develops a false self in order to meet the needs of the environment.

A false self can develop from EITHER being impinged on during going-on being, or from not developing hallucinatory omnipotence.


What should a mother do when a child is in a state of "going-on being?"

(Winnicott, 1969)

Leave them alone. In this state, they are not experiencing needs that must be met by the mother.

If the mother is not available when the mother needs him, or if she intrudes upon him when he is in his state of going-on being, this is perceived by the infant as impingement.


What did Winnicott believe that human beings are in a constant struggle over (Winnicott, 1969)?

Winnicott believed that humans are in a constant struggle between wanting contact with others and not wanting to be engulfed by them. Sometimes people want alone time without fearing that they will be permanently isolated from others.


What is characteristic of a false self (Winnicott, 1969)?

The false self consists of the aspects of the self that are renounced out of fear that needs won’t be taken care of, and the false self instead becomes compliant to others.

Person has taken on a false self to appease others and the external world who impinge upon their autonomous strivings. Anything good for the self results in guilt and displeasure.

The true self consists of the person’s true needs and desires.


According to Winnicott (1969), what leads to depression?

Failures in good enough mothering and a lack of an adequate holding environment lead to depressive characteristics.

The person has taken on a false self to appease others and the external world who impinge upon their autonomous strivings, anything for the good self results in guilt and displeasure.


According to Winnicott (1969), what leads to anxiety?

Chronic failure of nurturing causes radical split in the self between genuine strivings (true self) and complaint self (false self) from a history of premature, forced necessity for dealing with the external world. Children then are forced to choose the false self instead of the true self. The false self appeases others, but forecloses one's own needs. Failures in good enough mothering and lack of holding environment lead to dysfunction.

Anxious adults are seen as in search of crucial, missing experiences that they didn't have during childhood. Spontaneous excitement is met with fear and anxiety, rather than through responsive adaptation and actualization.

In the case of Sandy, her mother wasn’t good enough and didn’t provide an adequate holding environment. Her mother impinged upon her autonomous strivings, causing her to develop a false self which seeks to constantly appease a cold and rejecting mother. Therefore, Sandy was left with an undeveloped true self, thus seeking anything good for the self feels unacceptable. For sandy this was reinforced by the event when she began college and then her grandmother died, similarly leaving home causes feelings of panic.