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Table of Contents
                            Book Cover
Title
Copyright
PREFACE BY ERNEST JONES
Contents
INTRODUCTION
SCHIZOID FACTORS IN THE PERSONALITY (1940)
A REVISED PSYCHOPATHOLOGY OF THE PSYCHOSES AND PSYCHONEUROSES
THE REPRESSION AND THE RETURN OF BAD OBJECTS
ENDOPSYCHIC STRUCTURE CONSIDERED IN TERMS OF OBJECT-RELATIONSHIPS
OBJECT-RELATIONSHIPS AND DYNAMIC STRUCTURE
STEPS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN OBJECT-RELATIONS THEORY OF PERSONALITY
A SYNOPSIS OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE AUTHOR’S VIEWS REGARDING THE STRUCTURE OF THE PRSONALITY
NOTES ON THE RELIGIOUS PHANTASIES OF A FEMALE PATIENT
FEATURES IN THE ANALYSIS OF A PATIENT WITH A PHYSICAL GENITAL ABNORMALITY
THE EFFECT OF A KING’S DEATH UPON PATIENTS UNDERGOING ANALYSIS
THE SOCIOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF COMMUNISM CONSIDERED IN THE LIGHT OF PSYCHOLOGISTS
PSYCHOLOGY AS A PRESCRIBED AND AS A PROSCRIBED SUBJECT
THE WAR NEUROSES—THEIR NATURE AND SIGNIFICANCE
THE TREATMENT AND REHABILITATION OF SEXUAL OFFENDERS
LIST OF WORKS
INDEX
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 2

Psychoanalytic Studies
of the Personality

Since publication of this volume in 1952, W. R. D. Fairbairn’s focus on object

relations has re-oriented psychoanalysis by placing the child’s need for

relationships at the centre of development. His object relations theory elaborated

a model of psychic structure built upon the internalization and modification of

experience with parents and other people of central importance to the child, and

showed how the self or ego handles the dissatisfactions inevitable in all

relationships through internalization of the object, followed by ego splitting

and repression of painful internal object relations.

Fairbairn’s work has been the starting point for Bowlby’s work on attachment,

Guntrip and Sutherland’s writing on the self, Dicks’ contribution to understanding

marriage, Kernberg’s treatment of severe personality disorders, and Mitchell’s

relational theory. Fairbairn’s ideas have become central to psychoanalysis; they

often pass for truisms, making it hard to remember a time when the individual’s

need for relationships was not seen as the central focus of development and of

therapy.

This classic collection of papers, available for the first time in paperback,

has a new introduction by David E. Scharff and Ellinor Fairbairn Birtles which

traces the origins of Fairbairn’s thought and outlines its modern relevance,

setting Fairbairn’s work in a context in which it can be newly appreciated.

David E. Scharff, MD is the Director of the Center for the Study of Object

Relations, Washington, D.C. and former Director of the Washington School of

Psychiatry. He is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Uniformed Services

University of the Health Sciences and at Georgetown University Medical School

and a Teaching Analyst in the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute. Ellinor

Fairbairn Birtles, the daughter of the late W. R. D. Fairbairn, is Director of

SITA Technology Ltd.

Page 168

145

Object-Relationships and Dynamic Structure

is only oral because it is incorporative and the organ of incorporation is the
mouth. The outstanding feature of the child’s personal relationship to his
mother is, however, one of extreme dependence; and this dependence is
reflected in a psychological process of primary identification 1 , in the light of
which separation from his object becomes the child’s greatest source of anxiety
(as in my experience of war psychiatry it proved to be the greatest source of
anxiety to the neurotic soldier). In the light of these various considerations, it
seems most appropriate to describe the first stage as one of Infantile
Dependence, without prejudice to the fact that this dependence is chiefly
manifested in an attitude of oral incorporation towards, and an attitude of
primary emotional identification with the object. By contrast, the final stage
appears best described as a stage of Mature Dependence— ‘mature
dependence’ rather than ‘independence’, since a capacity for relationships
necessarily implies dependence of some sort. What distinguishes mature
dependence from infantile dependence is that it is characterized neither by a
one-sided attitude of incorporation nor by an attitude of primary emotional
identification. On the contrary, it is characterized by a capacity on the part of
a differentiated individual for co-operative relationships with differentiated
objects. So far as the appropriate biological object is concerned, the
relationship, is, of course, genital; but it is a relationship involving evenly
matched giving and taking between two differentiated individuals who are
mutually dependent, and between whom there is no disparity of dependence.
Further, the relationship is characterized by an absence of primary identification
and an absence of incorporation. At least, this is the ideal picture; but it is, of
course, never completely realized in practice, since there is no one whose
libidinal development proceeds wholly without a hitch. The intermediate stage
has already been described as Transitional; and it appears best so named,
since it is a stage of vicissitudes arising out of the difficulties and conflicts of
transition. As might be expected, therefore, it is not only characteristically the

1 I employ the term ‘primary identification’ here to signify the cathexis of an object
which has not yet been differentiated (or has been only partly differentiated) from
himself by the cathecting subject. This process differs, of course, from the process
ordinarily described as ‘identification’, viz. an emotionally determined tendency to treat
a differentiated (or partly differentiated) object as if it were not differentiated, when it is

cathected. The latter process should properly be described as ‘secondary identification’.

Page 169

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An Object-Relations Theory of the Personality

stage of conflict, but also characteristically the stage of defensive techniques.
Among these techniques, four classic techniques stand out conspicuously
from the rest—the paranoid, the obsessional, the hysterical and the phobic.
As I see it, however, these four techniques do not correspond to any
recognizable libidinal phases, but are four alternative methods for attempting
to deal with the difficulties of the transitional stage. At this point it is necessary
for us to remind ourselves of the importance of the part played by an
incorporative attitude at the stage from which transition is being attempted.
This incorporative attitude manifests itself, not only in the ingestion of milk,
but also in the psychological internalization of objects, i.e. the psychological
incorporation of representations of objects into the psychical structure. The
result is that the great task of the transitional period comes to be one, not only
of establishing relationships with differentiated external objects, but also of
coming to terms with objects which have already been internalized. The
situation is complicated by the fact that the task of the transitional stage also
includes the renunciation of relationships established during the first stage.
It is further complicated by the previous establishment of ambivalence and
the splitting of the object into a good and a bad object. Consequently, attempts
to get rid of objects become a marked feature of the transitional stage; and
this applies not only to external, but also to internal objects. And it is for this
reason, and not on account of the emergence of any inherently anal stage,
that techniques based upon the expulsive, excretory processes come to be
employed so freely, especially during the earlier phase of the transitional
stage, when the attempt to get rid of early objects naturally plays a more
prominent role than in the later phase. What must be emphasized, however, is
that the various techniques which form the basis of psychopathological
developments during the transitional stage represent varying and alternative
methods of dealing with internalized objects—really methods of trying to get
rid of early objects, which have been internalized, without losing them.

It is impossible on the present occasion to discuss the characteristic
features of the various transitional techniques; and I must therefore content
myself with the bald statement that it is in their varying modes of dealing with
internal objects that their essential differences lie. Nor is it possible to discuss
at any length the processes which form the basis of psychopathological
developments during the stage of infantile dependence. It must suffice if I
draw attention to the supreme importance I attach to the earliest developments

Page 335

312

Index

table of transitional, 46
transitional, 39, 52, 55, 56, 133, 136,

146, 163, 177, 179
The Ballad of Reading Gaol, 25
Thumb-sucking, 33
Topographical distribution, principle

of, 119, 174
Totalitarianism, 80, 252, 284–5
Totemism, 236
Transference, 87

capacity of schizoid individuals for,
3

neurosis, 69–70, 75, 165
process of, 76, 166, 277
situation, 69–70, 74, 75, 79, 87,

Transition or Quasi-independence, stage
of, see Stage of transition

Transitional techniques, see Technique
(s), transitional

Trauma of birth, 275–6
Traumatic—

experiences, 63, 76, 257–9, 275–6
experiences and their specificity,

257–9
memories, 63, 78
neurosis, 78, 257
situations, 76–7, 78, 166

Treatment—
rehabilitation contrasted with, 289,

292, 294–6
Tribe, the, 237, 239, 243
Troubadours, 26
Types, psychological, see Psychological

types

Unconditional goodness and badness,
66, 93, 165

Unconscious—
exhibitionism, 211
guilt, 204, 210, 213, 215, 220
mind, 250
motivation, 240

overvaluation of clitoris, 208, 220
phantasy, 205
situations, 76

Unconscious, the, 52, 65, 68, 69–70, 73–
5, 188, 201, 204, 205, 207, 213, 219,
248

United Nations Organization, 243
University, functions of a, 253–5
Urinary sadism, 226
Urination—

as creation, 14, 36
as elimination, 14
as giving, 36
as symbolic rejection, 36, 138
frequency of, 225–6

Vagina—
absence of, 197, 207
hysterical dissociation of, 95

Visions, 184–5, 194–5
Vomiting as rejection, 138

War neuroses, 256–88, 290
capacity for object-relationships and,

279, 290
compulsion to return home in, 42, 266,

271–5, 277–8, 285
deficiency of guilt in, 285–7
infantile dependence and, 79–80, 166,

260–1, 264–5, 267–8, 275–8, 281
malingering and, 282
morale and, 81, 167, 279, 281–7, 290,

295
psychotherapy and, 81, 287, 295–6
separation anxiety in, 80, 167, 265–7,

275–8, 280–1, 285
traumatic experiences and, 76–7, 78,

166, 257–9
Wilde, O., 25
Wordsworth, W., 25

Zones, erotogenic, see Erotogenic zones

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