Melanie Klein Today: Developments in Theory and Practice - Vol. 2

Melanie Klein Today: Developments in Theory and Practice - Vol. 2

Melanie Klein Today: Developments in Theory and Practice - Vol. 2

Melanie Klein Today: Developments in Theory and Practice - Vol. 2


Although both Kleinian psychoanalysts and their critics take it for granted that there is a therapeutic technique distinctive to the Kleinian approach, comparatively little has been written about what it is.

In Melanie Klein Today, Volume 2, Elizabeth Bott Spillius brings together classic and new papers to make it possible to understand the main elements of the Kleinian therapeutic technique. In recent years there have been important refinements in this technique, notably in regard to the balance to be struck in interpreting destructiveness, the use of the so-called part-object language, and the precise ways to understand and interpret 'acting-in' and the role of the past in the present.

This collection draws these developments together and makes clear why an integral part of contemporary Kleinian theory and practice is concerned with the careful scrutiny of the therapeutic process itself. The volume includes detailed accounts of clinical work with both adults and children and takes further the theoretical ideas discussed in Melanie Klein Today, Volume 1.

The papers and the editorial commentary in this book together comprise the most illuminating and coherent rationale for the Kleinian technique yet published. The ideas will be of interest to members of many disciplines and a final section includes papers on the application of the Kleinian approach in other fields of work.


Elizabeth Bott Spillius

In the General Introduction at the beginning of the first volume of Melanie Klein Today I gave a brief description of several main themes of theory and practice in Melanie Klein’s work and described how her theoretical innovations developed out of her attempts to conceptualize the newly discovered clinical facts that her work with children revealed. in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s the focus of research shifted to the study of psychotic and borderline patients, and this work again uncovered new clinical facts and led to new conceptualizations; it is these ideas that have formed the major themes of Volume 1. These areas of conceptualization have continued, but have in recent years been joined by a further theme, that of technique, which forms a major part of the present volume.

Interest in technique has now become a central focus in Kleinian work. New ideas about it have developed from increasingly close scrutiny of the therapeutic process. There has been much work by individual analysts and discussion among colleagues involving detailed examination of transference and counter-transference and their interrelation, monitoring of patients’ responses to interpretations, and comparison of experiences in learning which sorts of interpretation make emotional contact with the patient and which do not.

Bion is the pathfinder in this work, closely followed by Joseph and others. in particular, Bion’s use and development of Klein’s concept of projective identification started a new approach which even now his colleagues are still absorbing and developing. the products of this development are described in the first section, ‘Developments in technique’.

This book also presents examples of detailed clinical work with adults . . .

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