Klein and Fairbairn Essay

Klein and Fairbairn Essay

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Klein and Fairbairn are both object relations theorists who believed that early object relations significantly influence one’s development and personality. While they have this main commonality, they each have their own conceptualizations about healthy development, as well as the origins of psychopathology. The following paragraphs will attempt to first reiterate some of the major postulates of their theories and their notions of normal development, and then attempt to explain how they understand the emergence of neurosis.
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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...ess. pp. 104-137.
Rachman, A. (n.d.) The significance of confusion of tongues theory.
St. Clair, M. (1996). Object relations and Self-Psychology: An introduction (2nd Edition). CT: Brooks/Cole-Thomson Learning.
St. Clair, M. (2004). Object relations and self psychology : An introduction (4th Edition). Stamford, CT: Brooks/Cole-Thomson Learning.
Summers, F. (1994). Object relations theories and psychopathology: A comprehensive text. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press.
Winnicott, D.W. (1956)
Winnicott, D.W. (1960). “Ego distortion in terms of true and false self” in The Maturational process and the facilitating environment: Studies in the theory of emotional development. New York, NY: International UP Inc., pp. 140-152.
Winnicott, D.W. (2008). “The use of an object and relating through identifications” in Playing and reality. New York, NY: Routledge.

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