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Object Relations Case Conceptualization Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Dec 29th, 2019


Even though Tammy had a happy childhood, she was depressed due to her parent’s poor relationship or lack of frequent dialogue and this might have resulted into suicide attempts or divorce.

Moreover, Tammy was poor in maintaining love relationships and commitments and these could be attributed to her poor upbringing, because both the father and mother had little dialogue, but more tense relationship.

The tense relationship came as a result of Tammy’s fathers drinking behavior. In the end, it was witnessed that Tammy was depressed and attempted suicide, because of bitter argument/exchange with her son.

Presenting concerns

Tammy presented herself as despaired and depressed due to recent argument with her son. She displays the characteristics of despair, anger, thoughts of hopelessness/failure, and feeling of restlessness. To this end, she even attempted to commit suicide several times.

Apart from bitter exchange with her son, she also reported a feeling of extreme anger towards the divorced husband who showed little interest in her. She complained that the husband was not sexually attracted to her and this was the main reason behind the couple’s divorce.

It is even more depressing to realize that Tammy had several failed relationships, especially after her divorce. Indeed, such failed relationships put Tammy in a state of constant depression, lack of interest and anger.

In this regard, Tammy’s bitter exchange with the son was not only due to the argument alone, but also as a result of several compounding factors such as her parent’s poor relationship, divorce and failed intimate unions.

Tammy’s father had a bad temper, and this prompted the family member to avoid him, especially when he was drunk. Tammy’s marriage was not a happy one, because she had a mutual and satisfying sexual relationship only once at the age of 16.

Tammy also reported that both her father’s uncle and aunt died at the age of 50 due to liver disease, which came as a result of excessive alcohol consumption. This implies that the main cause of Tammy’s depressed and suicidal behavior can be traced back to her father’s alcoholic habit.

It is evident that, after Tammy’s divorce, she found it hard to move on since she could hardly maintain permanent relationships/commitment.

This situation is more depressing, because Tammy has undergone several failed relationships. Tammy considered that the divorce was due to lack of the husband’s interest in her.

Athough Tammy is 44 years old, retired and master’s level computer programmer, she considers herself to be an underachiever/unsuccessful. She has grown up knowing that nobody recognizes her worth and contribution.

This statement can be supported by the fact that Tammy believes that she may do nothing good to please someone. This led to stressful situation, which could be harmful to her health. Stress causes several diseases, which include coronary heart diseases (CHD).

Even though her father’s drinking habit affected the affectionate relationship, Tammy stayed with both the parents.

It was not reported anywhere that Tammy’s father or mother abandoned the family, but the couple had little interaction. Little communication was realized, especially after the father’s heavy consumption of alcohol that lasted up to 5 o’clock every night.

Case Conceptualization

It was evident that as Tammy was growing up, she never had the chance to form sufficient attachment bonds with her father who used to drink late into the night.

This implies that Tammy also lacked adult people and other relatives who could help in forming significant relationships since it had been reported that her father’s uncle and aunt were alcoholics who later succumbed to liver disease, because of excessive alcohol drinking.

This implies that “this deprivation of a significant nurturing relationship, as a child Tammy must have felt great depression and she probably experienced great anger both towards herself and towards others” (Arbona, 2012).

This argument came out stronger, especially during Tammy’s marriage when she felt that her husband was not sexually attracted to her. The situation made her believe that there was nothing good she could do to please anyone.

As a result of depression and anxiety, Tammy attempted to commit several suicides. Tammy might have concluded that she was not loved by her divorced husband.

The reason for this was that she did not meet his sexual satisfaction. The same argument applied to other relationships, which she could hardly maintain.

Even at the work place, Tammy retired an unhappy computer programmer expert at the age of 44, and since she believed that there was nothing good she could offer, and this made her develop a low sense of herself.

In this regard, Tammy had to develop some avoidance mechanisms such as suicide attempts to escape from reality by disconnecting herself from her own personal emotions. This strategy would help Tammy to suppress her depression, pain and anxiety (Murdock, 2009).

However, it is important to realize that such emotional disconnects portrayed by Tammy were detrimental to her, because she could hardly find reliable comfort, empathy and sympathy from intimate relationships (Jones & Butman, 2011).

Early experiences might have made Tammy believe that, as married individuals, self-interest and satisfaction take the center stage, because her father spent a lot of time at night drinking alcohol, but paying little attention to the wife’s feelings and the need to communicate.

The same problem repeated itself in Tammy’s marriage, especially when the husband failed to show sexual attraction towards her. This escalated Tammy’s level of depression, and finally she opted for divorce.

Even after the divorce, Tammy is more depressed, because no one seems to be either taking notice of her or even appreciating her for every work successful done (Jones & Butman, 2011). The latter argument is what made her believe that there was nothing good she could do to satisfy anyone.

The same experience might have been witnessed in Tammy’ workplace and this prompted her to seek early retirement at the age of 44.

It is evident that Tammy’s son has not been brought up well, because he blames the mother for his personal inadequacies and consequences that befall him.

Such behaviors of relating other people to one’s personal mistakes might have come up during Tammy’s childhood, and this has been adopted by her son who blames her for the reason behind his “screw-up”. This situation angered Tammy and she burst into emotional and tearful conversation.

It could be argued that such anger, emotional outburst and depression might have been developed during Tammy’s childhood days as defense mechanisms for coping with stressful situation (Murdock, 2009).

This is due to the fact that Tammy reported that she was pressured during her childhood days. The reason for this is that Tammy’s father was easily angered, especially after taking several rounds of alcohol.

As a result, Tammy’s father could hardly find time to bond with her and the rest of the family since he spent most of his time drinking till late at night.

Such poor relationships/bonding can translate to recurrent anger and depression in one’s life, and these have been witnessed in Tammy’s situation (Jones & Butman, 2011).


The treatment of Tammy’s depends entirely on a psychodynamic and object relations perspective. For example, the depression condition that she was suffering from necessitated a major therapy to bring her back to normal.

Therefore, Arbona’s assertion that the goal of therapy is to overcome poor health condition could be applied to reduce the affects of Tammy’s medical condition (Arbona, 2012).

In fact, it might help Tammy connect with her emotions, reduce the pain and anger associated with her early negative experiences.

This would be a sure way to achieve emotional healing and gain insight on the way these early experiences are related to the relationship problems she experienced in her life.

In sum, Tammy’s negative “perception of self and her detachment from her own emotions to avoid the pain – defensive behavior makes it difficult for her to develop emotionally satisfying intimate relationships” (Arbona, 2012).

Tammy is probably scared and overwhelmed by the thought of finding another intimate relationship, because of her bad experience on failing intimate relationships. In this regard, she passes the same anger to her son.

It is evident that Tammy may not be responding to others according to their worth of human dignity/perception. However, she responds to them according to her internalized negative objects. Indeed, this is a rather uncaring and unresponsive significant of other human beings.

Such attitude may not propel Tammy as a good mother and to nurture her son well since the latter can grow up to be more depressed with low sense of self, and these at times lead to suicide attempts.


Arbona, C. (2012). Theories of Counseling. Web.

Jones, S., & Butman, R. (2011). Modern Psychotherapies: A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal. New York, NY: IVP Academic Publishers.

Murdock, N. (2009). Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapies. New York, NY: Prentice Hall Publishers.

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"Object Relations Case Conceptualization." IvyPanda, 29 Dec. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/object-relations-case-conceptualization/.

1. IvyPanda. "Object Relations Case Conceptualization." December 29, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/object-relations-case-conceptualization/.


IvyPanda. "Object Relations Case Conceptualization." December 29, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/object-relations-case-conceptualization/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Object Relations Case Conceptualization." December 29, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/object-relations-case-conceptualization/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Object Relations Case Conceptualization'. 29 December.

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