OPEN IN READ APP
JOURNAL ARTICLE

The British object relations theorists: Balint, Winnicott, Fairbairn, Guntrip

J D Sutherland
Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association 1980, 28 (4): 829-60
7009698
What I believe to be the essential contribution of this group of analysts may be summarized as follows. The role of object relations has always been a prominent theme in analytic thought and has become much more so in recent years. Instead of grafting the implications of relations onto a theory that started from a different standpoint, what the British group has done is to show that the development of the person has to be conceived as the progressive differentiation of a structure from a unitary matrix that itself interacts at a holistic personal level from the start. While Balint noted clinical data that required this step, he did not put forward a theoretical scheme. Winnicott, who suggested more specifically how the infant's relationships at the earliest stages patterned its whole subsequent personal development, also refrained from following through the theoretical logic of his observations. Fairbairn was the first analyst to expose the questionable logic of a developmental scheme based upon the energic concepts that Freud retained as his theoretical base. Fairbairn's scheme, however, did not account adequately for the earliest developmental stages as these were inferred from the study of regressive states. Guntrip, making full use of Winnicott's views, has sought to make good this limitation. The British group does not presume to have made anything like an adequate conceptual map for the development of the psyche. The theoretical problems are far too complex for that. They have, however, shown a fruitful direction and have influenced many areas of contemporary psychoanalytic thought.

Discussion

You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Available on the App Store

Available on the Play Store
Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read
7009698
×

Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"