Some technical implications of Klein's concept of ‘premature ego development’

The International Journal of Psychoanalysis (Impact Factor: 0.86). 09/2007; 88(Pt 4):825-42. DOI: 10.1516/3218-4471-VV75-0N07
Source: PubMed


In this paper, the author revisits the problem of 'premature ego development' first introduced by Melanie Klein in 1930. She also highlights several developments in post-Kleinian thinking since the publication of that paper, which can be seen as offshoots of or complements to Klein's work. The author proposes a link between this category of precocious development and the absence of the experience of what Bion termed the 'containing object.' She puts forward several technical considerations relevant to analytic work with patients who suffer as a result of early developmental failures and presents various clinical vignettes in order to demonstrate the ways in which these considerations take shape in the analytic setting.

1 Follower
10 Reads

  • Psychoanalytic Review The 05/2008; 95(2):305-10. DOI:10.1521/prev.2008.95.2.305
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The author explores the linear thread connecting the theory of Freud and Klein, in terms of the central significance of the duality of the life and death instinct and the capacity of the ego to tolerate contact with internal and external reality. Theoretical questions raised by later authors, informed by clinical work with children who have suffered deprivation and trauma in infancy, are then considered. Theoretical ideas are illustrated with reference to observational material of a little boy who suffered deprivation and trauma in infancy. He was first observed in the middle of his first year of life while he was living in foster care, and then later at the age of two years and three months, when he had been living with his adoptive parents for more than a year.
    Infant Observation 04/2009; 12(1):43-61. DOI:10.1080/13698030902731709
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The author suggests a number of technical extensions/clinical applications of Frances Tustin's work with autistic children, which are applicable to the psychoanalysis of neurotic, borderline and psychotic adults. These are especially relevant to those individuals in whom early uncontained happenings (Bion) have been silently encapsulated through the use of secretive autosensual maneuvers related to autistic objects and shapes. Although such encapsulations may constitute obstacles to emotional and intellectual development, are consequential in both the relational and vocational spheres for many analysands and present unending challenges for their analysts, the author demonstrates ways in which it may be possible to detect and to modify these in a transference-centered analysis. A detailed process of differential diagnosis between autistic states and neurotic/narcissistic (object-related) states in adults is outlined, along with several clinical demonstrations of the handling of a variety of elemental terrors, including the 'dread of dissolution.' The idiosyncratic and perverse use of the analytic setting and of the analyst and issues of the analysand's motivations are considered and illustrated. A new model related to 'objects in the periphery' is introduced as an alternative to the more classical Kleinian models regarding certain responses and/or non-responses to transference interpretation. Issues a propos the countertransference are also taken up throughout.
    The International Journal of Psychoanalysis 02/2011; 92(1):21-42. DOI:10.1111/j.1745-8315.2010.00357.x · 0.86 Impact Factor
Show more