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melanie klein trust

Melanie Klein Trust

Furthering the psychoanalytic theory
and technique of Melanie Klein

Introduction to Kleinian ideas

Suggested reading


Firstly, there are a number of texts which aim to make sense of human situations using a Kleinian frame of reference, but written in non-technical language.

  • Wittenberg, I. 1970. Psycho-Analytic Insight and Relationships (A Kleinian Approach). Routledge & Kegan Paul. Originally written for social workers this book is beautifully clear and lacking in jargon.
  • Tavistock Clinic 'Understanding Your Child' series, published by Jessica Kingsley between 2004 and 2008. This series of books is written to help parents, educators and carers understand more about their child's development, and his or her relationships with their parents and the wider world. It ranges year by year from Boswell, S. 2004. Understanding Your Baby to Waddell, M. 2005. Understanding 12-14-Year-Olds and includes Bartram, P. 2007. Understanding Your Young Child with Special Needs.
  • The ‘Ideas in Psychoanalysis’ series are small books published by Icon and intended for a general readership. They include the following titles by authors who use predominantly Kleinian theory: Abel-Hirsch, N. 2009. Eros, Barrows, K. 2002. Envy, Bell, D. 2003. Paranoia and Roth, P. 2001. The Superego.
  • Klein, M. 1959 ‘Our adult world and its roots in infancy’. In: The Writings of Melanie Klein Vol 3, Routledge, 1975. In this article, originally written as a talk for a lay audience, Klein lays out her main ideas in a clear and straightforward way.

Next are two books which introduce Klein’s ideas in the context of her biography:

  • Likierman, M. 2002. Melanie Klein: Her Work in Context. Quantum.
  • Segal, H. 1979. Klein. Fontana. Reprinted Karnac, 1989. Segal’s book was written for a general readership and Likierman’s is intended as a more technical and scholarly work.

A valuable text to give readers access to Klein’s clinical thinking is:

  • Hinshelwood, R. D. 1994. Clinical Klein. Free Association Books. Hinshelwood is an excellent secondary source for Klein’s ideas, which he brings vividly to life. While nothing is simplified, Hinshelwood’s approach is less dense than Klein’s often is, and demands less of the reader.

Finally, the following multi-authored books are more technical and thus more demanding of the reader than some of the above. Between them they give a contemporary perspective on all Klein’s ideas.

  • Ed. Steiner, J. 1989. The Oedipus Complex Today: Clinical Implications. Karnac.
  • Ed. Anderson, R. 1992. Clinical Lectures on Klein and Bion. Routledge.
  • Bronstein, C. 2001. Kleinian Theory. A Contemporary Perspective. Whurr.
  • Spillius, E, B., Milton, J., Garvey, P., Couve, C., Steiner, D. 2011. The New Dictionary of Kleinian Thought.  Routledge.