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Development of the Unconscious in Britain: A Critical Analysis of Klein and Winnicott's Theories

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Added on  2019-09-20

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This assignment critically analyses the theories of Melanie Klein and Winnicott on the unconscious and sub-conscious emotions and phantasies. It explores how these theories have helped psychologists understand the internal representation of unconscious phantasy and its impact on individuals' relationships. The theories of Klein and Winnicott beautifully describe the unconscious and sub-conscious emotions and phantasies.
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Development of the Unconscious in Britain: A Critical Analysis of Klein and Winnicott's Theories_1
Melanie Klein was one of the most famous theorists during the psychoanalytic movement.She specialised in the psychoanalysis of children (Heimann et al, 2013).Winnicott is anotherleading psychoanalyst who is well known in the field of some popular theories proposed byhim. He has studied psychoanalysis with Klein. He did accept Klein’s theories but he viewedthe key aspect of good relationships are rooted in the micro interaction with people. Themost renounced theories are the ‘true self, false self, the good enough mother, transitionobjects’ etc. (Winnicott, 2013). This assignment will describe and critically analyse thetheories off Klein and Winnicott. The theories by Klein and Winnicott beautifully describe theunconscious and sub concisions emotions and phantasies.Klein has talked about the unconscious phantasies that underlie every mental process andaccompany all mental activity. According to her, there is a somatic representation of mentalevents (Klein, 2013). This theory was the extension and development of Sigmund Freud’sunderstanding of the unconscious mind. As per Klein, infant’s experiences of theunconscious phantasy affect all the childhood interpersonal relations (Britzman, 2012). Thistheory has helped psychologists understand how the internal representation of unconsciousphantasy plays an important role and how the individuals relate to others later in the life. Inthis, the objects which the individual come across are unconsciously integrated interjectedand later unconsciously projected onto others. This might cause a change in perception oran adulterated view of the other person. Early childhood relationship establishes mentalmodels or mental representation that an individual develops throughout their life (Segal,2012). These mental models later impact the individual’s experiences and new relationshipsbut it is in an unconscious manner. Phantasy is a state of mind of an infant child during its early stage of development. Thesephantasies are mainly unconscious and they do not differentiate between the consciousrealities. In the pre-lingual stage, a child is not able to distinguish between reality andimagination. Phantasies are a representation of genetic needs and drives. As per Steiner(2016) they appear in a symbolic form in dreams and in the plays of a child. Phantasy iscontacted from internal and external reality. They are modified by different feelings and thenthey get projected into the real world and the imaginary world. According to Anderson (2014)an infant makes sense of the external world through phantasies. Every new expression of aninfant is firstly perceived and processed by the unconscious phantasy. They are throughoutall the mental activities of the infant. Phantasy is the mental expression of both aggressiveand libidinal impulses. Phantasies lead to anxieties. Winnicott talked about unthinkable anxieties which are thesense of going into pieces as a baby. People shatter their embryonic ego. The developments
Development of the Unconscious in Britain: A Critical Analysis of Klein and Winnicott's Theories_2
that happen as child during the pre-verbal phase do not have a language but they remainimplicit in memory. This memory that infants have is not explicit. When the infants grow asadults, it gets played in the minds as episodes. But, since these are laid down in the neuralpathways, therefore, the rejection can be anticipated. As per Lamothe, (2014) an infant’sdependence on her parent has been explained by Winnicott as passing through three stagesof dependency – Absolute Dependence, Relative Dependence and towards Independence. In absolute dependence, the infant doesn’t yet separately identify herself from her parent.She doesn’t have enough experience yet to distinguish events or compare one type ofcaregiving to another (Winnicott, 2014). The theory essentially talks about the caregivingrelationship and how it develops the infant as they go ahead. As per Caldwell (2014) thisrelationship is described by Winnicott as having three overlapping stages. During each ofthese stages, care takes different meanings than the one before. These stages are notdistinct and do not have a definitive finish, with the infant and the caregiver swinging backand forth in overlapping stages. The stages are holding and care to give and to livetogether. These stages strongly overlap each other. Lamothe (2014) says that this theory describes the satisfying parental care can be classifiedinto three major overlapping stages. Firstly, it is holding. A child is born with a tendency tohold things. That is the way the child studies the environment. Secondly, it is mother andinfant living together. Here the father’s function as acting as an environment for the childhas not been discussed. Thirdly the father, mother and infants all live together. So, thoughthe infant is holding the mother initially later it also comes under influence of father (Flynn,2015) This gives rise to the term “paranoid-schizoid position” that describes a collection ofdefenses, relation to the external objects and the anxieties (Flynn, 2015). This theory tellsabout the fantasies that are involved in the various processes during the childhood but thatare nor regarded as probable. But Williams (2016) has questioned that whether the activitiesrelated to fantasies can develop just from the mind or somewhere else? (Kristeva, 2013).As per Klein, schizoid ways of relating are never given up. The paranoid-schizoid position isafterwards followed by more mature depressive position. It is believed by McIvor (2015) thatthe paranoid schizoid state of mind in children is considered to be existing from birth to fourto six months of age (Kalsched, 2014) says thatthis is shattering of the embryonic ego. It isnot a part of our explicit memory. We get the episodes of these memories as adults. Implicitmemory forms a part of our neural path hence we retain a part of it.
Development of the Unconscious in Britain: A Critical Analysis of Klein and Winnicott's Theories_3

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