chapter  Two
14 Pages

A theoretical overview: an introduction to psychoanalytic concepts and their application

WithBiddy Youell, Hamish Canham

Sigmund Freud’s conceptualization of the unconscious within the mind provides a model for distinguishing between conscious, logical processes and the irrational, unconscious forces that drive much of human behaviour. Melanie Klein was the first psychoanalyst to work directly with child patients. Freud had established “free association” and the analysis of dreams as key clinical techniques, and Mrs Klein argued that children’s play and drawings could be observed and interpreted in the same way. After Melanie Klein, Wilfred Bion (1961) developed his theory of “container–contained” in the mother–infant relationship and linked this with the origins of thinking and the capacity to learn. He proposed that it is the mother’s job to make sense of the bewildering sensations that bombard the baby in the early hours, days, and weeks of life. With the introjection of good, sustaining experiences comes the establishing of good internal objects.