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Flashcards in Human Relations Theory Deck (34):

autonomous self

In Kohut’s theory, an ideal self with qualities of self-esteem and self-confidence.


borderline personality disorder

A serious mental illness in which early human relationships set up an abnormal self-structure and representation of others.



In relational-cultural theory, the basic origins of growth and development.



The break that is experienced when a person cannot engage in mutually empathetic and empowering relationships.



The ability to recognize and understand another’s feelings.



In Kohut’s theory, the tendency children have to idealize their parents.


mirror neurons

Neurons representing the action that are activated when an animal observes or performs an action.



In Kohut’s theory, the need for children to have their talk and their accomplishments acknowledged, accepted, and praised.



A way of relating and sharing in which all participants are fully participating.



A form of self-encapsulation in which an individual experiences as real only that which exists within him or herself.


nuclear self

In Kohut’s theory, a well-developed self that ideally emerges in the second year.


object relations

The intrapsychic experience of early relationships with others.


relational development

The study of how people develop in terms of their ability to connect and relate with others.


relational-cultural theory

A perspective for understanding personality developed by scholars working out of the Stone Center at Wellesley College in which the two-directional dynamic of the mother-daughter relationship is an early model or pattern for studying and learning about emotional connectedness and mutual empathy.



The process of cultivating increasing levels of complexity and maturity within the framework of human relationships.


reproduction of mothering

In Chodorow’s theory, a cyclical process by which the mother-daughter relationship instills in the daughter maternal capacities and the desire to mother.



Theory and school of psychology developed by Heinz Kohut.



A sequence of stages posited by Mahler through which the ego passes in the process of becoming an individual.



In object relations therapy, separating an object image into opposites in the internal world of fantasy that permits children to treat the internalized object as clearly good or bad while continuing to trust and love the actual external person who is an intricate combination of both.


transference-focused psychotherapy

Kernberg’s method of treatment that emphasizes current behavior and focuses on the patient’s distortions of reality, such as a distorted view of the therapist.


Describe the major ideas of the object relations theorists.

Object relations theorists look at how people develop intrapsychic patterns of living out of their early relationships with significant others, particularly their mothers.


Identify the essential components of Melanie Klein's theory.

Klein introduced the concept of splitting and emphasized the interaction of unconscious fantasies and real experiences in the development of children's object relations.


What contributions did Margaret Mahler make to psychoanalytic theory?

Mahler explored the process of separation-individuation by which the child emerges from a symbolic fusion with the mother and develops individual characteristics. Mahler constructed a sequence of stages through which the ego passes in the process of becoming an individual.


Explain how Heinz Kohut clarifies narcissism.

Kohut accounted for narcissism and narcissistic character disorders that occur when an individual fails to develop an independent sense of self. Kohut has developed psychoanalytic techniques designed to work through transferences and resistances stemming from pre-Oedipal phases of development


Describe how Otto Kernberg accounts for borderline personality disorders, and discuss his method of treatment.

Kernberg elaborated on the notion of splitting to describe the interpersonal relationships of patients with borderline personality disorder, and he developed a method of treatment called transference-focused psychotherapy. More recently, Kernberg has focused on aggression, and he has suggested changes to Freud's drive theory.


Describe what Nancy Chodorow means by the reproduction of mothering, and explain why social and historical forces are insufficient to account for gender developments.

Chodorow believes that mothering by women reproduces cyclically, producing daughters with the desire and capacity to mother but sons whose nurturing abilities are limited and repressed. Social and historical forces are insufficient to account for gender development. A person's gender is a fusion of personal and cultural meaning.


Identify the Stone Centre group.

The Stone Centre Group is a group of women who have developed a new collaborative theory of human development within relationships.


Describe the thesis of Jean Baker Miller's 'Toward a new Psychology of Women'

Miller's thesis is the both sexes have been constrained by a framework of inequality and the the concepts of affiliation and relationship are central to the development of human beings


Describe the paradigm shift made by Relational-Cultural Theory.

Relational-cultural theory makes a paradigm shift away from a concept of separation-individuation and individualistic values to a concept of relationship differentiation and relational values


Explain the significance of connections, and tell why empathy is central for growth within relationships.

Connections are the basic origins of growth. Empathy, experiencing the feelings and thoughts of another while being aware of one's own different feelings and thoughts, fosters connections and lead to growth within relationships.


Explain how disconnections are the major source of psychological problems.

The major source of psychological problems is disconnections, which prevent people from engaging in mutually empathetic relationships.


Describe how psychotherapy can change and overcome the negative effects of disconnection.

Psychotherapy can change and overcome the negative effects of disconnection by establishing new relationships that empower individuals. The emphasis is on creating a new relational experience that fosters healing.


Describe how neurobiological basis of relationships and relational-cultural theory

Research in neurobiology provides confirmation of RCT. Our brains grow through interactions with others. Mirror neurons facilitate our felt sense of connection. Positive social interactions discharge pleasurable chemicals that build connection; negative social interactions lead to chemical changes destructive to emotional centres and neurotransmitter receptors


Evaluate the human relations theories from the viewpoints of philosophy, science, and art.

The human relations theorists do not insist on a simply scientific basis for their work but make explicit philosophical assumptions. They include many variables in their discussion, believing that narrow scientific methodology is not appropriate for the study of personality. their work has had an enormous impact in clinical psychology.