Object Relations Theories and Psychopathology: A Comprehensive Text

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9780881631555: Object Relations Theories and Psychopathology: A Comprehensive Text
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In Object Relations Theories and Psychopathology: A Comprehensive Text, Frank Summers provides thorough, lucid, and critically informed accounts of the work of major object relations theorists: Fairbairn, Guntrip, Klein, Winnicott, Kernberg, and Kohut.  His expositions achieve distinction on two counts.  First, the work of each object relations theorist is presented as a comprehensive whole, with separate sections expounding the theorist's ideas and assumptions about metapsychology, development, psychopathology, and treatment, with a critical evaluation of the strengths and limitations of the theory in question.  Second, the emphasis in each chapter is on issues of clinical understanding and technique.  Making extensive use of case material provided by each of the theorists, he shows how each object relations theory yields specific clinical approaches to a variety of syndromes, and how these approaches entail specific modifications in clinical technique.

Beyond his detailed attention to the theoretical and technical differences among object relations theories, Summers' penultimate chapter discusses the similarities and differences of object relations and interpersonal theories.  And his concluding chapter outlines a pragmatic object relations approach to development, psychopathology, and technique that combines elements of all object relations theories without opting for any single theory.

Object Relations Theories and Psychopathology is that rare event in psychoanalytic publishing: a substantial, readable text that surveys a broad expanse of theoretical and clinical landscape with erudition, sympathy, and critical perspective.  It will be essential reading for all analysts, psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers who wish to familiarize themselves with object relations theories in general, sharpen their understanding of the work of specific object relations theorists, or enhance their ability to employ these theories in their clinical work.

 

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Object relations theories, both British and American, have achieved increasing prominence in recent years as the limitations of the classical psychoanalytic model have become more apparent. Despite the plethora of books written from an object relations perspective, there has to date been no textbook describing and comparing the various theories with a focus on their clinical applications. Object Relations Theories and Psychopathology: A Comprehensive Text brilliantly fills this gap in the literature. Frank Summers provides thorough, lucid, and critically informed accounts of the work of each of the major object relations theorists: Fairbairn, Guntrip, Melanie Klein, Winnicott, Kernberg, and Kohut. His expositions achieve distinction on two counts. First, the work of each object relations theorist is presented as a comprehensive whole, with separate sections of each chapter expounding the theorist's ideas and assumptions about metapsychology, development, psychopathology, and treatment. Summers concludes each account with a critical evaluation of the strengths and limitations of the theory in question. Second, the emphasis in each chapter is on issues of clinical understanding and technique. Making extensive use of case material provided by each of the theorists, he shows how each object relations theory yields specific clinical approaches to a variety of syndromes, and how these approaches, in turn, entail specific modifications in clinical technique. Beyond his detailed attention to the theoretical and technical differences among object relations theories, Summers offers two concluding chapters that highlight the broad commonalities that link all object relations theories and set themapart from other contemporary approaches. His penultimate chapter discusses the similarities and differences of object relations and interpersonal theories. And his concluding chapter outlines a pragmatic object relations approach to development, psychopathology, and technique that combines elements of all object relations theories without opting for any single theory. Object Relations Theories and Psychopathology is that rare event in psychoanalytic publishing: a substantive, readable text that surveys a broad expanse of the theoretical and clinical landscape with erudition, sympathy, and critical perspective. It will be essential reading for all analysts, psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers who wish to familiarize themselves with object relations theories in general, sharpen their understanding of the work of specific object relations theorists, or enhance their ability to employ these theories in their clinical work.

About the Author:

Frank Summers, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst, is a training and supervising analyst at the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis and an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University Medical School.  A member of the faculties of the Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis, the Minnesota Psychoanalytic Institute, and the Wisconsin Psychoanalytic Institute, Dr. Summers maintains a private practice of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic therapy in Chicago, IL.

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