IPA Inter-Regional Encyclopedic Dictionary of Psychoanalysis

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self and other exist in various degrees of undifferentiation from each other. Loewald (1988) suggests that healthy object relations consists not so much in a clear separation of self from others but in a capacity to contain in dialectical tensions different mutually enriching forms of relatedness. And, finally, Sullivan and contemporary interpersonalists have contributed to our understanding of the ways in which the vicissitudes of early attachment experiences play themselves out in current relationships, including the transference-countertransference relationship with the analyst. At this point in the evolution of psychological ideas, attachment theory and psychoanalytic [Object Relations] theory offer an exciting possibility for a convergence that is mutually enriching” (Mitchell, 1998, p. 193). Post-Freudian interest in the role of the object in the development of the psychic apparatus is an intense arena of overlap with work emanating from France and Montreal, where Contemporary French analysts speak about the "third model": a model of the psychic apparatus which postulates a first phase of human life in which the baby's mind must be considered in the context of the care-taking environment (two-person model) before it differentiates into one or the other of the two (one-person) Freudian models, topographical and structural. In human development, the two-person mind precedes that of the one-person psychic autonomy of drive, defence, and intrapsychic fantasy, described by Freud. Green read Winnicott in this way, and Brusset (2005b, 2006), Reid (2008a, 2008b), and others have followed up on this lead. This may be yet another common ground of psychoanalytic research which has emerged internationally in addition to that of transference and countertransference suggested by Gabbard in 1995. Loewald's (1960) statement, "instinctual drives are as primarily related to 'objects', to the 'external world,' as the ego is. In other words, instinctual drives organize environment and are organized by it no less than is true for the ego and its reality… It is the mutuality of organization, in the sense of organizing each other, which constitutes the inextricable interrelatedness of 'inner and outer world'…” (ibid, p. 23.), has resonance with Contemporary French analysts on both sides of the Atlantic. Many European Object Relations and North American Relational schools also include Sandor Ferenczi and Michael Balint’s conceptualizations of ‘primary love’ and Balint’s ‘basic fault’ and others, as a groundwork for future enrichment of Object Relational thought and technique. 3. The narrowest definition of Psychoanalytic Object Relations Theory limits the term to the “British Psychoanalytic School” of Melanie Klein and Fairbairn and related approaches of Guntrip (1961, 1971), Winnicott (1955, 1963), Wisdom (1963,1971), Sutherland (1963). This understanding of Object Relations Theory has been traditionally counterposed to Ego Psychology in both North America and Europe. Latin American Object Relations conceptualizations (below) are primarily related to this British Object Relations (narrow) definition, in their specific understanding of Kleinian theory and it´s developments mainly in Bion, Meltzer and Winnicott.


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