Object Relations Therapy

Object relations therapy is a modern adaptation of psychoanalytic theory that emphasises human relationships as the primary motivational force in life and assumes that familiar conflicts from early childhood help create a blueprint of how the self-system will develop and maintain relationships later in life. Object relations therapy resolves conflicts growing out of human relationships by developing an understanding of the unique pattern of distortions and manipulations the client uses to establish and maintain relationships. Since the dysfunctional pattern is a blueprint imbedded in the drama of the client’s family of origin, it emerges in all relationships including the therapeutic relationship. The task of the therapist is to provide a safe environment that will allow the dysfunctional pattern to emerge and then find empathic ways of confronting it. The therapist essentially refuses to engage with the client's maladaptive pattern of relating, which causes the client to seek out new, healthier methods of relating. A healthier way of relating requires the client to recognise and express his or her needs for acceptance and validation openly and honestly. The goal of therapy is to bring all this into the conscious awareness of the client and to help the client find new ways of relating. It is a process of helping the client move from manipulative, dependent patterns of relating, to honest, autonomous ways of relating.

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