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Grinberg, L. Grinberg, R. (1981). Modalities of Object Relationships in the Psychoanalytic Process. Contemp. Psychoanal., 17:290-320.
   

(1981). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 17:290-320

Modalities of Object Relationships in the Psychoanalytic Process

León Grinberg, M.D. and Rebeca Grinberg, M.D.

INTRODUCTION

WE SHALL TAKE AS THE STARTING POINT for our consideration of the nature and development of object relationships in the psychoanalytic process, the following paragraph of the prose poem by the philosopher Martin Buber (1937), "I and Thou":

The prenatal life of the child is a purely natural combination of bodily interaction and of the flowing of one into the other. When it is born, the full extent of its life appears to stem from the person who gave it its being. However, the child does not only rest, in the human mother's body. This relationship has such a cosmic quality, as the Talmudical saying "Man knows the universe inside his mother's body, but when he is born, he forgets it …" appears to be an imperfect interpretation of an inscription from the most remote times. And truly, it remains in man as a secret image of something he desires. It does not mean that this desire is a desire to return … rather it is a desire of a cosmic relationship with the true "Thou".

It is quite clear that this initial relationship of the baby with its mother plays a fundamental role in the psychobiological development of the child, and will influence all his subsequent experiences. This desire for the continued renewal of the dialogue between the "I" and the "Thou", in all its many vicissitudes, (with the inclusion or exclusion of the third person "He") will continue throughout life. It is precisely this existing dialectic or interplay between subject and object which determines the specific operational field of the psychoanalytic process. The interpretation of each event as a result of the correlation between the different moments of progress and regression which give rise to a continued development, introducing the dimension of time in the spacial and operational field of the linking process which has developed between the patient and the analyst, also corresponds to this dialectic point of view.

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