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Segal, H. (1983). Some Clinical Implications of Melanie Klein's Work—Emergence from Narcissism. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 64:269-276.

(1983). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 64:269-276

Some Clinical Implications of Melanie Klein's Work—Emergence from Narcissism

Hanna Segal

Looking at Melanie Klein's work some 60 years later, it is difficult to grasp the magnitude of the revolution she brought about in analytical thinking. Her discoveries of the early infantile object relationships and anxieties added a new dimension to psychoanalytical work. They brought to life the infant in us. The new perspective she brought to bear on infantile development not only gave rise to new work among those known as Kleinians, but also influenced deeply the whole approach to psychoanalytical work, I think, even among those who have hardly heard of her and those who oppose some of her findings.

In her paper, 'The origins of transference' (Klein, 1952), she says: 'For many years—and this is up to a point still true today—transference was understood in terms of direct references to the analyst in the patient's material. My conception of transference as rooted in the earliest stages of development and in deep layers of the unconscious is much wider and entails a technique by which from the whole material presented the unconscious elements of the transference are deduced … For the patient is bound to deal with conflicts and anxieties re-experienced towards the analyst by the same methods he used in the past. That is to say, he turns away from the analyst as he attempted to turn away from his primal objects; he tries to split the relations to him, keeping him either as a good or as a bad figure: he deflects some of the feelings and attitudes experienced towards the analyst on to other people in his current life, and this is part of "acting out"'.

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