psychoanalyst author editor
Psychoanalysis in Depth
Behind my long sojourn in the world of groups and organisations, my commitment to psychoanalysis was gestating, and, again with the prompting of Bob Young and Free Associations, I turned to my roots in Kleinian psychoanalysis. I turned, around th3 late 1980s, to writing more directly about psychoanalysis, and my Dictionary of Kleinian Thought came out in 1989 and was surprisingly successful. I was lucky to be able to do this work, to develop talents as a scholar, and to have the publisher, Bob Young, also at the height of his career at the time (both a Darwin scholar, and a formidable protagonist for psychoanalysis). I had the opportunity to follow this up with Clinical Klein, that put clinical flesh on the theoretical skeleton of the Dictionary. As a result of the success of these books, I felt an increasing confidence in developing more investigations of, and original ideas on, psychoanalysis and on social phenomena.
1989 Dictionary of Kleinian Thought
London: Free Association Books
The book was not a sudden inspiration, it was the fruition of a long period of learning psychoanalysis, and teaching psychoanalytic psychotherapy. In the course of the latter, I probably learned more than in the former, because it entailed struggling to make sense of what I was teaching. As a teacher it was not possible to bluster or take refuge in complexity. I learned how hard it is to be clear and straightforward. The book was therefore a challenge to set down much that I had struggled with for more than 10 years after I finished my own training. It was not completely successful, and entailed a second edition (1991) fairly rapidly to accommodate reservations that people had about the text. The publishers wanted a standard work, comprehensive and easily consulted. I adopted two principles which helped me make sense of my material. First, try to tell a story, a narrative. Even a set of conceptual definitions can be made into an interesting tale, and I came to think of concept as each having a biography analogous to the people themselves who think the concepts. Second, make the story as dialectical as possible. Two sides appear to every concept, those who agree with it, and those who doubt it and want to adapt it or exclude it. Such stories may be about fierce debates and I became engrossed in the texts of the Controversial Discussions (1943-1944) long before they were published in 1991. I knew I was, as a relatively junior psychoanalyst, and Kleinian psychoanalyst, taking a bit of a liberty in trying to write a classic text, and I was surprised it did take off magnificently, due largely to the generous industrious work of Bob Young and his team at Free Association Books. Their lack of observance of the paternalistic formalities of the psychoanalytic world and its seniorities has always been refreshing, and benefited me enormously.
1994 Clinical Klein
London: Free Association Books
This book was important to me. Cautious reflection on already published material can give powerful insights. The very purpose of publishing detailed material is that it should give power and conviction to the arguments of the text. Having written the Dictionary, as a conceptual account of the development of Kleinian ideas, it seemed to have displaced the very substantial clinical material with which Kleinian psychoanalysts liberal fertilise their papers. Hence this book attempted to complement the Dictionary by counterposing the theory with an account of the actual experiences recorded. In other words it was an ‘illustrated’ account of Kleinian thought. I found too, that it was more possible to give a through account of more up-to-date ideas, perhaps especially because there had been an enormous emphasis on technique and practice since the 1980s, stimulated by Betty Joseph, her writing and her regular workshop.
1989 Little Hans’ transference.
Journal of Child Psychotherapy 15 63-78
This paper originally given some years before, engages with the debate over the nature of transference in children. It is interesting to look back at published material to find hints and references unnoticed at the time.
1992 Psychodynamic formulation in assessment for psychotherapy.
British Journal of Psychotherapy 8: 166-174. Republished 1995 (as ‘Psychodynamic formulation in diagnosis’), in Chris Mace (ed) The Art and Science of Assessment in Psychotherapy. (London: Routledge) pp. 155-166.
This paper, with which I was quite pleased, evolved from teaching and several presented versions. What I was able to show, with several good examples was that assessment is best done by looking at the dynamics in three key areas as elicited in a first interview. The three areas are (a) the object-relations of the current life situation, (b) the object-relations of the past, in the family of origin, and (c) the possible object-relations built up in the transference and countertransference of the interview. When the three tend to overlap, then that commonality points to a fundamental dynamic in the subject assessed.