Klein believed healthy development occurs as a progression through two developmental positions. As discussed previously, the first position is the paranoid-schizoid position. Klein believed during this time the infant is in a state of extreme mental splitting of the external object (predominantly, the mother’s breast) into “good” and “bad” part-objects. At this developmental stage, experiences can only be perceived as all good or all bad (Mitchell & Black, 1995). Klein believed that after the infant’s ego sufficiently develops, he or she will be able to then integrate the bad with the good. This integration makes it possible for the infant to tolerate conflict. Klein felt that the establishment of a good internal object is a prerequisite for the later working through of the depressive position (Klein, 1975). This good object internalization can be augmented by good parenting, which can help “soothe any persecutory anxieties, thereby diminishing paranoid fears of bad objects and strengthening the relationship to good objects.” (Mitchell & Black, 1995, p. 94).
Klein believed that this splitting during this stage is essential for healthy development in that it enables the infant to take in and retai...
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