Reading list: Kleinian technique

Key papers by Klein

For full references for Melanie Klein’s works see Melanie Klein’s publications.

1932 Klein, M. The Psychoanalysis of Children. The climax of Klein’s early theory of child development, including the play technique (see Child analysis).

1943 Klein, M. ‘Memorandum on technique‘ (not published until 1991). Succinct statement about importance of transference; first mention of ‘situations’.

1952 Klein, M. ‘The origins of transference‘. Klein’s technique with adults; transference based on infantile object relations; idea of ‘total situation’.

Further exploration

Strachey, J. (1934) ‘The nature of the therapeutic action of psychoanalysis‘, International Journal of Psychoanalysis. 15: 127-159; republished (1969) International Journal of Psychoanalysis. 50: 275-292. Very influential paper on the analyst/patient relationship and role of the ‘mutative interpretation’ in psychic change.

Heimann, P. (1950) ‘On counter-transference‘, International Journal of Psychoanalysis. 31: 81-84. A description of the analyst’s countertransference as ‘the patient’s creation’.

Money-Kyrle, R. (1956) ‘Normal counter-transference and some of its deviations‘, International Journal of Psychoanalysis. 37: 360-366; republished in The Collected Papers of Roger Money-Kyrle. Strath Tay: Clunie Press (1978). Further description and ideas about analyst-patient relationship and role of countertransference in it.

Bion, W. (1962) Learning from Experience. Heinemann. Theory of container/contained.

Rosenfeld, H. (1964) ‘On the psychopathology of narcissism: A clinical approach‘, International Journal of Psychoanalysis. 45: 332-337; republished in Psychotic States. Hogarth Press (1965). Differentiates ‘libidinal’ from ‘destructive’ narcissism and describes ways of analysing the destructiveness of both.

Bion, W. (1967) ‘Notes on memory and desire‘, Psycho-Analytic Forum. 2: 272-273, 279-280; republished in E. Spillius (ed.) Melanie Klein Today, Vol. 2. Routledge (1988). Focus on memory and desire detracts from attention to immediate interaction between patient and analyst in the present.

Rosenfeld, H. (1971) ‘A clinical approach to the psychoanalytic theory of the life and death instincts: An investigation into the aggressive aspects of narcissism‘, International Journal of Psychoanalysis. 52: 169-178; republished in E. Spillius (ed.) Melanie Klein Today, Vol. 1. Routledge (1988). Differentiates ‘libidinal’ from ‘destructive’ narcissism and describes ways of analysing the destructiveness of both.

Brenman Pick, I. (1985) ‘Working through in the countertransference‘, International Journal of Psychoanalysis. 66: 157-166; republished in E. Spillius (ed.) Melanie Klein Today, Vol. 2. Routledge (1988). Work to develop understanding of own countertransference is essential for understanding the patient.

Joseph, B. (1985) ‘Transference: The total situation‘, International Journal of Psychoanalysis. 66: 447-454; republished in E. Spillius (ed.) Melanie Klein Today, Vol. 2. Routledge (1988); and in Psychic Equilibrium and Psychic Change. Routledge (1989). Definition of ‘total situation’ with illustrations.

Rosenfeld, H. (1987) Impasse and Interpretation. Tavistock. ‘Thin-skinned’ and ‘thick-skinned’ narcissistic patients.

Britton, R. (1989) ‘The missing link: Parental sexuality in the Oedipus complex‘. R. Britton, M. Feldman and E. O’Shaughnessy (eds.) The Oedipus Complex Today: Clinical Implications. Karnac. Concept of ‘triangular space’.

Joseph, B. (1989) Psychic Equilibrium and Psychic Change. Routledge. Joseph develops strong focus on the immediate relationship between patient and analyst in the present.

O’Shaughnessy, E. (1992) ‘Enclaves and excursions‘, International Journal of Psychoanalysis. 73: 606-611. Need for analysts to analyse relationships with patients that create enclaves or excursions, which avoid tackling the psychic situations that need to be analytically addressed.

Steiner, J. (1993) ‘Problems of psychoanalytic technique: Analyst-centred and patient-centred interpretations‘. Psychic Retreats. Routledge.

Steiner, J. (2017) Lectures on Technique by Melanie Klein. Edited with Critical Review by John Steiner. Abingdon: Routledge.