Relational Psychoanalysis

Relational psychoanalysis is a distinct approach among contemporary psychoanalytical schools, encompassing a diverse range of multiple perspectives based on a common set of core concepts and clinical strategies. This entry reviews the history and theoretical underpinnings of relational psychoanalysis and explains the therapeutic process.


As ego psychology’s prominence declined in the 1970s and 1980s, and the British object relations and self-psychology theories gained prominence in American psychological circles, relational psychoanalysis emerged in the United States. Jay Greenberg and Stephen Mitchell used the term relational in their seminal book Object Relations in Psychoanalytic Theory in 1983. The term relational emphasized the exploration of observable, external interpersonal relations and British object relational theory, with its focus on the importance of internalized object relations and the phenomenological map ...

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