Melanie Klein

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Melanie Klein (30 March 1882 – 22 September 1960) was an Austrian-born British psychoanalyst who devised novel therapeutic techniques for children and was particularly interested in the early psychological development that which had a significant impact on child psychology and contemporary psychoanalysis and is still used in present day therapeutic techniques. Klein was the first to use psychoanalysis on young children. She was unique by working with children using toys. Klein is named as one of the co-founders of Object Relations Theory. Anna Freud was researching ORT during the same time as Klein. Freud’s ideas concerning children mostly came from working with adult patients; Klein was innovative in working directly with children, often as young as two years old. Klein saw children’s play as their primary mode of emotional communication. After observing troubled children play with toys such as dolls, animals, plasticine, pencil and paper, Klein attempted to interpret the specific meaning of play. Following Freud she emphasized the significant role that parental figures played the child’s phantasy life, and considered that the timing of Freud’s Oedipus complex was incorrect. Contradicting Freud, she concluded that the superego was present from birth ORT is a theory of relationships between people, such as the mother and her child. A basic belief is that we are driven to form relationships with others and that failure to form successful early relationships leads to later problems. It is also concerned with the relation between the subject and their internalized objects, as well as with external objects. Thus we have a relationship with the internal mother as well as an external one. Example: As the child feeds, it feels gratified and satiated when the breast produces sufficient milk, in which case it is loved and cherished. When the child is prematurely withdrawn or the breast does not provide sufficient food, the child is frustrated and the breast is hated and...
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