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Dickes, R. (1960). Meeting of the Psychoanalytic Association of New York. Psychoanal Q., 29:304-305.

(1960). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 29:304-305

Meeting of the Psychoanalytic Association of New York

Robert Dickes

January 18, 1960. PANEL DISCUSSION: AN APPRAISAL OF MELANIE KLEIN'S CONTRIBUTIONS TO PSYCHOANALYTIC THEORY AND TECHNIQUE. Moderator: Ludwig Eidelberg, M.D. Panel: Melitta Sperling, M.D.; Maurice Friend, M.D.; Nathaniel Ross, M.D.; Judith Kestenberg, M.D.

Dr. Eidelberg stated that continuing interest in Melanie Klein's work merits a reconsideration of her writings. This should be conducted in a spirit of friendly criticism. The accusation of orthodoxy against classical freudians should be ignored and Mrs. Klein's writings appraised strictly on their scientific merits. Rejection should not be considered simply as resistance. He then introduced the speakers whose comments are herewith summarized.

Dr. Sperling discussed and took issue with Klein's statement that pavor nocturnus occurring during the second year of life is an elaboration of the Oedipal conflict. She demonstrated with case reports that pavor nocturnus, phobias, and the child's total behavior were the results of preoedipal conflicts. It was necessary to analyze repressed oral and anal-sadistic impulses in her patients, as well as the oral envy. Sleep disturbances and other symptoms are related to excessive and abrupt repression of anal-erotic and anal-sadistic impulses. The Kleinian theory leaves little room for the significance of the anal phases in the development of the ego and its defenses. Mrs. Klein's lack of consideration of the real personalities of the parents was noted. The feelings of the child, although exaggerated and distorted, were not merely a result of magical, destructive impulses but had some real basis in the mother's feelings.

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