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Klein, M. (1927). The Psychological Principles of Infant Analysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 8:25-37.

(1927). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 8:25-37

The Psychological Principles of Infant Analysis

Melanie Klein

In the following paper I propose to discuss in detail certam differences between the mental life of young children and that of adults. These differences require us to use a technique adapted to the mind of the young child, and I shall try to show that there is a certain analytical play-technique which fulfils this requirement. This technique is planned in accordance with certain points of view which I shall discuss in some detail in this paper.

As we know, children form relations with the outside world by directing to objects from which pleasure is obtained the libido that was originally attached exclusively to the child's own ego. A child's relation to these objects, whether they be living or inanimate, is in the first instance purely narcissistic. It is in this way, however, that children arrive at their relations with reality also. I should like to illustrate the relation of young children to reality by means of an example.

Trude, a child of three and a quarter, went on a journey with her mother, having previously had a single hour's analysis. Six months later the analysis was continued. It was only after some considerable time that she spoke of anything that had happened to her in the interval, the occasion of her touching on it being a dream which she related to me. She dreamt that she was with her mother again in Italy, in a familiar restaurant. The waitress did not give her any raspberry-syrup, for there was none left. The interpretation of this dream showed, amongst other things, that the child was still suffering from the deprivation of the mother's breast when she was weaned; further, it revealed her envy of her little sister. As a rule Trude told me all sorts of apparently irrelevant things, and also repeatedly mentioned details of her first hour's analysis six months previously, but it was only the connection with the deprivation she had experienced which caused her to think of her travels, otherwise they were of no interest to her.

At a very early age children become acquainted with reality through the deprivations which it imposes on them.

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