Melanie Klein's Concepts

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Running head: Melanie Klein

Melanie Klein’s Concepts
As it relates to
Infant Attachment
Donna Bey
Academic Affliation

This paper will discuss the object relation theory. It will discuss infant attachment from a human drive and motivation perspective. It will focus on the object-relation theory and in particular, Melanie Klein’s concepts as it relates to infant attachment. The “object relations” theory is a related approach to personality psychology and refers to pattern of interpersonal functioning. Klein concepts of infant attachment is discussed in the areas of psychoanalysis, early fantasy in and early interpersonal relationships in infants.

More than most other personality theorists presented in this course, object relations theorists have speculated on how humans gradually come to acquire a sense of identity. Klein, along with other psychoanalysis, has built their theories on careful observations of the mother-child relationship. Klein continues to struggle to exert a strong influence on psychoanalysts and psychiatrists in the United States as it had in the Europe; however, the influence of object relations is growing in the mental health field. Objective relations theorists are the most useful to clinicians in organizing and formulating roots of dysfunctional behaviors. It is useful in identifying communication and relational patterns between individuals and family members. It is useful to helping professionals in the treatment planning and facilitation of positive interaction to stimulate a healthy well-being of an individual and a family unit (Feist & Feist, 2008, p. 164). Klein’s theoretical contributions were based on the work of Sigmund Freud but went further and challenged many of his ideas. “Object relations” was undoubtedly, one of the major developments in psychoanalysis since Freud. The emergence of “object relations” theories and related approaches to personality psychology refers to patterns of interpersonal functioning in intimate relationships and the cognitive and emotional processes that mediate those patterns (John, Robins & Pervin, 2008, p. 68). Theory

Object relations theory was an offspring of Freud’s instinct theory. Object relations theory places less emphasis on biologically based drives and more importance on consistent patterns of interpersonal relationships. For instance, it goes up against Freud’s paternalistic theory that emphasizes the power and control of the father. Moreover, the object relations theory tends to be more maternal, stressing the intimacy and nurturing of the mother. In addition, the object relations theorists generally see human contact and relatedness, not sexual pleasure, as the prime motive of human behavior as in Freud’s (Feist & Feist, 2008, p. 145). Klein sought to elaborate on and extend Freud’s original theory through her observations and clinical work with children. Indeed, Klein's work as a whole is an extension of Freud’s work, but also a transformation of Freud’s original insights through her unique interpretive perspectives. Klein’s theoretical contributions were based on the work of Freud, but went further and challenged many of his ideas. The influence of Sandor Ferenczi as well as of Karl Abraham who were member of Freud’s inner circle (Feist & Feist, 2008, p. 144) was also important. Many other analysts have contributed aspects of what is today considered to be ‘Kleinian theory. Theorist such Margaret S. Mahler, Heinz Kohut, John Bowlby, and Mary Ainsworth were influence by Klein’s work with children, her concern with infant’s struggling to gain autonomy and a sense of self (John, Robins & Pervin, 2008, p. 68). Freud’s Objective Theory

Freud believed instincts or drives have an impetus, a source, an aim, and an object, with the latter two having the greater psychological significance. In Freud’s drive theory, underlying aim is to reduce tension: that is,...
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