Medium 9781855752368

The Legacy of Winnicott

Views: 1357
Ratings: (0)

'This excellent book is an intellectual feast and it should be required reading for all students of psychology. It offers an in-depth knowing on Winnicott, his life, his work, and his wisdom. The excellent contributions are written in a very accessible style, bringing the ideas and concepts truly alive to the reader.'- Margot Sunderland, Director, The Centre for Child Mental Health, London

List price: $28.99

Your Price: $23.19

You Save: 20%

Remix
Remove
 

13 Chapters

Format Buy Remix

1. D. W. Winnicott: the transitional thinker

ePub

Robert Langs

I begin this chapter by confessing that I have a mind far more inclined to unremembering and repression than would be my preference, if I had a choice. But that inclination helps to explain why I remember only one speaker of the many who graced my analytic institute’s Saturday morning guest speaker programme for its fledgling candidates. On the other hand, this tendency of mine to repress makes it uncanny and intriguing that the speaker in question was, as I later rediscovered, none other than Donald Winnicott, the man whom we honour with this volume.

My recall is thin, but I do know that it was a bright, sunny day in the 1960s, and the setting was an old, dingy classroom at King’s County Hospital in Brooklyn, New York. Fixed in my mind is a tallish, wiry man with a charming British accent, speaking with great yet reserved animation, chalk in hand, making odd little scribbling diagrams on the portable blackboard that stood beside him. That is the all of it.

The question that I have asked myself many times is this: Why has that particular memory, that man, stayed fixed in my mind all these many years? I have no recollection whatsoever of what he said. And I am certain that much of it was quite unfamiliar to me and out of keeping with the thrust of what I was learning in my classically orientated psychoanalytic institute. Indeed, I am sure that there was no introductory reading of his work and no follow-up discussion of his ideas. It was as if an apparition had materialized and had come and gone without leaving a trace.

 

2. An meeting with Donald Winnicott in 1965

ePub

Paul Roazen

Every interview that I conducted with any of the early psy choanalysts always succeeded in teaching me something special. While many of those that I saw during my most intense fieldwork during the mid-1960s were either relatively obscure then or have been generally forgotten by now, Donald Winnicott remains an outstanding exception to any such generalization. For, rather to my amazement, his stature has continued to grow, so that there is now not only a large bust of him at the headquarters of the British Psycho-Analytical Society, but his writings have been translated into many languages. With the passage of time, his reputation has eclipsed that of many who were once considered leading representatives of the profession.

It is true that at the time I proposed to see Winnicott in September of 1965, he had already been recommended to me by someone as reliably intellectual as Dr Charles Rycroft as “the genius of British analysis”. Rycroft went through Winnicott’s (1958a) book Collected Papers: Through Paediatrics to Psycho-Analysis in order to help tutor me about which articles I ought to read first.

 

3. The personality of the foetus

ePub

Lloyd deMause

There is much more continuity between intra-uterine life and earliest infancy than the impressive caesura of the act of birth would have us believe.

[Freud, 1926, p. 138]

Donald Winnicott’s beginnings as a paediatrician gave him a unique ability to empathize with children and with the childhood experiences of his adult patients. But Winni-cott’s genius allowed him to take a giant step further: he did not hesitate to acknowledge the reality of foetal experiences—and even the foetal personality—in his patients, to help them relive perinatal trauma and resolve some of their deepest anxieties.

Even though Freud (1900a, p. 400) said that he had come to believe that “the act of birth is the first experience of anxiety”, Winnicott had no major psychoanalytic writings on foetal memories to draw upon. However, taking pains to separate his observations fromRank’s (1929) birth-trauma speculations, Winnicott (1949b) wrote amajor paper on the subject: “Birth Memories, Birth Trauma, and Anxiety”. This seminal article, however, was little noticed, since, as he said: “It is rare to find doctors who believe that the experience of birth is important to the baby, that it could have any significance in the emotional development of the individual, and that memory traces of the experience could persist and give rise to trouble even in the adult” (Winnicott, 1949b, p. 175).

 

4. Mother—infant psychotherapy: a classification of eleven psychoanalytic treatment strategies

ePub

Stella Acquarone

In this chapter I describe the wide range of psychotherapeutic interventions with parents and infants who are experiencing difficulties in their relationships or in themselves. For this purpose I introduce the theme from its clinical and social observation perspectives and then describe the setting up of a project, the Parent Infant Clinic, followed by the theoretical background. Specific psychoanalytic instruments are explored, concluding with a description of the different kinds of intervention, arranged according to various client groups.

There is a group of children who, from birth, are reported to have difficulty in thriving, bonding, coping with anxiety, or tolerating frustrations. The mother’s attitude often contributes to the problem. The result is emotional disturbance, expressed as continuous screaming for no apparent reason, breath-holding, feeding difficulties, sleeping difficulties, or similar symptoms.

There is a common pattern in children who are referred for psychotherapy, who are receiving special education, who are in foster care, who have been institutionalized, or who have suffered from non-accidental injury. From a very early stage of their development, these children have shown symptoms that have been confirmed by one or more professionals working with them. These symptoms could include sleeping difficulties, withdrawal, hyper-activity, and so forth.

 

5. The wider applications of infant observation

ePub

Judith Trowell

The capacity to observe is part of our humanity. From the start, babies use their eyes, their ears, touching, holding, smelling, and tasting to explore and to make sense of their environment. But for most individuals, except for the blind, the eyes take the lead because of the complexity and subtlety of the social setting into which babies are born. They use their eyes to scan the environment to gather information; and they use their eyes to convey their feelings and their needs; and they use their eyes to take in the feelings and communications from those around them. Eye contact is one of the core means by which we communicate and build relationships, and it is a key mechanism by which we develop attachments. Gaze avoidance or an inability to sustain eye contact is an important signal about the state of the relationship or the emotional state of the individual involved. Aware of it or not, we are all using our eyes, giving out and taking in all the time.

Certain groups of people have, since before records are available, valued observation. The North American Indians and the Australian indigenous peoples spent considerable time training their children and young people to observe in minute detail the environment in which they lived. The result was adults who could, without conscious thought, notice tiny changes that were rarely perceptible, and they could then integrate and use this information to help make decisions about sources of food, water, and danger. They were better fitted to survive than those who were unable to observe.

 

6. From baby games to let’s pretend: the achievement of playing

ePub

Juliet Hopkins

I first met Dr Winnicott in 1960, when I had the opportunity to observe him performing “snack-bar psychotherapy” (Winni cott, 1963a, p. 344): his name for the provision of the least help needed to release a child from a developmental impasse. Winnicott did this work in his role as a child psychiatrist at the Paddington Green Children’s Hospital. On the day that I visited, the last child patient was what was then called “an illegitimate child”—a boy of seven years who was brought by his voluble Irish mother. When the interview with Winnicott was over, the boy ran off to the toilet. As he emerged to rejoin his mother, I was amazed to see Winnicott stand up and bar his way. I was still more amazed when, in a flash, the boy climbed straight up Winnicott, slithered over his shoulder, and ran to his mother’s arms. We all laughed, and Winnicott said something about the boy’s courage standing him in good stead.

Winnicott’s playful use of an oedipal challenge to this fatherless boy was a startling contrast to the exclusively interpretative approach to which I had been introduced at the Tavistock Clinic. As students of child psychotherapy, we were not expected in those days to initiate play with children. Perhaps Winnicott enjoyed having presented an unorthodox challenge to me as well as to his patient.

 

7. Psychoanalytic perspectives on traumatized children: the Armenia experience

ePub

Sira Dermen

My work with earthquake survivors in Armenia might be called applied psychoanalysis—which is true but some what misleading. The story starts not with professional identity, but with national identity. I went to Armenia in the wake of a major disaster because I am Armenian. That a psychoanalytic perspective was of value in the midst of the rubble of Spitak was a discovery for me; equally, that the psychoanalytic community would find my thoughts on this subject of interest.

My approach is personal. I have made three working trips to Armenia since the earthquake, and my vision has gradually changed. The process is best captured in a phrase of Martha Wolfenstein (1957, p. 189): “the rise and fall of the post-disaster utopia”. Two years have passed since my first trip and I am having to face the fall of my own utopia.

This utopia was not sustained by illusions about the adequacy of the work I did there. Rather, it was associated with an intensity of personal commitment, called forth by the immensity of the suffering of the people with whom I worked. I quote again from Wolfenstein:

 

8. On losing your marble

ePub

Alasdair Honeyman

Experte credite
Trust one who has gone through it

Joseph had a bone tumour in his hip called an osteosarcoma. Because of its position, it had time to grow quite large before it came to anyone’s attention. This is an excerpt from Joseph’s life, when he was on the ward where I worked for eight months. It is also the story of how we got to know each other, and how we negotiated the reality of his osteosarcoma, whose various guises you will get to know.

Joseph’s marble was as big as an orange. He was eight when he arrived on the ward with his parents, and the diagnosis truly stove in on them like a wave. Questions whirled and spumed, but with neither easy answers nor easy solutions, it was difficult to know what words to offer. What armbands, what dinghy, what raft could help? This was their hurricane of disorientation. It was Joseph’s marble, Joseph’s malignancy, Joseph’s nasty thing growing in his hip as big as an orange. How could I sit tight with this blast of knowledge as they flailed about in its wake?

 

9. The false self and the false body

ePub

Susie Orbach

This centenary collection gives me an opportunity both to pay tribute to Winnicott, from whom we have all learned so much, and also to clarify and extend one of his most famous concepts—that of the “false self”. I believe that this central concept of Winnicott’s has been misunderstood, that the adaptive and creative aspects of the false self as a response to an unfacilitating environment has not been sufficiently appreciated, and that once we understand Winnicott’s metaphor more fully, the way will open to extend this powerful concept to include the concept of a “false body”. The extension of the false self to include a false body illuminates current difficulties in our understanding of psychosomatic development, as well as opening up the analyst’s bodily experiences as an important but often neglected dimension of clinical work.

As I begin to write, I am aware of my desire to surrender to the sensuousness of Winnicott’s idiom, to be held by his concepts and to allow my thinking and writing to come from that place that he calls the transitional experience. The atmosphere he creates in his psychoanalytic writing combines an understanding of the profound and the highly personal. He makes, for the reader, a facilitating environment, out of which the personal means for creativity can flourish.

 

10. Memories of Donald Winnicott

ePub

E. James Anthony

I am quite delighted about this book for Donald Winnicott, and I am sure that he will be pleased. He reacted with pain when he felt that his contributions were overlooked or seized upon and quoted without acknowledgement, although he was ready to admit that he himself was never sure from where at least a few of his plethora of ideas originated. However, his paradoxical, meta-psychic, eccentric expressive talents were all inimitably his own, and they gave his work a recognizable stamp that immediately differentiated his thinking from that of other British psychoana-lysts—except perhaps Marion Milner (1972, 1978), whose wonderful caricatured portrayal of him stays forever in my mind.

I will select a few memories of him that stick out in my mind. He was the chairman of the examining board of the institute of Psycho-Analysis in London that assembled to assess my competence to become a member. My membership paper was accepted and my answers to questions apparently passed muster, but what I recall very distinctly was his encouraging smile and his repeated efforts to set me—a nervous “me”—at ease. I also remember clinging to a piece of paper containing what I thought to be crucial concepts until it was soaked with sweat, and I imagined wondering whether he perceived me with his remarkably observant eyes as clinging for dear life to my transitional object!

 

11. My experience of Winnicott

ePub

Hugh Gee

My tutor in psychology specialized in perception, and his tolerance of Freud and the dynamic branch of psychology was almost non-existent. At that time, I was unaware of the differences that existed within the field of psychology, and my own inclinations towards psychoanalytical concepts were treated with some degree of contempt by my tutor, who was constantly proclaiming that there was no truth in a concept unless it could be subjected to a repeatable experiment. He did not enlighten me as to the differing schools of thought, so I began to think that I was not suited to the study of psychology.

Winnicott had been invited by one of the student societies to give a paper. I had never heard of Winnicott, so it was by extreme good fortune that I attended his lecture. I had not realized how demoralized I had been made to feel by my tutor until I heard Winnicott’s paper. For me, it was not just a “breath of fresh air”, but more like the “kiss of life”. Later, when discussing Winnicott’s paper, my tutor’s prejudice became very obvious to me, but worse still, I could see how much my tutor was concerned with my complying with his views rather than helping me to acquire knowledge and develop my own ideas. This, of course, was an old scare, for as a child I had been forced to develop a managing persona in the face of my parents’ insistence on my complying. It was for that reason that I remember Winnicott saying, when he gave his next paper at Oxford, “I am allergic to propaganda”. This comment was made in response to a student saying how Winnicott “ought” to think about some subject.

 

12. D. W. Winnicott

ePub

David Holbrook

I met Donald Winnicott only once, on an occasion when he came to talk to an undergraduate society at the University of Cam bridge. I was attending as a senior member. Before then, and afterward, I was in frequent correspondence with him, because he had become one of my major luminaries.

There were two reasons for this. One was that my wife was having psychotherapy and I was trying to adjust to this. I probably needed it more than she did, but, like most intellectuals, I wanted to study the problem theoretically, and someone—it may have been the professor of anthropology, Meyer Fortes, whose wife was a psychoanalyst—put me on to Winnicott. I was also working with the “bottom-stream” children at a secondary modern school (one of the Cambridgeshire Village Colleges), and these were presenting me with difficulties that were unbelievable until I began to understand some of their problems in the light of Winni-cott’s writings. I have written about these children in my book, English for the Rejected: Training Literacy in the Lower Streams of the Secondary School (Holbrook, 1964), which Winnicott read and liked.

 

13. Winnicottiana: a selection of some hithertofore unpublished documents

ePub

Brett Kahr

A sonnet by Barbara Dockar-Drysdale

In 1958, Mrs. Barbara Dockar-Drysdale, one of Winnicott’s most devoted students and supervisees, wrote a poem: “A Sonnet for Winnicott”. This poem moved Winnicott deeply; he did not throw it away but kept it preserved among his papers, and I found it in the Donald W. Winnicott Papers, in the Archives of Psychiatry at the Cornell Medical Center in New York City, New York. The initials “P.D.D.” at the top of the poem stand for “Pip Dockar-Drysdale”. All of Mrs. Dockar-Drysdale’s friends referred to her not as Barbara but, rather, as “Pip”. Mrs. Dockar-Drysdale seems to have written this during the Christmas period, and the poem concerns the abilities of young children. I have reproduced the poem without any alterations of punctuation or format. Mrs. Dockar-Drysdale had not seen this poem in nearly 35 years. When I located it, I sent her a copy, and she told me how touched she felt to have had the opportunity to read the work again after all this time.

 

Details

Print Book
E-Books
Chapters

Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Sku
B000000020699
Isbn
9781780497006
File size
664 KB
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Sku
In metadata
Isbn
In metadata
File size
In metadata