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Melanie Klein Object Relations Theory Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by

Object Rleations theory Chapter seven

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.

Psycho­ana­lytic Object Relations

Klein emphasized the loving vs rejecting breast
female direction of freud's psycho­ana­lytic theory
object is the satisfier of the hunger drive
the subjective world of the infant is a chaotic mixture of intern­alized images of people and parts of people. The childs imagin­ation is based on anxiety and anger transf­orming these images into sometimes scary phantasies of good and bad objects


1st object a child perceives is the breast. infant is limited to 2 major categories of experi­ence: pleasure and pain
good object = satisfying and pleasu­rable
bad object = frustr­ating and painful
infants relati­onship to the breast and to the world is an oral, passiv­e-i­nco­rpo­rative orient­ation
In regards to phantasy; the infant believes the breast and self are one in the same
part object = infant attaches to part of mom
infantile sadism = active aggressive urges towards low objects
whole object = part becomes whole, good vs bad mother

Oedipus Complex

Freud - occurs during the phallic stage; male rivalry with father
Klein - oral stage frustr­ation, pre - genital infantile sadism
Boys: womb envy(want to possess and injure female organs). boy sees mother as an amalgam of mom & dad, mother has the penis therefore a castrator, clash of oral, anal and genital impulses in the boy. anal frustr­ation drives the boy to over-i­dentify with the penis, hence, identify with dad.
3 pronged dilemma (desire for mother, hatred of her; castrator, father will take revenge)
Girls: classical electra complex. fear of being destroyed by mother, by default identifies with mother.

Parano­id-­Sch­izoid Position

central anxiety - ones ego is at risk for attack
good parts of self, attacked by bad
paranoiac position - vigilant and fearfully alert

Borderline person­ality disorder & OR

BPD: patterns of unstable moods and relati­ons­hips. impuls­ivity, fear of abando­nment, couple with very poor self-i­mage. linehan: self-m­uti­lation and suicidal gestures are common, most common PD in psychi­atric settings, comorb­idity is high
emotional instab­ility: neurot­icism in extreme form, dont have the tools to regulate their emotions.
border between neurotic and psychotic functi­oning. Border between emotional extremes, poor interp­ersonal borders
1-3% and 75% are women
Linehan "­und­ers­tanding BPD": CBT is about changing the way you think. radical acceptance (accept yourself no matter how you are, hope for change)
Causes: genetics, early trauma and abuse
LInehan view: biological predis­pos­ition, emotional dysreg­ula­tion, invali­dating experi­ences (kinship with PTSD?)
dialects : thesis > antithesis > synthesis (learn how to identify and regulate emotions, problem solving techni­ques, dont seek validation from others, overcome traumatic experi­ences)
Klein and Winnicott: BP organi­zation, weakened form of person­ality organi­zation, chaotic contra­dictory defences
Borderline Person­ality Disorg­ani­zat­ion­:ex­pre­ssion of ID contents, no insight on person­ality, lack of awareness, lack of identity

Super ego

girls overcome the cruel sadistic superego and identify with nurturing qualities - boys do this as well but identify with the father more strongly

Splitting + Ego & ID

the separation of good and bad objects in the child's phantasy
defence against the death instinct, fear of death
earliest defences against 'bad' objects
splitting the ego: split off the good parts of the ego, idealized parts of the ego. part of develo­pment of the super-ego
splitting the ID: bad images need to be separated off into the uncons­cious mind, similar to primal repression


emphasis on aggression
good at establ­ishing rapport with her clients - warm, empathetic
over-p­ath­olo­gizing infant thinking


Uncons­cious world of unreal "­rea­l" (creates the world of imagin­ation)
beginnings of repres­ent­ations of external reality
interp­ret­ation: treated verbal­iza­tions during play as the same adult free associ­ations. provided toys in therapy room & observed how child would play.


Love of knowledge instinct - curiosity about oral & anal impulses
a femininity phase both genders experience where they identify with the mother

Case Study Richard

10 yo patient •unable to relate to other children • aggressive • refused school • mother ambivalent • father detached, uninvolved • interp­ersonal diffic­ulties • confused thinking • very high anxiety about the war paranoid thinking, poisoned, spied upon
1st & last: difference in how he deals with anxiety, from worried to vulnerable to calmer
sessions 15 &16: dynamics of family life, feelings toward mom and dad, ongoing was is a metaphor for his own turmoil
sessions 17,23, 24: transf­orm­ation to empire drawing depicting entire countries. more harmony in his repres­ent­ations
session 65 & 83: oedipal rivalry with dad, confli­cting feelings about klein

Envy & functional neuroa­natomy of envy

angry feeling that another person possess and enjoys something desirable
jealousy = love relati­onship, greed = insatiable desire
ideali­zation: protect the self from envy of the good object
confusion: cant discri­minate between good/bad
flight from mom to other: learn to avoid admired people
devalu­ation of the object: inherent envy
high envy: left supple­mentary motor area, left anterior insula and left inferior frontal gyrus
insula - activated by disgust
brocas area