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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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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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5 - The Negative Transference and Young Children in Analysis: New Dimensions

Sherwin-White, Susan Karnac Books ePub

The project of young-child analysis seemed to raise qualms in psychoanalysts of adults about what was later to be termed the “therapeutic alliance”: that is, the agreement that there were problems to treat, the patient's consent to be treated, and the patient's capacity to forge such an alliance (see chapters 2, 3). How could this apply to very young children? How could a transference and an analytic situation be established? This chapter explores further Klein's ground-breaking development in the decade from the early 1920s, especially in engaging her young patients analytically, in spite of—or even because of—strong negative transferences, inventing and shaping a technique for, and understanding of, the negative transference and its many forms.

This chapter emphasizes how Klein's analysis of very young children brought totally new dimensions to the concept of the negative transference and modes of resistance. Scenarios that would have been unacceptable in adult psychoanalysis were tolerated and thought about, and the meaning of a child's enactments gradually understood and modified. It is the treatment notes in particular that detail most graphically the varieties of difficult behaviours Klein faced from her small child patients, as yet without a verbal language for their feelings and difficulties or a capacity to put these into words: sudden terrible rages, fits of aggression in the form of spitting (literally “spitting with rage”), hitting, kicking, punching, and throwing objects to hurt Klein, setting fires, flooding, running out of the consulting room, manic states, and sexualized behaviour. Apart from such enactments, verbal abuse with the weapons of scorn, contempt, hatred—or fake friendliness—abounded (especially with older children), all mightily challenging for the analyst. Such difficult but familiar therapeutic reactions are of contemporary interest to all child psychotherapists and other professionals working psychoanalytically with small and often very disturbed children. How Klein gradually understood and analysed such enactments is traced in this chapter, using extracts from case notes and unpublished lectures (in English) in the same resource, as well as vignettes from cases published in Klein's early work. The majority of the cases referred to are children Klein treated in Berlin (1921–1926), plus a few from Klein's early days in England.

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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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2 - Controversy and Challenges in Pioneering the Analysis of very Young Children in the 1920s

Sherwin-White, Susan Karnac Books ePub

This chapter explores the fierce row that Klein faced in the 1920s over the analysis of young children (Frühanalyse or “early analysis”)—superficially a puzzle, since Klein had been encouraged to analyse pre-latency children by the psychoanalysts Ferenczi in Budapest and Abraham in Berlin. The ramifications of this early controversy have perhaps been underestimated in some recent works (e.g., J. Segal, 1992; Likierman, 2001); this chapter gives a fresh evaluation of the contemporary politics, in-fighting, and theoretical and therapeutic challenges. Important too are the contemporary stances, in a paternalistic society, over parental authority and a consequent uncertainty—understandable in the face of a new treatment—about what to do with parents if a very young child were to be analysed by a non-parent, even a stranger (see also chapter 9).

Analysis and becoming an analyst

Melanie Klein's first analyst was, as is well known, the Hungarian psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Sándor Ferenczi, in Budapest. The analysis lasted from about 1914 to 1919, though the exact start date is unknown (Klein says around 1914: see below). Ferenczi's wartime service duties outside Budapest will have caused some interruptions to its continuity (Stanton, 1991, p. 182). Klein described in retrospect what was to prove the spring-board for her career as the psychoanalyst of small children, when she was evidently hungering for a fulfilling career:

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