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Flashcards in Object Relations/Psychodynamic Deck (17)
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Theorists of Object Relations:

1. Dicks (object relations and couples)
2. Fairbairn (ego as object-seeking, downplayed instincts)
3. Framo
4. Scharff and Scharff


Major Concepts of Object Relations:

1. Projection of internalized, repressed ego objects causing split-off.

2. Internal objects such as mental images of self and other, and self in relation to others, built from experience and expectation.

3. Interpersonal view of individual development and family development, separation-individuation hopefully leading to well-differentiation (ex. attachment Bowlby).

4. Negative aspects of the introjected object.

5. People relate to others in the present partly on the basis of expectations formed by early experience.

6. Subsystem of societal norms and values, unconscious forces, and personal values.

7. Unresolved FOO issues (Framo).


Theory of Dysfunction in Object Relations:

Negative aspects of repressed, introjected, distorted early "objects" (primarily parents) are projected onto the spouse or children.

Symptoms are a manifestation of distorted introjections.


Theory of Change in Object Relations:

1. Expression of repressed objects
2. Resolution of negative aspects of repressed objects
3. Individuation of family members
4. Detachment and differentiation from the "bad" object. Integration of split-off parts.

Resolve underlying conflicts will contribute to behavioral change (vs. opposite in strategic)


Stages of therapy in object relations:

1. Engagement
2. Projective Identification
3. Confrontation (w/FOO or split-off parts to achieve balance of old and new, inner and outer worlds)
4. Termination

Therapy is often long-term


Stance of therapist in object relations:

1. Non-directive, analytic neutrality
2. Observer
3. Foster insight and understanding


Methods/Techniques of Object Relations:

1. Listening and empathy (concentrate on understanding rather than solving)

2. Observing affect (signals from unconscious) and responding to unconscious material

3. Interpreting transference and countertransference to foster insight (understanding of unconscious dynamics)


Diagnosis/Assessment of Object Relations:

1. Self-report
2. FOO history (understand the source)
3. Analyzing the defensive system of the family (how do they trigger each other? How do they reenact the past in the present?)
4. Degree of family member individuation
5. Analysis of intrapsychic material


General goals of Object Relations:

'Insight' (understanding of subconscious dynamics) and 'working through' (translating insights into new more productive ways of behaving/interacting).

Goals change as growth occurs.

Not directed toward symptom relief.


Development of object relations and splitting occurs by:

Key words: ideal, rejecting, exciting, antilibidinal, libidinal

Infant experiences the other as a rejecting object leading to antilibidinal ego (aggression, rage, contempt) or experiences the other as an exciting object leading to libidinal ego (need, excitement, and longing), both repressed.

The antilibidinal and libidinal systems are subconscious and not open to change by later experiences. The rest of the central ego maintains a neutral, ideal object.

As a child, will absorb bad-object introjects to seek approval and avoid abandonment. The repressed or split-off traits are projected onto other people, often placing unreasonable demands on them. They pay for the mistreatment the now adult experience from FOO as a child.


What is projective identification?

Object Relations.

Dysfunctional defense mechanism where unwanted characteristics/feelings towards self are unconsciously projected onto another person who colludes by behaving as if these projections are true of them.

Interactional, unlike projection. Intrapsychic conflict becomes externalized, and it's ALWAYS mutual.

Big player in pregnancy and transition to parenthood.


Describe object relations and the formation of relationships.

Key words: ideal, exciting, rejecting

Scharff and Scharff

We choose a partner that becomes an exciting and ideal object. The rejecting object is buried under the weight of the idealized object.

Influence of past generations to fulfill unconscious dreams for a loving union.

In an atmosphere of trust and love, the undesirable aspects of self can be contained, accepted, or modified.


Discuss Framo FOO therapy:

Part of Object Relations.

Begin couple therapy to address surface concerns (ex. communication). Eventually come to an impasse where partners cannot reconcile differing conceptions of ideal partner and marriage. Bring in FOO of each partner for separate sessions to correct distortions.


What are the similarities between the transgenerational models? (5) philosophy, assessment, change, length

Bowen, Contextual/Nagy, and Object Relations

1. philosophical roots in psychoanalytic theory

2. influence of unresolved conflicts from early experiences and past generations on the present

3. Self-report and genograms for assessment

4. Change occurs through insight, learning, corrective emotional experiences

5. Therapy is long-term


Difference in how transgenerational models conceptualize dysfunction:

Bowen - low differentiation, chronic anxiety, triangles

Nagy/Contextual - destructive entitlements, imbalanced ledger

Object relations - negative aspects of repressed, introjected early objects are projected onto spouse or children


Difference in goal of therapy in transgenerational models:

Bowen - differentiate between thoughts and feelings and between self and others, reduce anxiety, take responsibility for actions

Nagy/Contextual - exoneration, balancing the ledger, and restoring capacity for fairness and trust

Object relations - identify and express repressed memories, resolve negative aspects of introjects, and detach and differentiate from bad objects


Difference in therapist stance in transgenerational models:

Bowen - coach

Nagy - multidirectional partiality

Object relations - non-directive to encourage transference