Sunday, April 19, 2020

Transitional Objects in Psychology

Transitional objects offer psychological comfort. Children commonly use dolls, teddy bears, and favourite toys when going somewhere new or when going to bed. They are viewed as substitutes for the parent-child bond when the parent is not present. British psychiatrist Winnicott introduced the concept in 1951 (see Goddard, 2018).

Treating Teddy

Adults use transitional objects as well. Brenner (2004) has called adult transitional objects "sacred objects." These may include mementos, rings, lockets, and other reminders that a an unseen or deceased loved one is with them.

Religious people may use icons, sacred books, and other objects for comfort or a reminder of a supernatural presence. The Psalmist appears to use the rod and staff as comfort objects in Psalm 23.


Brenner, M. (2004). The complete guide to transitional objects. New York, NY:
Simon & Schuster.

Goddard, C. (2018). The significance of transitional objects in an early childhood classroom for children and teachers. Dimensions of Early Childhood, 46, (1), 6-9.

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