The Flexible Function of the Modern Kleinian Psychoanalytic Approach: Interpreting Through the Unbearable Security of Paranoid and Depressive Phantasies

Abstract

Working to establish analytic contact (Waska, 2007) with a patient involves the verbal act of interpretation. But, how one interprets and what we try to hold in words is not the same with each patient. Each patient requires, invites, provokes and responds to a unique mixture of interpretive elements or approaches. The projective identification process that is so often the bedrock of the transference, and therefore the catalyst of the counter-transference, forms the psychological climate between patient and analyst. Case material is used to explore a Modern Kleinian interpretive approach with both a very entrenched depressive position (Klein, 1935, 1940) patient and a very primitive paranoid-schizoid (Klein, 1946) patient. Both these individuals desired relief from their symptoms of anxiety, anger, emptiness, and guilt. But, their unbearable unconscious phantasies offered pathological security that they were familiar with and therefore they preferred the known internal trauma and chaos to facing the unknown and undefined reality of self and other that change, grief, and growth would bring.

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Waska, R. The Flexible Function of the Modern Kleinian Psychoanalytic Approach: Interpreting Through the Unbearable Security of Paranoid and Depressive Phantasies. Am J Psychoanal 76, 219–239 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1057/s11231-016-9045-6

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Keywords

  • Interpretation
  • depressive
  • paranoid
  • Kleinian
  • flexible
  • transference
  • countertransference