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Geleerd, E.R. (1963). Evaluation of Melanie Klein's 'Narrative of a Child Analysis'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 44:493-506.

(1963). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 44:493-506

Evaluation of Melanie Klein's 'Narrative of a Child Analysis'

Elisabeth R. Geleerd


Melanie Klein's last work was published shortly after her death in 1960. Her way of working and thinking could not be more thoroughly revealed than in this case history of a ten-year-old boy, Narrative of a Child Analysis. Her concepts and their application in psycho-analytic work have led to a special school—the so-called English School of psycho-analysis. Her theories differ from the traditional viewpoint less in content than in emphasis and in the chronology of the child's development—e.g. the dating of the Oedipus complex, the formation of the superego. Some of her theories, however, such as the concept that in early mental life the child passes through psychotic phases, are accepted only by the Kleinian school.

To do justice to this record of a child analysis and to understand more fully the rationale of Melanie Klein's way of working, a brief review of her theories, especially as they apply to psycho-analytic technique, is appropriate. This part of the review is not intended to be polemical. A chronological account of her concepts and an attempt to contrast these with the Freudian concepts of child analysis is more in order for this particular purpose.

Throughout Melanie Klein's clinical papers of the 1920s, we find observations which led her to the development of her play technique, the principles of which are still applicable and are today an integral part of analytic work with children, especially young ones. She soon came to the conclusion that a child in analysis, like an adult, needs sessions of consistent frequency and duration.

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