Counselling and Psychotherapy
The Development of the Unconscious in Britain
Klein has talked about the unconscious phantasies that underlie every mental process and accompany all mental activity. According to her, there is a somatic representation of mental events (Klein, 2013). This theory was the extension and development of Sigmund Freud’s understanding of the unconscious mind. As per Klein, infant’s experiences of the unconscious phantasy affect all the childhood interpersonal relations (Britzman, 2012). This theory has helped psychologists understand how the internal representation of unconscious phantasy plays an important role and how the individuals relate to others later in the life. In this, the objects which the individual come across are unconsciously integrated interjected and later unconsciously projected onto others. This might cause a change in perception or an adulterated view of the other person. Early childhood relationship establishes mental models or mental representation that an individual develops throughout their life (Segal, 2012). These mental models later impact the individual’s experiences and new relationships but it is in an unconscious manner.
Phantasy is a state of mind of an infant child during its early stage of development. These phantasies are mainly unconscious and they do not differentiate between the conscious realities. In the pre-lingual stage, a child is not able to distinguish between reality and imagination. 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 is contacted from internal and external reality. They are modified by different feelings and then they 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 an infant is firstly perceived and processed by the unconscious phantasy. They are throughout all the mental activities of the infant. Phantasy is the mental expression of both aggressive and libidinal impulses.
Phantasies lead to anxieties. Winnicott talked about unthinkable anxieties which are the sense of going into pieces as a baby. People shatter their embryonic ego. The developments that happen as child during the pre-verbal phase do not have a language but they remain implicit in memory. This memory that infants have is not explicit. When the infants grow as adults, it gets played in the minds as episodes. But, since these are laid down in the neural pathways, therefore, the rejection can be anticipated. As per Lamothe, (2014) an infant’s dependence on her parent has been explained by Winnicott as passing through three stages of 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 of caregiving to another (Winnicott, 2014). The theory essentially talks about the caregiving relationship and how it develops the infant as they go ahead. As per Caldwell (2014) this relationship is described by Winnicott as having three overlapping stages. During each of these stages, care takes different meanings than the one before. These stages are not distinct and do not have a definitive finish, with the infant and the caregiver swinging back and forth in overlapping stages. The stages are holding and care to give and to live together. These stages strongly overlap each other.
Lamothe (2014) says that this theory describes the satisfying parental care can be classified into three major overlapping stages. Firstly, it is holding. A child is born with a tendency to hold things. That is the way the child studies the environment. Secondly, it is mother and infant living together. Here the father’s function as acting as an environment for the child has not been discussed. Thirdly the father, mother and infants all live together. So, though the 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 of defenses, relation to the external objects and the anxieties (Flynn, 2015). This theory tells about the fantasies that are involved in the various processes during the childhood but that are nor regarded as probable. But Williams (2016) has questioned that whether the activities related 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 is afterwards followed by more mature depressive position. It is believed by McIvor (2015) that the paranoid schizoid state of mind in children is considered to be existing from birth to four to six months of age (Kalsched, 2014) says that this is shattering of the embryonic ego. It is not a part of our explicit memory. We get the episodes of these memories as adults. Implicit memory forms a part of our neural path hence we retain a part of it.
After the brain starts to remind of the early memories, then comes the theory of holding where it becomes the responsibility of the environment to take care of all the things. Per Schwartz (2016) it is that period of life when the babies need to signal their needs and the caregiver must get entrenched with him/her. The day to day concerns are not talked about in the theory; instead, the theory regards both as one unit. Anderson (2014) believes that when this process of holding happens, it contributes greatly to the psychology of infant.
Klein (2013) says that after holding time ends, the depressive position is experienced during the middle of the first year of the child. It is present throughout the childhood and intermittently throughout the life. As per Klein depressive position starts after paranoid-schizoid position, nearly about 3-4 months. It may continue as a forceful role throughout life (Skolnick, 2013).
Klein (2013) also offers an understanding of the way by which the psychological birth of infant happens. This theory is proved and justified because its results are dependent on the sound clinical observations which give a pre-verbal experience to the people. As per (Caper, 2014) the innovations done by Klein has successfully described the experience of the infants in her own terms and the observations have helped in opening the paths of exploration into this world.
So, when the theory of Klein became popular and implementable, Winnicott came up with the concept of play. According to Rudnytsky (2013) this play has the greatest role to play in the life and the culture of the adults. Here, the transitional space and the transitional phenomenon are used by the adults to develop their personalities. This was more effective than the previous theory because the effects of this theory were visible directly. Winnicott clearly described that play and creativity is ideal for the virtual world. But, Winnicott has continued Klein principle of studying play in the way of understanding a child.
The child has various ego stages that determine the way a person takes this theory personally or the way this theory becomes implementable in the lives of people. So, Winnicott says that the capacity to be alone is one of the most important phases of development of the ego. (Borossa, 2015) has supported his view and he has said that the manifestation of silence may be a positive example of achievement. The silence can simply depict the capacity to be alone. Here the positive aspects of being alone will be discussed. There is a fundamental and essential component that lies in the capacity of the person to be alone that is the capacity of the person to be alone when there is the presence of someone else (Schwartz, 2016).
When a person is alone, he is more aware of his body parts as he can feel everything from the core of his heart and can realise the importance of the way he is living or the way he should live. In light of this view, the term part object has been coined by Klein. It is the preoccupation of certain body parts. As per Klein, when the self and the objects are combined, an infant can feel his physical present which can give him pleasure. Arzt et al. (2014) has given an example to prove this, if any person is suffering from pain in breast, then the bad part is the breast. But Bion (2013) says that this depends on the perception of the infant that what he is feeling and how he perceives the external environment.
From here, there is move from part object to whole object functioning. It is difficult to provide single definition for this concept. As per Klein another person who is recognised as having rights, feeling, needs, hopes just like one’s own is termed as the whole object. Britzman (2016) says that one will definitely realise that mother one hated is the mother one loved. In this case, the mother is being treated as a whole object and not as a part object. The child has different feelings towards her and not just a part of her. Here the child treats her as a different person and these feelings keep on changing during the lifetime
As per Klein, this occurs when a child is not able to keep two contradictory feelings at the same time. According to Hinshelwood & Robinson (2014) there is a constant conflict in itself. The child is not able to focus on them simultaneously. Eventually, the child focuses on one of them. This leads the child to land in a less conflicting situation. Children are generally away from conflicting thoughts which can be well established by this theory. But, this is contrasting to the psychic mechanism used by the infant. Infants own feeling makes them feel that the object has qualities. Projective identification includes imaginatively splitting part of oneself to control other. It is an unconscious fantasy. In this, the internal object is split off and attributed to an external object. The projected side must be felt by projector, either its good or bad (Cataldo, 2013).
As per Klein, infants come into this world with life and death instincts. Love is the manifestation of life and hate is the manifestation of death instinct. From the beginning of the life, infant’s experiences both life and death instincts (Blass, 2014). Life and death instincts are first experience in relation to the mother. The newly formed egos of infant must be protected from the death instincts. Kuhn (2013) mentions that when one gets the two types of instincts, they develop a potential space, which is a theory given by Winnicott. Here, they make a space between themselves and the environment (Bouaziz, 2013).
After this, the transition phenomena are talked about where the child prepares for sleep and goes over a repertoire of songs and tunes within the intermediate area as transition phenomenon. Addiction to those can be stated as a term of regression to the early stage at which transition phenomenon are unchallenged (Barreto, 2015). The concept of Winnicott has been done using variety of methods. These theories can only be benefited by experimental validation. Winnicott has drawn his own experience.
During transition, the child develops envy. The analysis of envy can produce quite interesting results. Here it can recognise and overcome past good experiences. This creates a circle of many good feeling which previously denied but now can be tolerated. Uncovering envy gives possibility of discovering pleasures (Gerhardt, 2016). Its analysis gives a possibility of loving self which has been attacked and destroyed and so lost. But, opposed to envy is gratitude. As per Klein the destructive drives are expressed by envy and is usually aimed at the object which provides gratification. Therefore, envy can see to lessen or destroy the gratitude towards good object. Gratitude is derived towards the object that produces satisfaction and appreciation (Klein, 2013). Gratitude is towards child’s good object and subsequently shapes child’s love and capacity to shape love relationship throughout life.
After sometime, the child psychological development ceases and experiences impingement. There are chances he could feel ignored. His desires need to be answered; there he could feel problems with his own subjectivity. This can even cause trauma to the child (Ogden, 2014). If the transition is effective, then there are chances that the child will develop a healthy false self. This can be represented to the world the way they are comfortable. Otherwise, there are chances that the child will remain uncomfortable with itself. Winnicott sees the role of mothers as very significant. Mothers have a sense of control and comfort being connected with the baby (Eigen, 2013). It is the sense of integrity. A true self and false self-was identified by Winnicott. The true-self sets your own identity by which you can establish what you want from the society. A child is generally 100% true self. The relationship of humans with pets shows true self. The relationship of a human with dog shows true self (Ehrensaft, 2012).
In relation with the love of people, the term reparation was introduced by Klein (Diamond, 2013). There is difference between true reparation and manic reparation which is later driven by guilt and then from overcoming it (Klein, 2015)
Both Winnicott and Klein never went against each other approaches. Where Klein mostly talked about the child psychology and focus of Winnicott was on the theories which were based on both child and adult psychology. Winnicott also supported and extended Klein’s work. Both the psychoanalyst are very well known in their field. Both Winnicott and Klein have been leading psychoanalyst of their era (Aguayo & Regeczkey, 2016)
To summaries Winnicott’s idea the child will develop a healthy false self-depending on the quality of the care received by the mother. If the quality of the care from the mother is bad, then it will lead to an unhealthy false self. Initially a carer supports the illusion. The carer then gradually disillusion and the child understands its individuality (Schwartz, 2016). From the above discussion, it can be concluded that Klein analysed the psychic states operating at the level of unconscious phantasy. Hence it disconnects it from outside world. On the other hand, Winnicott accepted her view but also stated that the development of the child cannot be studied without taking the external environment into consideration. The child can have varying interaction with the parent figures which influence its development. Similar to Klein’s depressive position he also considered the detail of how the infant transition forms are undifferentiated unity to independence. Thus, there is realisation of a separate person.
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