Object Relations Theory

Object relations theory asserts that maternal relationship is highly essential in personality development. The “object” refers to the body part, person, or thing that represents the primary caregivers (most especially the mother). Thus, object relations focuses on how individuals have been shaped by their early relationships particularly during infancy.

For instance, a person who experienced healthy attachment has a positive self-concept. This theory also involves mental representations. For example, an infant may think “Mother is good because she satisfies my needs”, “I am good because my mother feeds me when I am hungry”, “Hence, I love my mom”. This theory was based on Freud’s psychoanalytic theory and its development is credited to several theorists such as Melanie Klein, Margaret Mahler, Heinz Kohut, and John Bowlby.

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