The (suicidal-) depressive position: a scientifically informed reformulation Academic Article uri icon


  • Despite considerable progress in depression research and treatment, the disorder continues to pose daunting challenges to scientists and practitioners alike. This article presents a novel conceptualization of the psychological dynamics of depression which draws from Melanie Klein's notion of the positions, reformulated using social-cognitive terms. Specifically, Klein's notion of position, consisting of anxieties (persecutory vs.“depressive”), defense mechanisms (“primitive”/split based vs. neurotic/repression based), and object relations (part vs. whole) is reformulated to include (1) affect, broadly defined,(2) affect regulatory strategies (defense mechanisms, coping strategies, and motivation regulation), and (3) mental representations of self-with-others, all pertaining to the past, present, and future. I reformulate the depressive position to include—beyond sadness, anxiety, and …

publication date

  • January 1, 2018