What Is The Object-Oriented Question?

One of the other ideas that comes into play in psychoanalysis is the object oriented question. It is the asking the patient a question, contacting the patient, as opposed to the patient asking the therapist a question; one that takes the patient away from their ego. It’s done for a number of reasons: One is to demonstrate to the patient, who may not be talking to the therapist, may not be asking the therapist any questions, how to contact somebody. So you ask them a question.

Sometimes a patient will be overstimulated, will be talking in great detail about something, and you can feel the tension rising in the room. How do you stop that without completely stopping the conversation? You ask the object oriented question, take them away from their ego to something exterior to them. “What was the name of the movie? What’d you have for breakfast?” That’s the classic one that everyone, when you’re training you hear: “What’d you have for breakfast?” So it’s the first question you ask when you’re in training. It takes them away from some of the stresses that are induced in saying everything. It’s used in every session. You ask object oriented questions to help a patient move forward. ~ Rafael Sharón, NCPsyA, SCPsyA, Psychoanalyst in Princeton NJ