What is Object Relations Theory in Psychoanalysis?

Another psychoanalytic theory is the object relations’ theory. The primary object is the mother, the first person you come in contact with and you are aware of. It is really your relationship with your mother that creates who you are. The father comes into the picture later as the giver of the law.

Object relations says the mom is of prime importance. Mothers get unhappy when they hear this because they get the blame for things that go wrong. Conversely, mothers should get credit for the things that go right. Winnicott was a pediatrician turned psychoanalyst and he came up with the term called the “good enough mother.” There is no perfect parent, there is no guidebook to get it right. Every child is different, every relationship is different, and we all mistakes. A good enough mother means you do as good as you can. In fact, the idea that you make mistakes is helpful for the child. Like the immune system, when you come across germs, it builds better immunity.

Parents make mistakes and you learn from them. It is my belief, my hope actually, that every parent does as good a job as they can, and that the next generation learns from their parent’s mistakes. They do a better job, their kids learn from their mistakes and they do a better job. Hopefully, as time goes on, the human race becomes healthier. ~ Rafael Sharón, NCPsyA, SCPsyA, Psychoanalyst in Princeton NJ