Anxiety: Melanie Klein's 'deeper' layers

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R.D. Hinshelwood


In Klein’s development of a clinical practice with children, she concentrated on the presence and content of anxiety in the little patient’s play.  This led her away from a basic theory grounded in instincts and energy.  As her method developed and her experience accumulated she emphasized the meanings of anxiety and in particular the forms it took in unconscious phantasy.  Ultimately, she became aware of profound phantasies, and anxiety, in her patients about the formation and integrity of the ego, and not just the neurotic conflicts the ego struggles with – those anxieties about identity she called the deeper layers of the unconscious.

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Hinshelwood, R. (2021). Anxiety: Melanie Klein’s ’deeper’ layers. Metalepsis: Journal of the American Board and Academy of Psychoanalysis, 1(1), 25-41.