From Instinct to Self: Selected Papers of W.R.D. Fairbairn

From Instinct to Self: Selected Papers of W.R.D. Fairbairn

by David E., M.D. Scharff M.D., W. R D Fairbairn
     
 

Ronald Fairbairn's theory of object relations, first published in the 1940's, revolutionized psychoanalysis. Countering Freud's view that the developmental drive emerged almost solely from within an individual, Fairbairn argued that each person's fundamental need for relationships organizes development and its vicissitudes. In the ensuing years, frequently without

Overview

Ronald Fairbairn's theory of object relations, first published in the 1940's, revolutionized psychoanalysis. Countering Freud's view that the developmental drive emerged almost solely from within an individual, Fairbairn argued that each person's fundamental need for relationships organizes development and its vicissitudes. In the ensuing years, frequently without attribution to Fairbairn, object relations theory became central to psychoanalytic thinking, and a source for modern infant research, relational theory, the study of dissociation and multiple personality, psychoanalytic family therapy, and the techniques of psychoanalytic therapy. Fairbairn's theory drew on his own wide-ranging experience, unusual for his time, which included degrees both in philosophy and medicine at Edinburgh University, where he later taught philosophy and medical psychology from 1927-1935. His thorough reading of Freud and his clinical experience with abused children, sexual offenders, and war neuroses as well as neurotic adults, provided the basis for reorienting psychoanalysis to the study of relationships. At the center of Fairbairn's theory is the concept of dynamic internal relations between the self and its objects that give meaning to experience. Fairbairn thought that infants deal with frustration, rejection, and trauma through introjection and splitting of the object. The resulting matrix of dynamic internal relationships, part of every human being's make-up, profoundly influences behavior and interpersonal interactions in the outer world. Volume I of this two-volume set contains Fairbairn's previously uncollected major papers, which are characterized by flexibility and depth in the application of object relations theory to the clinical situation. The papers on theory and scientific methodology show rigorous logic in the exploration of the scientific underpinnings of psychoanalysis and of the issues posed by the substitution of an object relations view for Freud's classical theory. Volume II consists of early un

Editorial Reviews

Psychoanalytic Books: A Quarterly Journal Of Reviews
Despite the prominence of object relations theory in current psychoanalytic writing and practice, the seminal work of Ronald Fairbairn in this area has, until recently, received little acknowledgment. By collecting in these two volumes some of his hitherto scattered papers, his daughter, Ellinor Fairbairn Birtles, and her coeditor, David Scharff, have taken an important step toward according Fairbairn the recognition he richly deserves.
The papers selected by Birtles and Scharff skillfully trace Fairbairn's journey from his early explication and questioning of Freud's instinct theory to his later original exposition of the centrality of object relations in psychic life. These two volumes will do much to acquaint readers with his brilliant and original contributions to contemporary psychoanalytic theory and clinical practice.
Stephen A. Mitchell
These extraordinary two volumes of material by and about Fairbairn are a virtual treasure trove for anyone at all interested in the history of psychoanalytic ideas. Psychoanalysis has changed radically and pervasively over the past several decades, in theory and in clinical practice, and Fairbairn's ideas both anticipated and helped bring about much of that change. For various reasons, the enormity of Fairbairn's contribution has been only belatedly and insufficiently recognized, and these volumes will go a long way to help rectify that problem. . . . The material is well set into an illuminating historical and conceptual context by the editors, with a rich knowledge of both Fairbairn and British psychoanalysis
James Grotstein
W. R. D. Fairbairn is now emerging at last from an undeserved obscurity into the limelight of current object-relations theory. One of the true founders of object relations intersubjectivity, his pioneering ideas, prescient in his lifetime, are now enjoying a late and well deserved full blooming.
Until now, Fairbairn was known almost exclusively for his metapsychological contributions in the Psychoanalytic Studies of the Personality, published in 1952. With this present two-volume collection, we are treated to the most significant aspects of his other works, which range across a number of subjects, especially child abuse, infant development, and other ideas that are topical today. This is a monumental task of editing, one that has been undertaken by two eminent Fairbairn scholars, his daughter, Ellinor Fairbairn Birtles, and David Scharff. The personal background material and critique they proffer on this extended works constitutes a significant contribution to Fairbairn's studies.
Glen O. Gabbard
Jill and David Scharff have been instrumental in bringing Fairbairn's ideas out of obscurity and into the mainstream of object relations thinking in this country.
Psychoanalytic Books: A Quarterly Journal Of Reviews
Despite the prominence of object relations theory in current psychoanalytic writing and practice, the seminal work of Ronald Fairbairn in this area has, until recently, received little acknowledgment. By collecting in these two volumes some of his hitherto scattered papers, his daughter, Ellinor Fairbairn Birtles, and her coeditor, David Scharff, have taken an important step toward according Fairbairn the recognition he richly deserves.
The papers selected by Birtles and Scharff skillfully trace Fairbairn's journey from his early explication and questioning of Freud's instinct theory to his later original exposition of the centrality of object relations in psychic life. These two volumes will do much to acquaint readers with his brilliant and original contributions to contemporary psychoanalytic theory and clinical practice.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781568213668
Publisher:
Aronson, Jason Inc.
Publication date:
01/28/1995
Series:
Library of Object Relations Series
Edition description:
Two Vol. Set
Pages:
720
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

What People are saying about this

James Grotstein
W. R. D. Fairbairn is now emerging at last from an undeserved obscurity into the limelight of current object-relations theory. One of the true founders of object relations intersubjectivity, his pioneering ideas, prescient in his lifetime, are now enjoying a late and well deserved full blooming.
Until now, Fairbairn was known almost exclusively for his metapsychological contributions in the Psychoanalytic Studies of the Personality, published in 1952. With this present two-volume collection, we are treated to the most significant aspects of his other works, which range across a number of subjects, especially child abuse, infant development, and other ideas that are topical today. This is a monumental task of editing, one that has been undertaken by two eminent Fairbairn scholars, his daughter, Ellinor Fairbairn Birtles, and David Scharff. The personal background material and critique they proffer on this extended works constitutes a significant contribution to Fairbairn's studies.
Glen O. Gabbard
Jill and David Scharff have been instrumental in bringing Fairbairn's ideas out of obscurity and into the mainstream of object relations thinking in this country.

Meet the Author

David E. Scharff, M.D., is Co-Director of the International Institute of Object Relations Therapy. He is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University and at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, a Teaching Analyst at the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute, and former Director of the Washington School of Psychiatry. He is author and co-author of seven books and many articles, and maintains a private practice in adult, child, psychoanalysis, couple, and family therapy. Ellinor Fairbairn Birtles, the daughter of W. R. D.Fairbairn, was born and raised in Edinburgh. She was a medical student at Edinburgh University from 1945-47 and holds a BA in the History of Ideas from Kingston Polytechnic (now Kingston University). Her current doctoral research project in philosophy at Kingston University is entitled "The Origins of Fairbairn's Theory of Object Relations". This volume covers Fairbairn's clinical and theoretical papers published after those collected in Psychoanalytic Studies of the Personality. Volume II contains his early unpublished papers and lectures prior to Psychoanalytic Studies, as well as his papers published in the 1930s on applied psychoanalysis.

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