The Application of Object Relations Theory to Domestic Violence

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This article suggests that the addition of object relations theory to the two dominant theories of feminist theory and family systems theory can contribute to the understanding of domestic violence. Feminist theory largely contributes to the understanding of the macro issues while family systems theory is descriptive at the mezzo level of interpersonal processes and dynamics. Object relations theory can make a unique contribution at the micro level with an understanding of intrapsychic processes which influence adult interpersonal behavior. This article examines some of the main concepts of object relations theory as applied to the issue of domestic violence. A case discussion is offered to illuminate the application of object relations theory to domestic violence.


This article was originally published as Zosky, D. (1999). The Application of object relations theory to domestic violence. Clinical Social Work Journal, 27, 55-69.