Psychoanalysis In Depth

Behind my long sojourn in the world of groups and organisations, my commitment to psychoanalysis was gestating, and, again with the prompting of Bob Young and Free Associations, I turned to my roots in Kleinian psychoanalysis. I turned in this period more to writing directly about psychoanalysis, and my Dictionary of Kleinian Thought came out in 1989 and was surprisingly successful. I was lucky to be able to do this work, to develop talents as a scholar, and to have the publisher, Bob Young, also at the height of his career at the time (both a Darwin scholar, and a formidable protagonist for psychoanalysis). I had the opportunity to follow this up with Clinical Klein, that put flesh on the theoretical skeleton of the Dictionary. As a result of the success of these books, I felt an increasing confidence in developing more investigations of, and original ideas on, psychoanalysis and on social phenomena

1989 Dictionary of Kleinian Thought
RD Hinshelwood (London: Free Association Books)
The book was not a sudden inspiration, it was the fruition of a long period of learning psychoanalysis, and teaching psychoanalytic psychotherapy. In the course of the latter, I probably learned more than in the former, because it entailed struggling to make sense of what I was teaching. As a teacher it was not possible to bluster or take refuge in complexity. I learned how hard it is to be clear and straightforward. The book was therefore a setting down of much that I had struggled with for more than 10 years after I finished my own training. It was not completely successful, and entailed a second edition (1991) fairly rapidly to accommodate reservations that people had about the text. The publishers wanted a standard work, comprehensive and easily consulted. I adopted two principles which helped me make sense of my material. First, try to tell a story, a narrative. Even a set of conceptual definitions can be made into an interesting tale, and I came to think of concept as each having a biography analogous to the people who think the concepts. Second, make the story as dialectical as possible. Two sides appear to every concept, those who agree with it, and those who doubt it and want to adapt it or exclude it. Such stories may be about fierce debates and I became engrossed in the texts of the Controversial Discussions (1943-1944) long before they were published in 1993**. I knew I was, as a relatively junior psychoanalyst, and Kleinian psychoanalyst, taking a bit of a liberty in trying to write a classic text, and I was surprised it did take off magnificently, do largely to the generous industrious work of Bob Young and his team at Free Association Books. Their lack of observance of the paternalistic formalities of the psychoanalytic world and its seniorities has always been refreshing, and benefited me enormously.

1989 Little Hans’ transference.
Journal of Child Psychotherapy 15 63-78
This paper originally given some years before, engages with the debate over the nature of transference in children. It is interesting to look back at published material to find hints and reference unnoticed at the time.

1992 Psychodynamic formulation in assessment for psychotherapy.
British Journal of Psychotherapy 8 166-174. Republished 1995 (as ‘Psychodynamic formulation in diagnosis’), in Chris Mace (ed) The Art and Science of Assessment in Psychotherapy. (London: Routledge) pp. 155-166.
This paper, with which I was quite pleased, evolved from teaching and several presented versions. What I was able to show, with several good examples was that assessment is best done by looking at the dynamics in three key areas as might be elicited in a first interview. The three areas are (a) the object-relations of the current life situation, (b) the object-relations of the past, in the family of origin, and (c) the possible object-relations built up in the transference and countertransference of the interview. When the three tend to overlap, then that commonality points to a fundamental dynamic in the subject assessed.

1994 Clinical Klein
RD Hinshelwood (London: Free Association Books)
This book was important to me. Cautious reflection on already published material can give powerful insights. The very purpose of publishing detailed material is that it should give power and conviction to the arguments of the text. Having written the Dictionary, as a conceptual account of the development of Kleinian ideas, it seemed to have displaced the very substantial clinical material that Kleinian psychoanalysts liberally fertilised their papers. Hence this book attempted to complement the Dictionary by counterpoising the theory with an account of the actual experiences recorded. In other words it was an ‘illustrated’ account of Kleinian thought. I found too, that it was more possible to give a through account of more up-to-date ideas – perhaps especially because there had been an enormous emphasis on technique and practice since the 1980s, stimulated by Betty Joseph, her writing and her regular workshop.

1992 Psycho-analysis and the therapeutic community – comments on Maxwell Jones.
International Journal of Therapeutic Communities 12 109-115.
The relation between therapeutic communities and psychoanalysis has been very varied, and this is exemplified by Maxwell Jones one of the very earliest pioneers of the therapeutic community approach during WW2. He had a brief analysis with Melanie Klein but turned quickly to more social measures, the influence of the the culture of the treatment unit, and its context in wider society.

1993 The countryside. Paper presented at Freud Museum Conference, Ecological Madness.
British Journal of Psychotherapy 10 202-210.
Attitudes to the countryside have changed over the centuries. In Shakespeare’s day the heath was counterpoised as a dangerous place with the hearth, the safety of the home, the village, and other people. Today the countryside has become an idyllic place for recuperation in the minds of townsfolk. Psychoanalytic understanding of states of danger and persecution, and of idealisation, can probe the experiences of individuals in these culturally diverse time periods.