Object Relations Theory: Its Application to Understanding Marital Choice and Couple Therapy-The Contributions of Henry Dicks and David and Jill Scharff
As I’ve worked with couples over the last 30 years, I’ve reviewed many models of treatment, and I’ve found that object relations theory, opposed to other approaches, more completely and more helpfully explains the data we encounter in each couple session. In chapters 3 and 4 we’ll apply object relations theory directly to the five-step model by illustrating how that system deepens our understanding of the triangles of focus and of conflict. In this chapter I’ll present my reading of object relations theory, after studying the work of Henry Dicks and David and Jill Scharff, and then attempt to illustrate its explanatory value to make sense of marital choice, couple conflict, and the interventions necessary to unwind that conflict within a time¬ managed therapy. To understand disruption in a dyad, we require some general theory of attachment, so first let’s examine marital choice.