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Schafer, R. (1994). One Perspective on the Freud–Klein Controversies 1941-45. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 75:359-365.

(1994). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 75:359-365

One Perspective on the Freud–Klein Controversies 1941-45

Roy Schafer

ABSTRACT

Comments on the complex relations obtaining between, on the one hand, tradition, innovations and existential perspective and, on the other, presuppositions about method, evidence and truth are prefaced by a review of the helpful and hindering attitudes and conduct of the three parties to these controversial discussions, the third group being the indigenous ('independent') British group. This group directed the process into productive channels against great odds. The subsequent history of psychoanalysis shows, in addition to increased organisational stability and tolerance in times of crisis, an evolving enrichment and refinement of theory and practice in all three groups. Those following Melanie Klein have developed further their own kind of ego-psychological emphasis, while those following Anna Freud and 'the Viennese' around her have developed a more inclusive theoretical and clinical perspective, one that makes more salient the influence of the very first years of life and early infantile aggression as well as accepting a broadening of the idea of transference to include child analysis. This history supports the view that pluralism in psychoanalysis has been of much benefit.

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