chapter  9
16 Pages

Developments in Kleinian technique

In this chapter I describe some of what I regard as the central themes in the development and current practice of technique among British Kleinian psychoanalysts.

It is important, as always, to remember that Melanie Klein’s work began with the analysis of children. Looking back now to her earliest work, she seems to have had a touchingly naive faith in Freud’s method. When she began analysing children (in addition to her own child, ‘Fritz’) she tried to get them to lie down on the couch and to free-associate, and it was some time before she realized that this method was not really appropriate (Frank 2000). Eventually she went to get an armful of her own children’s toys for one of her younger patients to use and so embarked on the famous ‘play technique’ (Klein 1955a). But in spite of the play technique Klein stuck as closely as possible to Freud’s method: sessions five times a week, rigorous maintenance of the setting, emphasis on transference as the central focus of analyst-patient interaction, and emphasis on interpretation as the main agent of therapeutic change. These features are not, of course, specifically Kleinian; they are characteristic, though to varying degrees, of most psychoanalysts.