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Ogden, T.H. (1984). Instinct, Phantasy, and Psychological Deep Structure—A Reinterpretation of Aspects of the Work of Melanie Klein. Contemp. Psychoanal., 20:500-525.

(1984). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 20:500-525

Instinct, Phantasy, and Psychological Deep Structure—A Reinterpretation of Aspects of the Work of Melanie Klein

Thomas H. Ogden, M.D.

If you are applying psychoanalytic treatment to children you should meet Melanie Klein … She is saying some things that may or not be true, and you must find out for yourself for you will not get what Melanie Klein teaches in my analysis with you.

Communication by James Strachey to his analysand Donald Winnicott, (Winnicott, 1962p. 173).


ALTHOUGH A SIGNIFICANT PROPORTION OF the world's analysts are Kleinian analysts, a serious consideration of the work of Melanie Klein has not been a major part of the dialogue that constitutes American psychoanalytic thinking. Too often, when Klein's theory is considered, it is scrutinized only long enough to be dismissed on the basis of one "untenable" idea or another, such as Klein's conception of the death instinct, her developmental timetable, her theory of technique, and so on.

My intention is not to proselytize, for I am not a Kleinian and have profound disagreements with many aspects of her work; rather my aim is to present Klein's thinking in a light that might account for the important influence her ideas have had on the development of psychoanalytic thought outside of the United States.

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