Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Object Relations Theory

  • Benjamin Beit-HallahmiEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_468

The concept of “object relations” in psychoanalytic writings means relations with significant others and their internal representations, starting with infancy and the mother (“object” in psychoanalytic writings always refers to another person). Primitive, early, object relations are the starting point for personality development. Whereas, for Freud, the drive-based quest for sensuous gratification conditions the structure of the personality, object relations theorists argued that the individual seeks relationships before seeking gratification. The pattern taken by the individual’s relationship with others, internalized during early childhood, structures the adult personality as well as adult spirituality.

What is known as psychoanalytic object relations theory represents the psychoanalytic study of the nature and origins of interpersonal relations and, more significantly, of the nature and origins of internal, unconscious, structures deriving from interpersonal contacts and...

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael