Standard Article

Object Splitting

  1. Judith P. Siegel

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0615

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Siegel, J. P. 2010. Object Splitting. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1.

Author Information

  1. Silver School of Social Work at New York University

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Intense, over-reactive, extreme—these are a few of the adjectives used by therapists to describe individuals whose reactions are governed by defensive splitting. Splitting is a psychological defense mechanism that affects the way current and past events are experienced or remembered. Under the influence of splitting, the world is evaluated in extremes of “all good” or “all bad.” Life is precarious, as relatively minor events have the power to trigger episodes of intense despair or rage. Splitting creates rapid reversals in well-being and wreaks havoc on interpersonal relationships.