The Scottish psychoanalyst W.R.D. Fairbairn (1889-1964) appears to anyone reading his works today as a relevant forerunner of some of the major theoretical and clinical trends of the most recent psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. In this article, the author tries first of all to outline the overall metapsychological model of the mind’s functioning presented by Fairbairn in order to illustrate in detail the major theoretical contributions characterizing his original theory of object relations. He then presents some reflections on the change of scientific paradigm that took place in the first thirty years of the 20th century with the passage from atom to quantum physics to which Fairbairn made explicit reference in his theory and is felt quite relevant today in the areas of general psychology, psychopathology and psychotherapy.
Keywords: Fairbairn, metapsychology, object, psychotherapy, relations