What is Object Relations?

Object Relations is a set of theories which postulate that relationships, beginning with the mother-infant dyad, are primary, and that intrapsychic, interpersonal, and group experiences lay the foundation for the development of individual identity. The individual's interpretation of these relationships- both conscious and unconscious- becomes the basis for later relations with others, in friendship, marriage, and raising a family.

To understand how early life actively influences later life, we examine all stages of development, beginning with infancy. We also look at how internal objects modify and are modified by life experience, from childhood through old age. Since several distinct theories come under the heading of British Object Relations, we will explore their similarities and differences.

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