Who is Melanie Klein ?
Melanie Klein was a psychoanalyst born in Vienna in 1882 and died in London in 1960.
She started her training with Sándor Ferenczi, and later on with Karl Abraham.
In 1919 Melanie Klein presents a small work entitled “The family novel in status nascendi“, and became a member of the Psychoanalytic Society of Budapest.
Two years later Klein went to Berlin where she began a new analysis with Karl Abraham and joined the Berlin Psychoanalytic Society as a member. Result of her experience in the analysis of children Melanie Klein presented at the 8th Congress of Salzburg a paper entitled “The technique of analysis of children”, and months later she exhibited in Víena “Psychological Principles of Child Psychoanalysis“. In 1926 Melanie Klein settled in England where she became a member of the British Psychoanalytic Society.
Six years later (in 1932) this psychoanalyst publishes “Psychoanalysis of Children” where she presented her ideas about child psychoanalysis and the use of the game as a therapeutic resource. Melanie Klein tells us there how children express their fantasies and conflicts through the game. She discovered the use of toys in child therapy with a very silent child patient, the “Ludotherapy“. She analysed children, at that time a new field.
Melanie Klein contributions to psychoanalysis theory are :
a)-early stages of Oedipus complex and super-ego formation,
b)-early operation of introjective and projective mechanisms in building up the child’s inner word of fantasy,
c)-the concepts of paranoid-schizoid and depressive positions,
d)-clarification of the difference between two sorts of identification : introjective and projective.
e)-the importance of a very early form of envy.
Sigmund Freud was reluctant to accept the theories of this psychotherapist, and with his daughter Anna Freud maintained a constant controversy that divided the psychoanalysts in favor of the ideas of one or the other. Melanie Klein had the support of Ernest Jones, but not with such prestigious figures as Otto Fenichel, Franz Alexander and Sándor Rado, who also did not agree with her lack of academic qualifications.
(Edited by María Moya Guirao M.D.)