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object relations theory

any psychoanalytically based theory that views the need to relate to objects as more central to personality organization and motivation than the vicissitudes of the instincts. These theories developed from and in reaction to classic Freudian theories of psychodynamics. Some theories—for example, Fairbairnian theory and the approach of Melanie Klein—view the personality as organized in terms of a complex world of internal object representations and their relationships with each other.

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Psychology term of the day

May 21st 2024