Object Relations Theory and its Current Applications
David Levit, Ph.D., ABPP
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As Faulkner stated, "The past is not dead; the past is not even past." This is true not only regarding the inner life of each of us, but also regarding the psychodynamic/psychoanalytic theories to which we look in order to understand internal life. The ideas of the founding figures of object relations theories live on within contemporary relational and intersubjective perspectives and within Self Psychology. This course will provide an overview of the fundamental contributions of the originators of object relations theories: Klein, Fairbairn and Winnicott. Discussion of each theorist will include his/her view of human nature, narrative of early development, model of the mind, perspective on psychopathology, and view of therapeutic process and therapeutic action. The course will also address the evolution of these original concepts in the course of more recent developments in psychodynamic/psychoanalytic approaches to therapy. Extensive clinical illustrations will be presented including process material from psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, with particular emphasis on the therapeutic relationship itself as a central medium for emotional and psychological growth and healing.