29 Chapters
Medium 9781780491240

Chapter Five - Developmental Evolution within the Theory of Melanie Klein

Kavaler-Adler, Susan Karnac Books ePub

Melanie Klein's phenomenology of the paranoid–schizoid and depressive positions is a developmental as well as a clinical theory. It is, however, a too limited developmental theory, as strictly defined by Klein's writings, and many clinician-theorists, including myself, are attempting to significantly expand Klein's phenomenology of developmental usefulness (Alexander, 1997; Ogden, 1986). To extend the developmental aspects of Klein's phenomenological psychic states, which are dynamic in their dialectic of regressive and progressive psychic motions, her death instinct metapsychology must be, at least partially, eschewed. The concept of primal trauma, similar to Balint's (1979) “basic fault”, can be accepted as a foundation for pathology as opposed to the notion of pure psychic conflict that is exclusively related to instinctual impulse.

For Klein, movements from the paranoid–schizoid to the depressive position state of mind are fundamental to primary developmental growth in self-integration, as well as the driving force of a continuing psychic evolution in an individual's way of thinking that takes place over the course of a lifetime. As long as primal trauma does not disrupt this natural developmental change, there is a vital shift in a self- and world perception that occurs in each of us in our primary years. This shift in psychic perspective becomes a progressive realignment of our emotional blueprint, as it effects our interpretation of our experience in the external world. The shift from the paranoid–schizoid to the depressive position is a progressive developmental shift due to the ability in the depressive position to tolerate all psychic parts of oneself, both loving and hating parts, so that an ambivalent state of good-enough love for the other as a whole (with good and bad parts) can be tolerated. Prior to the depressive position, the disowning of one's hate for a loved object places one in the dilemma of cutting off from any desired and needed object at the point of anger and disappointment. Wandering from one person to another, following each disappointment in love and in the idealised perfection of the “other” results in a fragmentation of experience that leaves us to exist in a fragmented self-state. Without primary sustained relationship in one's life, nothing is sustained.

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Medium 9781780491172

Chapter Five - Facing the Ghost of Failures in Mothering. Regret Evolving into Love and Play: The Case of Anastasia, Part I

Kavaler-Adler, Susan Karnac Books ePub

CHAPTER FIVE

Facing the ghost of failures in mothering. Regret evolving into love and play: the case of Anastasia, Part I

In the course of an analysis, profound psychic transformations evolve as psychic regret is consciously confronted. This involves the opening up of depressive position capacities for viewing things increasingly from another's subjective perspective, for differentiating that perspective from one's own, and for facing one's insatiable hungers, referred to as “greed” by Klein (1957). The case to be offered illustrates how psychic regret made conscious can lead to growth in self-agency and self-reflection, to an awareness of yearnings for intimacy, to an awareness of psychic and interpersonal space, as well as to the awareness of the phenomenal aliveness in “just being together”. Other insights into an awareness of one's own needs and motivations arising through regret involve awareness of one's own grandiosity, and of one's sense of missing something within that is revealed to be an early connection with the primal other: the pre-Oedipal mother. Cognitive capacities for differentiation are enlarged as self-reflection is expanded through the grief-laden insights that come with regret. In this way, defensive distancing from both internal and external object relations connections can be retraced to the past in terms of a repetition of early disruption in object relations bonding with the mother. The past and present can be sorted out. There is also a new growth in a capacity for containment of instinctual impulses, as well as for compassion for the other, and a sustaining of a more full whole object capacity to love.

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Chapter Four - Explicating and Utilising the Phenomenological Theory

Kavaler-Adler, Susan Karnac Books ePub

Winnicott (1965, 1975) wrote about the formation of a “true self” in a human being who begins life in a dyadic relationship with a mother, who hopefully can offer “primary maternal preoccupation” to facilitate her infant's developmental growth into the state of having a “self”. In dialectic with this, Klein offers us a phenomenological theory that can be fleshed out in developmental terms, but which also offers us the poignancy of a theorist who has lived very close to the existential nature of human suffering. In fact, Klein's phenomenology looks at moral growth through the lens of a human heart that bears its imprint on psychic experience.

Klein's phenomenological theory is one of two primary psychic state positions, each having its own unique constellation of defences, modes of object relations, and psychic structure. In The Matrix of the Mind, Ogden (1986) has done an admirable job of offering clinical examples for the different mental experience of the two positions. Prior to his work, Segal (1964) gave clinical examples in An Introduction to Melanie Klein. My own books, The Compulsion to Create: Women Writers and Their Demon Lovers (Kavaler-Adler, 1993a), The Creative Mystique: From Red Shoes Frenzy to Love and Creativity (Kavaler-Adler, 1996), and Mourning, Spirituality and Psychic Change: A New Object Relations View of Psychoanalysis (Kavaler-Adler, 2003b), also offer such clinical examples. Here, I wish to merely make some fundamental observations about the importance of Klein's psychic position theory and its independence from a metapsychology based on the death instinct.

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Chapter Eight - Winnicott's Contribution to the Understanding of Mirroring as a Developmental Process: The Klein–Winnicott Dialectic within

Kavaler-Adler, Susan Karnac Books ePub

In 1967, Winnicott wrote his paper, “Mirror-role of the mother and family in child development”. In doing so, he brought a primary aspect of developmental functioning to the awareness of psychoanalysts. Freudian and Kleinian analysts (who thought solely in terms of interpreting unconscious impulses or fantasies to make them conscious through interpretation) would greatly resist the developmental perspective that Winnicott was introducing into the British Psychoanalytic Society. Analysed by a Kleinian analyst, Joan Riviere, Winnicott would constantly find his ideas and their developmental focus on the environmental other, the mother and, later, the analyst, rejected and misunderstood. In America, Freudian analysts who congregated as medical elite in the conclave of the New York Psychoanalytic Institute, were even more rejecting (Rodman, 2004).

Anna Freud was more sympathetic, as shown through Winnicott's correspondence with her, cited by Rodman (2004) in his biography of Winnicott. She validated Winnicott's contribution of the idea of the “transitional object” to the world of analysts at large.

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Medium 9781780491172

Chapter Seven - The Grief of Regret Motivating Commitment to Marriage in a Woman: Sarah's Extramarital Affair

Kavaler-Adler, Susan Karnac Books ePub

CHAPTER SEVEN

The grief of regret motivating commitment to marriage in a woman: Sarah's extramarital affair

Commitment that is fully realised at a psychic level is not so often achieved.

Couples who have early loss and trauma in their lives are particularly prone to defend against full commitment to one another. In spite of this, when the losses can be faced and mourned, increasing degrees of commitment and sustained intimacy can be achieved. Equally important to mourning early losses, however, is the mourning of the grief of regret related to failures in commitment. The full conscious experience of one's regret concerning shortcomings in commitment can actually become the turning point of a marriage. The case of Sarah illustrates this.

Sarah entered psychotherapy for the first time after being married for fourteen years. She realised that she had never fully been able to commit to her husband. She told me that she wanted to understand her difficulties in making a commitment to a husband. She had kept a journal of her thoughts and feelings, and wanted to read this journal to me once she chose me as her psychoanalyst. She hoped that by sharing all of her intimate thoughts, she would be able to receive help in understanding what propelled her away from her husband, both earlier in their marriage, and during the affair. She also hoped to come to understand how losses earlier in her life, such as the death of her older brother when she was fourteen, might have made her involvement with her husband difficult. She told me that she had been very close to her older brother when she was young, in a way that she had never felt with her younger brother, or with her sister. She also told me that she had re-experienced memories of being close to him and of losing him. She said that remembering him was very painful. She said that her feelings of loss had stayed with her over a long period of time.

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