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Krasner, R.F. (1984). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, XVIII. 1982: Newer Perspectives in Object Relations Theory. James S. Grotstein. Pp. 43-91.. Psychoanal Q., 53:340-341.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Contemporary Psychoanalysis, XVIII. 1982: Newer Perspectives in Object Relations Theory. James S. Grotstein. Pp. 43-91.

(1984). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 53:340-341

Contemporary Psychoanalysis, XVIII. 1982: Newer Perspectives in Object Relations Theory. James S. Grotstein. Pp. 43-91.

Ronald F. Krasner

In order to present the newer perspectives in object relations theory, Grotstein first reviews the most widely accepted conceptualizations of object relations, both past and present. Starting with Freud, Abraham, Klein, and Bion, he summarizes and to some extent interprets their contributions. The British object relations school is then reviewed, including the work of Fairbairn, Winnicott, and the Hungarian school. Also discussed are the interpersonal school of Sullivan, the classical analytic school, and Kohut's self-objects. A summary of the five major uses of objects is set forth: 1) for Kleinians, internal objects are fantasies created by the infant from instinctual sources; 2) members of the British object relations school consider the concept of internal object relations as distortions of the ego or self created by a

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depriving maternal object in reality; 3) the American object relations school uses the term object in reference to the internal representation of an external person modified by the instinctual drives; 4) interpersonal relations as delineated by Sullivan are considered as a specific conceptualization of object relations; and 5) Kohut's self-object concept is the final and perhaps most important use of the term object. Grotstein explores the relationship between internal objects and self-objects. He locates six self-objects and finally concludes, "Perhaps the most distinguishing difference between self-objects and internal objects is that the self-object is experienced as external to one degree or another, whereas internal objects are experienced as introjected." Brief sections on the transformation of internal objects and their sociology and politics are followed by a clinical vignette which he feels demonstrates his thesis. The concepts of identification, the oedipal conflict, development, and transference are all redefined in Grotstein's scheme. As an example of this scheme, the individual's separation from his or her mother is conceptualized in the following way: "Finally all the vicissitudes of the relationships between self (parts of self as well as total self) and to objects exist as object relational content within the framework of a container. The first container is the Background Subject-Object of Primary Identification, the primal self object. It gradually becomes known as the sense of self-containment and may be concretized as the sense of a skin boundary frontier representation which holds self content inside and non-self on the outside."

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Article Citation

Krasner, R.F. (1984). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, XVIII. 1982. Psychoanal. Q., 53:340-341

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