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Melanie Klein was the first child psychoanalyst who delineated the rich and astounding inner lives of infants and young children and demonstrated the fundamental importance of mothers’ roles in human development. She was one of the founders of the “object relation theory” school, and her concepts – including “projective identification,” “depressive position,” and “paranoid-schizophrenic position” – have remained influential in clinical practice. Klein grew up in an impoverished immigrant family and suffered from multiple losses during her childhood and young adulthood, including the death of her father and two of her siblings. During most of her adult life, she was weighed down by a very difficult marriage, as well as estrangement from her own children. Her decades’ long fights with Anna Freud made life even more difficult for her (and for others). Yet, she survived it all and went on to make major contributions. This chapter provides a sketch of Klein’s life, focusing on various difficulties confronting her throughout her life, and their relationship with her insights and contributions.
Anna Freud, the youngest of Freud’s six children, devoted her entire life to promoting psychoanalysis and taking care of Freud, professionally and personally. Along with Melanie Klein, she was the first to use psychoanalysis to treat child and adolescent patients, and is thus regarded as one of the “mothers” of psychoanalysis. She also conducted pioneering research on the plight of children during wars and the care of orphans and children who were separated from their mothers. As a neglected child herself, she battled severe depression and anorexia during adolescence. After five years of “secret” psychoanalysis with her father, she emerged as a total devotee of him and his cause, and became a fervent defender of his legacy. Significantly, Anna’s professional career coincided with her intense relationship with Dorothy Burlingham, an heiress of the Tiffany fortune, whose four children were among the first child patients treated by Anna. The two became lifelong “partners” for the last four decades of their lives, eventually living together and co-owning a number of properties. Irrespective of whether they were lesbian lovers, their solid bond served them well and contributed to the success of their remarkable careers.
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