on 8 May 2016
Melanie Klein is a central figure in the history of child psychotherapy. This collection of papers is part of a series endorsed by the Melanie Klein Trust, covering the years between 1921 and 1945. Over this period, Klein developed and elaborated ideas that remain valid today, including the legitimacy of using freely chosen play as material for analysis, the value of responding honestly to children's questions, and the lasting impact of the early infant-mother relationship. This collection includes the early elaborations of these ideas; in addition it includes her critique of Anna Freud's book on the technique of child analysis which was so sharp that it resulted in what was to become a permanent split between 'Kleinian' and 'Freudian' child analysts.
Although Klein's ideas underwent significant evolution during this period, she remained wedded to certain psychoanalytic dogmas; the preoccupation with 'the primal scene' and the 'Oedipus complex' amongst them. As I have indicated in my review of her later, 'Narrative of a Child Analysis', these preoccupations resulted in grotesquely distorted interpretations which - at best - lead one to question the whole basis for many of Klein's assertions.
Her prose style, too, rarely rises above the functional and is often bogged down in the opaque jargon of the early Freudians.
In summary, this is an important collection if you are interested in the history and development of child psychotherapy, but shouldn't be regarded as a guide for the modern practitioner.
on 12 March 2013
This book I bought on a bit of a whim, finding Freud a bit hard going. But I was interested in Melanie Klein's Object Relations Theory and experience tells me it's always good to find and read the original papers. What I found fascinating was reading the case studies - I didn't always agree with the interpretations, but the raw material I found really interesting.