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Friedman, L.J. (1975). Current Psychoanalytic Object Relations Theory and its Clinical Implications. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 56:137-146.

(1975). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 56:137-146

Current Psychoanalytic Object Relations Theory and its Clinical Implications

Leonard J. Friedman

We are in a period of searching re-examination and reconstruction of psychoanalytic theory which has broad ramifications. The psycho-analytic movement as a whole is pooling its talents to continue the work of thoughtful revision of theory to illuminate clinical understanding which was characteristic of Freud's approach to his work throughout his lifetime. This effort has been aided by careful attention to methodological considerations in theory construction by analysts and others who have brought a knowledge of the philosophy of science to the task. (Without attempting an exhaustive list, I am alluding to the work of Schafer (1972), (1973a), (1973b), Holt (1972), (1973), Yankelovich & Barrett (1970), Home (1966), Wisdom (1963), Shainberg (1973), Shands (1970), (1971), Leavy (1973), Modell (1968), (1970), (1973), and Meissner (1971).) I believe that psycho-analysis is growing past the risk of dissipation of its creative thrust by division into warring schools of doctrine, and is moving towards a new stage of synthesis and convergence of varying points of view.

The theory of object relations in psycho-analysis has been given increasing attention in recent years. Broadly speaking, it has been developing from two different bases, the integration of which is a continuing task. One is based on observations from standpoints other than the psychoanalytic clinical situation. It includes direct observations of child development and the consequences for personality growth of family relationship events.

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