Susan Kavaler-Adler, PhD, ABPP, D.Litt, NCPsyA

March 14, 2014; 8:00–10:00 PM

In this timely Friday night presentation, Dr. Susan Kavaler-Adler will discuss some critical theory about Melanie Klein's own theory construction, which is more fully explicated in her latest book, Klein-Winnicott Dialectic: New Metapsychology and Interactive Clinical Theory (Karnac, 2014). She will share her speculations about Klein's attachment to her metapsychology of the death instinct, despite the superfluous nature of this metapsychology for the clinical relevance of her developmental thinking, and despite the large opposition to her metapsychology.

Dr. Kavaler-Adler will also propose her own view of a fitting metapsychology for Klein's clinical and developmental theory, particularly that of the paranoid-schizoid and depressive positions. In the course of this narrative about Melanie Klein's theorizing, Dr. Kavaler-Adler will speak about the biographical research of Phyllis Grosskurth (1988), Melanie Klein's biographer, and particularly her research into the letters written by Klein's mother, which showed how the internalized nature of Klein's mother could have contributed to Klein holding on to the metapsychology of her (not Freud's) "death instinct" theory, in the face of self-sabotaging consequences.

The drama of Klein's internal mother will be front stage center in this presentation, and it will serve to illustrate how one's theories are connected to his/her own internal world, as well as being evoked in the theorist's clinical environment. Of noteworthy interest, as well, is how Melanie Klein can be seen to have consciously protected the image of her mother, and demonized herself and her children, acting out the psychodynamic scenario of Ronald Fairbairn's "moral defense." As a result, a split-off bad object mother could have emerged into the external world through a metapsychological theory that becomes irrelevant to the clinical situation. This can be seen as one form of addiction to an internal "bad" object.