chapter  XII
Object-Relations Theory and Psychotherapy
General Considerations
ByHarry Guntrip
Pages 21

The implications for therapy of the extension of theory into the lowest depths of ego-growth, are being explored on a wide front. Fairbairn's 'object-relations theory', which links ego-growth in all its vicissitudes with the human environment of personal relationships, has been carried back to its ultimate beginnings by D. W. Winnicott's work on the mother-infant relationship. The concept of the classical analysis belongs to the pioneer period of partial and incomplete knowledge, but since all moves beyond that have been basically psychoanalytical in principle, there seems no reason to limit the term psychoanalysis to oedipal treatments. The conditions for successful psychoanalytical therapy can be roughly divided into external and internal. Environmental conditions are not so important if one is dealing with a fairly straightforward case of oedipal psychoneurosis. Therapeutic optimism and pessimism have alternated in the history of the psychoanalytic movement, which simply shows that analysts have never been blind to the difficulties.