Pioneers in Object Relations Clinical Thinking:
W. Ronald D. Fairbairn (1889 –1964)

On August 11th, we celebrate birthday of Ronald Fairbairn, who is considered to be a father of the
Object Relations theory and approach in psychoanalysis. Despite the fact that R. Fairbairn spent his
entire psychoanalytic professional career in Edinburgh, he became a full member of the British
Psychoanalytical Society, because of his theoretical ideas and associations. Here are some of his quotes:

“...the aim of psychoanalytic treatment is to effect breaches of the closest system which constitutes the
 patient’s inner world, and thus to make this world accessible to the influence of outer reality.”

“…both structure divorced from energy and energy divorced from structure are meaningless concepts.”

“...(impulses) cannot be considered apart from the endopsychic structures which they energize and the object
 relationships which they enable these structures to establish; and, equally, "instincts" cannot profitably be
 considered as anything more than forms of energy which constitute the dynamic of such endopsychic structures ...”

“Explicit pleasure-seeking has as its essential aim the relieving of the tension of libidinal need for the mere sake
 of relieving this tension. Such a process does, of course, occur commonly enough; but, since libidinal need is
 object need, simple tension-relieving implies some failure of object-relationships”





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