Klein Revisited: A Re-evaluation of Klein’s Meaning for Psychoanalysis

This contribution re-evaluates the theoretical foundations of Kleinian psychoanalysis. Both the resistance to her work outside England and the relevance it has for working with children and psychotic patients are considered. Klein stresses the crucial importance of constitutional elements in psychic development and consequently focuses on internal dispositions and fantasies. The concepts of death-drive, continuity between normality and pathology, projective identification, and unconscious fantasy are explained and illustrated with clinical material. Finally their consequences for our diagnostic and therapeutic thinking are considered.

Manifestations of Thanatos, when the Demand for Love elicits a Negative Response

Based on clinical experience, this article examines some manifestations of the death-drive in relation to Lacan’s hypothesis that unwanted children are often prone to commit suicide. When the subject’s demand for love is repeatedly met with a negative response, the result is often a breaking-up of the death-drive. Different manifestations of the death-drive can be a response to the old death-wishes of the mother.

The Death Drive, regarding the Real

Where do we find the link between the Freudian death drive and the Lacanian Real? In this theoretical enquiry we trace the relationship between the growing pains of the death drive and the Real in the writings of Freud and Lacan. With Freud we examine the place of the death drive in a theoretical framework. This search inevitably leads to the constitution of the pleasure experience which is very hard to understand in relation to the death drive. We run into the trauma, which is the pleasurable encounter with the Real. Next we concentrate on the Lacanian elaboration of the death drive in the coming into being of the subject. Through this, we stumble upon the Real as that enigmatic category which escapes any elaboration. This Real is then examined in combination with the death drive in an attempt to formulate their relationship. The Borromean Knot of the Real-Symbolic-Imaginary in masochism concludes this paper.

Care and Repetition: About good, truth and writing

This article deals with the formidable challenge of repetition for therapeutic or educational care. Two forms of repetition are differentiated: one driven by the Oedipal life drive, the other by the death drive. Through a close reading of the classic myth of Oedipus Rex, the encounter of these forms of repetition is demonstrated. This myth also offers three main perspectives from which this work may be grasped: good, truth and writing. Originating in a project for abandoned children in a school for special education (De Sassepoort), the possible benefits of assisting children through writing is supported.

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Working and the Death Drive: On Literature and Children with Behavior Disorder

With reference to Mannoni (1979), it is argued that the clinical practitioner must, based on his own experience, continuously “retranslate” his theoretical language into his mother tongue. As an example, this paper focusses on how the author retranslates the Freudian notion of the death drive and Lacan’s category of the real, based on his educational and therapeutic work with children with behavior disorder. It is argued that these theoretical conceptions cover something that is not there but that nevertheless is operative. What is one to do when confronted with something that is not there but nevertheless is operative? The answer proposed is that one has to inscribe the subject in the sexual relation through the act of writing. This directive is illustrated via clinical work with children suffering from a psychically “silent” mother and is argued through a revisiting of the work of Fernando Pessoa.