Every now and then in my stats I see that someone showed up here using an interesting search term looking for something that isn’t answered directly in my blog.
Today “cbt equivalent of object relations” popped up.
I like this question, because I think the idea that CBT is not the opposite of Psychodynamic therapy is important. Often with differing theories people are using different words for similar concepts
I think first what’s important to establish is what is meant by object relations. Object relations theory as a whole gets into a lot of things. But I am guessing this person was interested in object relations as in the idea that early ways of relating to people are repeated in future relationships.
My knowledge of cognitive behavioral ideas are more limited so excuse any over simplification.
One way of looking at this with CBT is the idea of schema (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schema_(psychology) ) both involve a mental set defined early in life.
Or also possibly you could say that a person’s interactions with their caregivers can lead to stimulus generalization (http://psychology.about.com/od/sindex/g/stimgen.htm) where they interpret others as reacting like their parents even if they are not.
Even if there may be some overlap, CBT has nothing on Object Relations Theory when it comes to evocative imagery.
And on that note, I will leave you with two Harry Guntrip Quotes:
“A patient who fantasized standing with a vacuum cleaner (herself, empty and hungry), and everyone who came near she sucked into it. At a more normal and ordinary conscious level this is expressed by a patient thus: ‘I’m afraid I couldn’t make moderate demands on people so I don’t make any demands at all.”
“love made hungry is the schizoid problem and it rouses the terrible fear that one’s love has become so devouring and incorporative that love itself has become destructive”
I relate strongly to the second quote.
Also if you are interested in things that make different types of therapies similar you might be interested in reading about Common Factors.
I was trained as a psychoanalyst in the object relations school, with more of an emphasis on Melanie Klein and Wilfred Bion. Anyway, I enjoyed your post — I’d forgotten that Guntrip bit. I’m not sure I’d call it “love”, though. Maybe a kind of desperate incorporation of an object when the self is felt to be in pieces. Or an intolerance of need so that you just absorb the object entirely: then you don’t have to need anyone because he/she is inside and a part of you. Thanks.