Play therapy is a commonly used technique to help children express their feelings and experiences in a natural and helpful way. Widely used today, a psychoanalyst named Melanie Klein played a pivotal role in developing this technique. Through her work with children, she observed that children often utilize play as one of their primary means of communication.
Since young children are not capable of some of the more commonly used Freudian techniques such as free association, Klein began to utilize play therapy as a way to investigate children’s unconscious feelings, anxieties, and experiences.
Klein’s work led to a major disagreement with Anna Freud, who believed that younger children could not be psychoanalyzed.7 Klein suggested that analyzing a child’s actions during play allowed the therapist to explore how various anxieties impact the development of the ego and the superego.
Today, Kleinian psychoanalysis is considered to be one of the major schools of thought within the field of psychoanalysis.