An Introduction to Object Relations Theory

Integrated Child & Adult Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (ICAPP)
2020-21, 2nd Block — Mondays, 6:30-7:45pm
Joanne della Penta, ATR-BC LMHC
Julie Wood, MA


Introduction

Welcome! We are excited to learn together about the expansion of psychoanalytic thought after Freud. We’ll move from the Freudian movement, across the sea to Scotland with Fairbairn, then locate ourselves in London where Melanie Klein articulated her theoretical expansion on Freud, and applied the method to children. She brings us directly into the primitive elements of the psyche. The battles between the Anna Freudians and the Melanie Kleinians, “controversial discussions,” yielded a “Middle School” – Winnicott, Bowlby, Sharp, and Mahler. The middle school was the roots for Bowlby’s followers, Ainsworth and Main, and the origins of attachment theory. We’ll move into more contemporary object relations theory with Bion, Meltzer, and Ogden. We are eager to work as a strong learning community as we all navigate the ups and downs of Zoom education, so please speak up! Tell us how it is for you, what you want more or less of, and how we can facilitate learning in this strange historical time.

November 16, 2020 — Overview and emergence of object relations theory

We start with an overview of the path we’ll be taking as Freud’s thinking expanded and flourished into the approach called “object relations theory.” Eigen takes a hopeful poetic tone for an overview.

Meltzer, D. (1981). The Kleinian Expansion of Freud’s Metapsychology. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 62:177-185.

Eigen, M. (2008). Primary Aloneness. Psychoanal. Persp., 5(2):63-68.

November 23, 2020 — Freud’s Vienna

We’re taking a brief historical detour to Freud’s original writings so that you gain a sense of his voice, his common sense tone, and his grappling with his own ideas. Please read the First Lecture – imagine that you are indeed in the audience of his first talk in the USA.

Freud, S. (1910). “Five Lectures on Psycho-Analysis” in The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XI: Five Lectures on Psycho-Analysis, Leonardo da Vinci and Other Works, pp1-56.

Lectures presented in the “New World” when Freud visited the USA, Clark University.

The next 4 Freud samplings will be assigned to groups for discussion before our next class and then we’ll come together to review them during class.

Freud, S. (1910). “The Psycho-Analytic View of Psychogenic Disturbance of Vision” in The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XI: Five Lectures on Psycho-Analysis, Leonardo da Vinci and Other Works, pp209-218.

Freud, S. (1912). “Recommendations to Physicians Practising Psycho-Analysis” in The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XII (1911-1913): The Case of Schreber, Papers on Technique and Other Works, pp109-120.

Freud, S. (1913). “On Beginning the Treatment (Further Recommendations on the Technique of Psycho-Analysis I)” in The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XII (1911-1913): The Case of Schreber, Papers on Technique and Other Works, pp121-144.

Freud, S. (1914). “Remembering, Repeating and Working-Through (Further Recommendations on the Technique of Psycho-Analysis II)” in The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XII (1911-1913): The Case of Schreber, Papers on Technique and Other Works, pp145-156.

November 30, 2020 — Freudian Foundations

Mitchell, S.A. and Black, M.J., Freud and Beyond: A History of Modern Psychoanalytic Thought, 2nd Edition, Ch1, “Sigmund Freud and the Classical Psychoanalytic Tradition”. Basic Books, New York, 2016.

Freud, S. (1912). “Recommendations to Physicians Practising Psycho-Analysis” in The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XII (1911-1913): The Case of Schreber, Papers on Technique and Other Works, pp109-120.

December 7, 2020 — Melanie Klein

This is a good summary of the concept of developmental “positions” according to the Kleinian theory. Segal was one of the major early followers of Klein.

Bion, W.R., Rosenfeld, H. and Segal, H. (1961). Melanie Klein. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 42:4-8.

Segal, H. (1973). “The Paranoid-Schizoid Position” in Introduction to the Work of Melanie Klein, pp24-38.

Segal, H. (1973). “The Depressive Position” in Introduction to the Work of Melanie Klein, pp67-81.

December 14, 2020 — Melanie Klein – Phantasy, Schizoid

Both are classic articles, one an easier read of a “Kleinian” by one of her followers, Susan Isaacs, and Mrs. Klein herself, in her most cited article.

Isaacs, S. (1948). The Nature and Function of Phantasy. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 29:73-97.

December 21, 2020 — Donald W. Winnicott, “Independent School”, and Attachment Theory – Holding environment, good enough mother, transitional object, true self/false self

Winnicott emerges from the “Controversial Discussions” as the middle way between Mrs. Klein and Miss Freud. As a pediatrician by training, he is known for his down to earth, pragmatic, and kind approach to children and their parents. He had a BBC radio show and spoke in common language to teachers, juvenile reformers, parents, public health providers, and others invested in families.

Winnicott, D.W. (1960). The Theory of the Parent-Infant Relationship. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 41:585-595.

Winnicott, D.W. (1958). The Capacity to be Alone. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 39:416-420.

Winnicott, D.W. (1969) The Use of an Object. IJP, 50:711-716.

January 4, 2021 — Wilfred R.Bion – theory of thinking, alpha/beta elements

Bion is often referenced as a major theoretician after Freud. He aims to articulate a metapsychology, taking on the whole picture of the mental process of thinking. Segal provides a clinical application of the Kleinian-Bionian model of the mind.

Bion, W.R. (1962). The Psycho-Analytic Study of Thinking. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 43:306-310.

Segal, H. (1985). Chapter 3: The Klein-Bion Model in Models of the Mind: Their Relationships to Clinical Work, pp35-47.

January 11, 2021 — Projective identification and the Transference

Ogden, T.H. (1979). On Projective Identification. The International Journal of Psychoananlysis, 60: 357-373.

Joseph, B. (1985). Transference: The Total Situation. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 66:447-454.

Optional Reading

This is an optional reading, an excellent summary of object relations theory.