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Applegarth, A. Krent, J. (1978). Dialogue on 'The Development of Object Relationships and Affects'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 59:297-302.

(1978). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 59:297-302

Dialogue on 'The Development of Object Relationships and Affects'

Adrienne Applegarth and Justin Krent

The similarities and differences between the Sandlers' and Diatkine's concepts on the development of object relationships and affects generated a spirited dialogue which further contrasted their views, especially in regard to the role of instinctual drives. Joseph Sandler (London) began by reading the paper 'The Development of Object Relationships and Affects' (this issue), co-authored with Anne-Marie Sandler. René Diatkine (Paris) discussed the Sandlers' paper instead of presenting the one he had initially prepared (Diatkine, this issue) for the dialogue. Members of the audience continued the lively interaction and aided in defining issues of disagreement.

This written report will follow primarily the sequence of the remarks of the principal speakers.

The Sandlers initially reflected on the earlier formulations of object relationship as libidinal and aggressive energic cathexis of the object, but concluded that this formulation, standing alone, was inadequate and simplistic, failing to do justice to the complexity of any relationship between two people. While psychoanalytic theory has tended to focus on the urge for gratification of instinctual drives, the Sandlers preferred to formulate an object relationship as representing the fulfilment of important needs, expressed as wishes. They took care to make clear that, in their view, all wishes need not be instinctual. Anxiety, other unpleasant affects, as well as outside stimuli, may act as motivators of behaviour.

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