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7 - Rita: The First Very Young Child in Psychoanalysis

Sherwin-White, Susan Karnac Books ePub

I was very doubtful about how to tackle this case since the analysis of so young a child was an entirely new experiment. [Klein, 1955b, p. 124]

Rita's case, the “entirely new experiment”, was integral to Klein's development of her analytic play technique. Of her publications on Rita, it was only Klein's retrospective paper on the play technique, quoted above, that marked the historic and uncharted character of Rita's analysis in this characteristically frank statement.

Rita, 2¾ years old, was analysed from 6 March to 6 October 1923 (Frank, 2009, p. 65, no. 8). There are clear continuities with Grete's case in Klein's practice with regard to the negative and positive transference—for example, her continuing interpretation in the here-and-now of the negative transference (and the referral back to the original object), but new insights too: particularly the importance of interpreting the negative transference early, as she emphasized a few years later in her disagreement with Anna Freud (see chapter 2). Rita's case merits attention—even more now that we have her treatment notes—for two main reasons: first, because of Klein's development of a technique of analysis and mode of interaction suitable for very young children, and, second, because of the new clinical discoveries that Rita's case facilitated, which were of crucial importance in understanding the psychic development and internal world of the under-5s.

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6 - The Early Stages of Young-Child Analysis: Grete on the Couch

Sherwin-White, Susan Karnac Books ePub

This chapter and the two that follow use Frank's seminal publication, Melanie Klein in Berlin (1999, published in English in 2009) of the treatment notes of a few of Klein's Berlin cases (particularly Grete, Rita, and Erna) in order to continue to delineate Klein's development of her play technique, along with the challenges imposed by the transference situation, especially the negative transference. These chapters survey, in addition to Klein's focused—and selective—published accounts of these cases, the significant contribution of the treatment notes, following the chronological order of the analyses of these three young child patients in order to trace Klein's evolving technique: Grete (below), Rita (chapter 7), and Erna (along with Peter, chapter 8). A fourth case, that of Inge, is referred to as relevant.

In this chapter, the treatment notes themselves are discussed. The particular light they shed on fairy tales and storytelling in Klein's analyses of these young children is then described, focusing on Grete in particular, but also on Rita and Erna. Grete's case, which features only very briefly in Klein's published works, demonstrates how the treatment notes illuminate matters of developing technique and Klein's evolving understanding of play and the transference situation.

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9 - Klein's Work with Parents

Sherwin-White, Susan Karnac Books ePub

This chapter explores the evidence on another neglected aspect of Klein's work. A usual assumption is that Klein paid little attention to the role of the parents with regard to their children's problems, perhaps tied up to the old dogma that Klein gave minimal space to the external—or privileged almost exclusively the internal world of the child (and its dynamics). The chapter is set in the historical context of work with children in the era before the widespread development of the child guidance movement in the United Kingdom under the impact of the Second World War, and the later practice of separate psychotherapeutic/support work with parents as the norm, or at least a standard of good practice, in UK NHS child psychotherapy settings. Systemic family therapy was also yet to be born, quite apart from the tsunami of parenting programmes of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries; and attachment theory was yet to be developed. Relevant, too, to any evolving concept of work with parents is that in the 1920s and 1930s, understanding of the force of projections and projective identification was still in its early stages, as was the recognition of the potential power of parental projections into a child. From very early on, as has been seen, Klein expounded a clear view of the way in which a child's internal images and projections could affect his or her actual relations with a parent or parents, a factor that she developed in her theory of the very early superego.

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8 - Erna and her Siblings: Young-Child Analysis in the Consulting Room

Sherwin-White, Susan Karnac Books ePub

Erna (5¾ years old) and Peter (3¾ years old) are among the first young child patients Klein treated with the play technique in her consulting room in Berlin, after the experiment of seeing Rita at the family home. Erna's treatment ran from 9 January 1924 to 15 April 1926 (470 sessions), and Peter's in two phases, first from 18 February to 29 June 1924 and then from 8 January 1925 to 27 January 1926 (284 sessions). The break was probably due to his parents’ separation during his treatment (for the latter, see Klein, 1927c, p. 178; 1932b, p. 17). Forerunners in Klein's consulting room include 6-year-old Ernst (seen from 2 February to 5 June 1923, overlapping with Rita) and 7-year-old Inge (seen from 18 September 1923 to 5 July 1924 and subsequently from 3 February to 1 May 1926: Frank, 2009, p. 65 nos. 7, 10).

It seems important to keep Klein's analysis of Peter in mind when exploring her play technique, and especially her handling of the transference situation in Erna's case, rather than see the latter in isolation, as Frank tends to do; for that reason, Peter's case is detailed first in this chapter. Erna's history and presentation are then summarized, followed by an account of the main themes of Klein's use of the case in her publications. Finally, the treatment notes on Erna are discussed to show how they enrich the briefer published account, illuminating KIein's understanding of the case and the further development of her play technique.

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4 - Restoring Klein's Concept of Reparation in her Early Work

Sherwin-White, Susan Karnac Books ePub

A current view (e.g., Grosskurth, 1986; Likierman, 2001; Meltzer, 1978; Pétot, 1979) maintains that Klein's work can be divided into her “early” work (up to 1937) and her later work, the former being characterized by its negative focus on sadism, hate, and so on, often emotively described by critics and sometimes generalized to the point of caricature. This chapter argues that such a view is an oversimplification. First, it is clear in Klein's early publications—such as the papers of the 1920s and early 1930s collected in Love, Guilt and Reparation (1975) and The Psycho-Analysis of Children (1932b)—as well as other cases now accessible, that she recognized in her small patients the emotions of love and a wish for reparation: termed both “restitution” (original German, Wiederherstellung) and, most frequently, “reparation” (original German, Wiedergutmachung). Second, the misinterpretation has been compounded by the fact that the undeniable place of “reparation” in Klein's original German text Die Psychoanalyse des Kindes (1932a) has been lost in the English version owing to Alix Strachey's translation of Wiedergutmachung—Klein's word for “reparation”—almost exclusively as “restitution” (Wiederherstellung). The characterization of her early work as negative is thus, to a large extent, a consequence of this elimination of her developing concept of reparation in the English translations of her early writings, and therefore of her patients’ emergent capability of gradually experiencing more constructive emotionality.

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