The title of this chapter is taken from my mother’s last paper, published in 1982: “Growing points in psychoanalysis inspired by the work of Melanie Klein”. Here she reflects on the influence of Mrs Klein and selects what she considers to be genuine subsequent “growing points” in the history of psychoanalysis itself; Bion would call these points of “catastrophic change”.
What is a growing point? To pursue her botanical metaphor, a growing point is a place where all the essential genetic information for development is concentrated, ready to sprout or branch outward. It is a point at which different influences converge, meet, and create another shoot (a new idea or “baby”), and there is of course an implication of inevitable “growing pains”. She uses the term “inspired by”, which always implies a sense of responding to a life-force beyond any single person’s control – “the force that through the green fuse drives the fower” as Dylan Tomas expresses it (Fern Hill). The historical growing points since Klein that she lists in her paper are very few: firstly, Bion’s idea of the thinking breast that operates through normal projective identifcation; secondly, Mrs Bick’s of normal unintegration and integration; thirdly Meltzer’s distinction between three- and two-dimensionality. These are all concepts that enhance our capacity to observe the complexity of normal development, marking the seismic shift in psychoanalytic thinking from its earlier preoccupation with psychopathology and diagnosis.
This chapter provides a platform for the book by condensing many publications that signal the development of some British T ideas in the last twenty years. It covers curriculum development and content, the creation of congruent values between the process of supervision being studied and the curriculum and methodology of the course, the aims of a course, and underlying principles. Consensus between authors is striking around the need to embody core values about supervision in the processes of the training.
Although there is no single acknowledged and generally agreed core curriculum for supervisor training, the ideas of Inskipp and Proctor (1993, 1995), Hawkins and Shohet (2006), and Page and Wosket (2001) are particularly influential. With no agreement in professional bodies or between course providers about appropriate length and style of courses for different levels of supervisory qualification, Docchar's research (2007) could not assess the depth at which elements are addressed or identify equivalence between them. Applicants find it difficult to know from course advertisements which course might best suit their needs.