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Miller, J. (1995). Response to ‘Teaching Klein’ by Linda Buckingham. Brit. J. Psychother., 12(1):107-108.

(1995). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 12(1):107-108

Response to ‘Teaching Klein’ by Linda Buckingham

Juliet Miller

I was very interested to read Linda Buckingham's paper ‘Teaching Klein’ (Buckingham 1994), as I recently completed a course in Psychodynamic Counselling at a training institution in London where a majority of the theoretical input was Kleinian. Buckingham's discussion of the problems raised on a Kleinian training appear familiar to me, and this response is not to disagree with any points she raised but rather to add something from the student's perspective.

Within a reasonably eclectic training, dispute about Klein and her theories was frequently an area of discussion between students, generating high levels of anxiety, anger and splits within groups. I eventually felt that these discussions reflected a far more fundamental disagreement about how we all wanted to think and work in the consultingroom rather than simply about the merits of, or difficulties with, Kleinian theory.

Buckingham suggests that Kleinian theories seem particularly difficult initially for students to swallow, and I would agree with her that this is true for some students. However, in my experience, it appeared that as we became more familiar with Klein's theories there were two distinct reactions to whether or not they were considered to be a helpful tool in the clinical work.

Positive responses and a growing ability to play with and use her ideas came from those students who felt the need for reliable answers that they could use to inform them in the consulting-room. For these students the extensive body of Klein's work which deals so comprehensively with the internal world of the child became a map which they felt helped them to see their way through the confusing world of the consulting-room.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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