Psychic Equilibrium and Psychic Change: Selected Papers of Betty Joseph

Psychic Equilibrium and Psychic Change: Selected Papers of Betty Joseph

Psychic Equilibrium and Psychic Change: Selected Papers of Betty Joseph

Psychic Equilibrium and Psychic Change: Selected Papers of Betty Joseph

Synopsis

Betty Joseph's work has become an outstanding influence in the development and theory of psychoanalytic technique in the Kleinian tradition. This collection of her most important papers examines the development of her thought and shows why a crucial part of her theory and practice is concerned with the detailed, sensitive scrutiny of the therapeutic process itself. Fundamental and controversial topics explored and discussed include projective identification, transference and countertransference, unconscious phantasy, and Kleinian views on envy and the death instinct.

Excerpt

The strength and vitality of scientific ideas can be judged by their growth and the developments which arise from them. Freud's own ideas changed and developed to the end of his life. They also gave rise to many different, sometimes divergent or even controversial developments, and I do not mean such 'dissident' developments as those of Jung or Adler, but those genuinely based on Freud's own work and his work in various phases of his own development, some followers pursuing more his early work, some the later.

Of those pursuing Freud's later work, Melanie Klein is probably the most significant. Like Freud's, her own work developed, bringing in new ideas and changes of emphasis, till the end of her life. That development continued in the work of her pupils. Her central ideas of the importance of early stages of development and the paramount role of the interplay between unconscious phantasy and reality and that of the shifts between the paranoid-schizoid and depressive positions inform the work of all her pupils. Technically, the importance she attaches to the transference is a constant in their work. On the other hand, they pursued their researches in different directions-for instance, Bion and Rosenfeld into the analysis of psychotics-and her various followers developed different styles of work with different emphases.

One of Klein's late concepts-that of projective identification-of which she gives only a few lines in her paper 'Notes on some schizoid mechanisms' (1946) generated research which has resulted in rich contributions to both theory and practice. In particular it contributed to the understanding and uses of countertransference-an area unexplored by Klein herself. It was also one of her concepts which has gained world-

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