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Klein, M. (1927). Symposium on Child-Analysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 8:339-370.

(1927). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 8:339-370

Symposium on Child-Analysis

Melanie Klein




I will begin my remarks with a short retrospect of the development of child-analysis in general. Its beginnings date from the year 1909, when Freud published the 'Analysis of a Phobia in a Five-year-old Boy'. This publication was of the greatest theoretical importance, confirming as it did in the person of the child who was its subject the truth of what Freud, proceeding from the analysis of adults, had discovered to exist in children. The paper had, however, yet another significance, the greatness of which could not at that time at all be gauged. This analysis was destined to be the foundation-stone of subsequent child-analysis. For not only did it show the presence and the evolution of the Oedipus complex in children and demonstrate the forms in which it operates in them; it showed also that these unconscious tendencies could safely and most profitably be brought into consciousness. Freud himself describes this discovery as follows: 'But I must now inquire what harm was done to Hans by dragging to light in him complexes such as are not only repressed by children but dreaded by their parents. Did the little boy proceed to take some serious action as regards what he wanted from his mother? or did his evil intentions against his father give place to evil deeds? Such misgivings will no doubt have occurred to many doctors, who misunderstand the nature of psycho-analysis and think that wicked instincts are strengthened by being made conscious'.

And again, on p. 285: 'On the contrary, the only results of the analysis were that Hans recovered, that he ceased to be afraid of horses and that he got on to rather familiar terms with his father, as the latter reported with some amusement. But whatever his father may have lost in the boy's respect he won back in his confidence: "I thought", said Hans, "you knew everything as you knew that about the horse". For analysis does not undo the effects of repression.

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