This chapter explores how anxiety is necessary for development to take place. It explores the link between Soren Kierkegaard’s existential views on anxiety with more recent psychoanalytic theories on anxiety as espoused by Sigmund Freud, Melanie Klein and Wilfred Bion in particular. The chapter postulates that an optimal degree of anxiety is more likely to be obtained by access, in early life, to a mind (often a parental figure) that is able to offer a containing and transformative function to the infant’s primitive destructive impulses and resultant fears and anxieties. Clinical examples are included to demonstrate the role of psychotherapy in providing an alternative containing presence that can tolerate and transform severe states of anxiety.
Part of the book: Psychopathology