December 6, 2010
Professor Lynn Hagan
Sigmund Freud discovered psychoanalysis as an important discipline in psychology. Karen Klein was an important female psychoanalyst, most believed second to Freud, who focused on observation, child analysis, psychotic traits, and substances related to primitive development of the ego and personality. Klein’s clinical studies thoroughly documented child analysis while playing with toys, and other objects, displaying many hostile and cruel actions, and active communication. Klein’s observations identified how children interacted and revealed emotions, and unconscious processes that expressed envy, anxiety, aggression, and sadism. Freud relied heavily on logical reasoning with subjective research, analyzing fewer patients than Klein, and formulated theories from information gathered after analysis occurred. Although Klein demonstrated an infatuation with Freud’s work on instincts, her work revealed empirical evidence to justify results. Freud’s and Klein’s underlying assumptions of love and hate from a young age establish both theories relating to the life and death instincts of a child, and explain the relevance of psychodynamic directly correlated to interpersonal relationships and the self (Gerard, 1991). Melanie Klein Object Relations Theory
Melanie Klein was a very influential child psychoanalyst, and said to have been one of the most influential women in the history of psychology pioneering the object relations theory. Klein’s unhappy and tragic childhood, family life, and marriage met with much diversity and rejection with one hardship after the other, and failed relationships, which led her in the direction of psychoanalysis. The underlying assumptions of the object relations theory proposed the importance of observing young children at play from infancy through the first year (Donaldson & Milar, 2002). Klein determined through clinical observation that infants during this stage of development underwent malicious phantasies affecting the superego. She believed a child’s motivation relates to specific internal forces, and instincts such as appetite and sex including objects similar to a mother’s breast, and other erogenous zones of the body. Klein furthered addressed how the need to identify with specific objects (person, components of a person) serves the purpose of building interpersonal relationships with parents and others through the experience of an active fantasy life. Klein revealed the essence of the infant-mother relationship provided self building characteristics including individuality, and self-identity. She believed the attachment a child has with the mother satisfies basic needs and instincts, security, and eventually emerges into a sense of autonomy (Donaldson & Milar, 2002).
Klein expressed how the development of the child relied on unconscious implementation of values to gain acceptance, and the significance of projecting these characteristics from infancy, similar to sufficing instincts such as breathing and eating. The consequence of introjection and projection at an early age builds the superego, which develops the psychic life of the child causing episodes of psychoses, depressive conditions, and paranoid-schizoid delusions to emerge. The “play technique” in therapy revealed association and symbolic unconscious processes interpreted these psychic defense mechanisms. Klein proposed infants display good and bad images in the unconscious id when phantasizing about specific instincts to fulfill needs. For instance, a hungry child will suckle on his or her thumb, and at the same time unconsciously phantasize about a mother’s breast. The unconscious phantasies that children portray involve genuine experiences and biological inclinations that shape personality and the self (Mason, 2003). Klein like Freud believed in the Oedipus complex depending on the experiences with the parents,...
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