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Klein takes what might be seen as the typical psychoanalytic route. In Narrative of a Child Analysis she attributes the absence of dreams to a form of psychological resistance on the part of her patient. Across Europe throughout the nineteenth century, depression had been characterised by the medical profession as a general tendency towards gloomy thoughts and, specifically, it was thought to have an endogenous origin, arising from a weakened nervous system.

Depression, at least in continental Europe, came to feature an exogenous component: reactions to the environment could induce states of psychological maladjustment. This analysis of depression ultimately served two purposes for Klein. It provided a theoretical basis for approaching the absence of dream reports.

It also had the pragmatic effect of provoking a reaction from the patient, providing further material to work with. In her analysis of Richard she identifies his depression as an emotional reaction to changing domestic circumstances. This construction of an emotional perspective allowed Klein to account for the lack of dream material. In the case of Richard, the shifting family circumstances explained his difficulty in producing dream reports. But this approach also served Klein pragmatically.

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By presenting the patient with a construction of their own emotional viewpoint, she provided an opportunity for response. An adult female patient, for example, recounts a partially remembered dream in which she reports appearing naked at school. In contrast to Klein, Winnicott does not deploy the notion of depression.

I was able to go on to develop the theme of the analytic situation and together we worked out a rather clear statement of the specialized conditions provided by the analyst …. Following this the patient had a very important dream. In early twentieth-century Britain, psychoanalysis was taken up as a topic of interest by middle-class magazines and newspapers.

Winnicott also regularly gave lectures to teachers, nurseries and mothers.

Melanie Klein

In his approach to the lack of dreams, Winnicott draws on an appreciation that patients do not arrive with an understanding of the specifics of his therapeutic approach. He therefore sees the role of the analyst as something that must be established rather than assumed, particularly if dream material is to be forthcoming. Klein does not expect her patients to read her dense, technically worded texts. They are produced almost exclusively for a professional psychoanalytic readership.

It was available freepost for a fraction of the cost of an average psychoanalytic text. In such cases it provided a means by which Winnicott could induce a patient to reassess the role of the analyst. Rather, a number of patients saw a role for Winnicott in direct opposition to his theoretical view. Instead of acting as a medium for communication, patients requested that Winnicott remain silent in order that they may come to a personal understanding of their problems.

Texts from this period explicitly contrasted the emphasis on self-discovery in psychoanalysis with the alleged imposition of interpretation found in hypnotism and mental suggestion. Indeed, in one instance Winnicott breaks his silence to the effect of frustrating his patient:. On Monday I did say two things, and I said them not because I found it difficult to be silent but because I thought they ought to be said …. On another occasion, the mere sound of Winnicott folding his notes frustrates the patient into responding to him:. It appears that as she got up to go there was a sound as if paper were being crinkled.

A focus on the role of the analyst provided patients with an opportunity to contest the mechanics of therapy. This produced emotional responses which then formed the basis of further work.

Griffith tackled the problem of limited dream material differently to both Klein and Winnicott. Crucially, he is the only therapist to actively encourage patients to write down and record their dreams. In a number of cases, patients even forwarded their dream material by post in advance of a session. I also show [patients] how to work out their dreams in the manner described, so that they can bring the dream and its context with them in writing to the consultation ….

However, in tying together the practice of dream-recording and personal responsibility, Griffith both relied on and reinforced ideas developing within the marriage guidance movement in which he was situated. In light of an increasing divorce rate, post-war political concerns had once again turned to the topic of marital breakdown.


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This approach, whilst highly contested by the s, reflected a view on behalf of the National Marriage Guidance Council that married couples needed to take personal responsibility for their problems. By encouraging his patients to record their dreams, Griffith ensured that there would always be material to work with during any given session. Edward Griffith prepares his lecture notes left on the back of a discarded dream right.

This was often achieved by making novel use of the writing practice encouraged by Griffith. One patient indicated which dreams she believed to be of particular significance by underlining passages in her dream diary. There seems to be some vague connection here with the dream. From the s onwards, members of the British middle classes had taken to recording their dreams at the moment of waking.

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This provided another means by which they could establish the relevance of certain dreams, even if only partially remembered. The effect was such that this dream was collected together with others by Griffith for work on a potential publication. Given the active role played by patients in responding to forgotten dreams, it is unsurprising to find that child analysis proved a particularly challenging domain.

Indeed, early mental life was conceptualised in such a way that the question of young children forgetting dreams made little sense. It is possible that all this talking represented the components of a dream which he had had at night. But it is also possible that this story had slowly prepared itself in him in the foregoing weeks.

Nonetheless, forgotten dreams still had a role to play. Rather, in addressing this problem, therapists developed a range of new practices. As such, dreams and the patients who forgot them once again acted as a catalyst for further developments in psychotherapeutic practice.

In post-war London, diverse social, institutional and theoretical commitments produced a range of subtly different practices surrounding forgotten dreams. Crucially, these approaches were also actively shaped by patients, particularly in achieving the pragmatic task of restoring dream analysis as a medium of communication. A number of broader conclusions concerning both the history of psychotherapy and the place of the patient in post-war medicine should be drawn from this study.

First, as examples from Winnicott and Griffith demonstrate, the popularisation of psychoanalysis often fed back into practice. Well aware of this, some practitioners cultivated reading audiences in the hope of establishing a particular brand of therapy. Such strategies were only partially successful. Second, the advent of the post-war welfare state undoubtedly transformed the doctor—patient relationship in Britain.

But this shift occurred in tandem with a range of new private services. In particular, the lack of substantial state support for long-term psychotherapy, contraception or marriage guidance ensured a considerable amount of cross-over between private and public practices. As this paper demonstrates, patients too played an active role in securing a space in which they would be treated as autonomous individuals.

Third, the sheer diversity of approaches adopted towards forgotten dreams reinforces the need to study the development of post-Freudian technique in further detail. But, despite this diversity, it is noteworthy that all four practitioners, along with their patients, agreed on the significance of dreams and the problematic nature of forgetting. In post-war London, patients could no longer afford to ignore their dreams, and neither can we. Freud, op. Burke, op.

Kroker, op. Griffith, op. She was youngest of four children.

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Her academic studies were interrupted by marriage and children. Her marriage failed and her son died in a climbing accident, that may have been a suicide, while her daughter, whom Klein had analysed as a child, the well-known psychoanalyst Melitta Schmideberg , fought her openly in the British Psychoanalytical Society. Her daughter's analyst at the time, Edward Glover , openly challenged Klein in the British Society meetings.

Mother and daughter were not reconciled before Klein's death, and Schmideberg did not attend Klein's funeral. She was an atheist, but she never forgot her Jewish roots. Although Klein questioned some of the fundamental assumptions of Sigmund Freud , she always considered herself a faithful adherent of Freud's ideas. Klein was the first person to use traditional psychoanalysis with young children. She was innovative in both her techniques [6] such as working with children using toys and her theories on infant development.

Strongly opinionated, and demanding loyalty from her followers, Klein established a highly influential training program in psychoanalysis. She is considered one of the co-founders of object relations theory.