What is Object Relations Therapy?

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Object Relations Therapy focuses on people’s early childhood relationships. The “object” in this theory refers to a person. Object Relations theory states that people are deeply impacted by early relationships, even more so if these relationships are abusive, neglectful, or unhealthy. People’s earliest relationships help them form mental images. These images impact future relationships.

Object Relations Theory states that people often engage in a process called “splitting.” Splitting is when people categorize relationships as being either good or bad. In reality, relationships are generally not entirely good or bad. They have healthy parts, unhealthy parts, and have ways of relating that are in between.

Your therapist will help you to see all aspects of relationships. They will help you understand how your earliest relationships affect your ways of relating in the present. By helping you develop healthier ways of relating within counseling, you can more easily take these ways of relating outside of the counseling space.

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