British Object Relations Theory

Term: Fall 2008

Subject Code: GPSY

Course Number: 6324

Object relations theory explores various ways in which the development of the self emerges out of the internalization of relationships with significant others. Although the origins of object relations theory can be traced to the writing of Freud and such colleagues as Sandor Ferenczi and Karl Abraham, the true pioneers of object relations theory were British psychoanalysts such as Melanie Klein, Ronald Fairbairn and Donald Winnicott. While few American psychoanalysts were influenced by these theorists until the 1970�s, since that time some of the most creative developments in American psychoanalysis have emerged� out of a critical engagement with their thinking. In this course we will compare and contrast the approaches of object relations theorists such as Klein, Fairbairn, Bion, Winnicott, and Balint. We will also explore the work of important contemporary Kleinians such as Betty Joseph, John Steiner and Ronald Britton, and British Independent analysts such as Christopher Bollas and Michael Parsons. In addition we will examine the relationship between object relations theory and attachment theory.

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