chapter  Ten
4 Pages

Thinking through Fairbairn redux

ByGraham S. Clarke

In this chapter, the author continues investigations of the relationship between Fairbairn's theory and his Scottish contemporaries and suggested that Fairbairn's commitment to the view that the child is originally object-seeking, and not pleasure-seeking as Freud suggested, is based in part on the influence of Suttie. He suggests that a full understanding of Fairbairn means recognising the degree to which his object relations theory is built upon an ego-nuclei theory akin to that of Glover. The author develops a model with an expanded preconscious based on Fairbairn's original diagram but incorporating the topographical categories in a consistent way. He thinks that the Fairbairn-influenced model does provide a flexible and comprehensive tool for the analysis of many different phenomena that are of interest to psychoanalysis. The author thinks that the phenomenon of splits occurring in the ego-ideal/ideal ego can account for this phenomenon and represents a creative use of defensive dissociation.