Ellen Foster Object Relations

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Provide a brief description of the individual.
Ellen Foster is a ten-year-old, Caucasian, female who experiences a series of traumatic events during her childhood. These traumatic events include her witnessing domestic violence in the home, her mother’s suicide and subsequent physical, sexual and psychological abuse by her alcoholic father, her maternal grandmother and other relatives (aunts and cousins on the mother’s side). Ellen shuttled from home to home, staying for a short time at the home of her teacher, then to different relatives’ homes, to finally a foster home where she eventually resides. Ellen’s “new mama”, as she refers to her, is a much better role model then she has ever experienced before. New Mama is supportive and nurturing towards Ellen. Ellen reports that government and church funding support the foster family. She has no siblings. Ellen is intelligent and enjoys doing art. She often rides a pony at her new foster home. Ellen misses her mother, and longed for a caregiver before she had new mama. This is evident when she reports eaves dropping on a “colored” family and “started making a list of all that a family should have. Of course, there is the mama and the daddy but if one has to be missing then it is OK if the one left can count for two. But not just anybody can count or more than his or herself (p. 67)”. She often sought help from her Aunt Betsey and neighbors. Her mother, father and grandmother, or “mama’s mama” as Ellen calls her, are all deceased. The grandmother was old and abusive towards Ellen forcing her to work the fields with the “colored” field hands on her farms in the middle of a sweltering hot summer until school started. Ellen eventually becomes the caregiver and housemaid to mama’s mama after the grandmother fires all of her household servants. Despite Ellen’s care and good works for her, the grandmother despises her because she is convinced that Ellen was in “cahoots” with her father in abusing her daughter, taking her revenge out on Ellen since the father is dead. Ellen has a best friend, an African American girl named Starletta, Since Ellen likes Starletta, and she struggles with her own burgeoning racism. She has beliefs about African Americans that are mainly negative. Ellen eventually realizes that race makes no difference in the quality of the person. Ellen enjoys art and playing with her microscope often fantasying about being a scientist on the brink of a new discovery that will change mankind. She sees a counselor at school on Wednesdays. Ellen does not enjoy doing therapy and has negative transference towards her counselor. Presently she is seeing me for therapy. She can be aggressive, defensive and competitive at times at school. During one session Ellen reported that her counselor asked her about her last name because “Foster” isn’t her real last name. She did not want to discuss it any further. Perhaps she chose the last name “Foster” from her label as a foster child.

Object Relations
As stated by Lesser and Pope (2011) according to object relations theory, “human development takes place within the context of relationships (p. 69)”. British object relation theorists, Melanie Klein, Ronald Fairbairn, and Harry Guntrip introduce definite and functional ideas about what internal object world, or the inner world, consists of. The inner world includes representations of self and other, representations structured by thoughts, recollections, and occurrences within the external world. A representation has a lasting continuance in the inner world and although it begins as a cognitive structure, it eventually takes on a profound emotional meaning for the person (Berzoff, Melano-Flanagan, & Hertz 1996). The word object is set apart from the subject. The subject is the self and the object is the part outside the self, the object is what the self identifies with, encounters, wants, has uncertainties about, feels denial about, or absorbs. In Freudian drive theory and...
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