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Object Relations Theory

Object Relations, in psychoanalysis are those in which the emotional relations between subject and object, in that which through a process of identification, is believed to constitute the developing ego. In this context, the word object refers to any person or thing, or representational aspect of them, with which the subject forms an intense emotional relationship. Object relations were first described by German psychoanalyst Karl Abraham in an influential paper, published in 1924. In the paper he developed the ideas of the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, on infantile sexuality and the development of the libido. Object relations theory has become one of the central themes of post Freudian psychoanalysis, particularly through the writings of British psychoanalysts Melanie Klein, Ronald Fairbairn, and Donald Winnicott, all deeply influenced by Abraham. They have each developed distinctly, though complementary, approaches to analysis, evolving theories of personal development based on early parental attachments.
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