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CHAPTER NINE On potential space

Margaret Boyle Spelman Karnac Books PDF

CHAPTER NINE

On potential space*

Thomas H. Ogden

Introduction

Perhaps the most important and at the same time most elusive of the ideas introduced by Donald Winnicott is the concept of potential space. Potential space is the general term

Winnicott used to refer to an intermediate area of experiencing that lies between fantasy and reality. Specific forms of potential space include the play space, the area of the transitional object and phenomena, the analytic space, the area of cultural experience, and the area of creativity.

The concept of potential space remains enigmatic in part because it has been so difficult to extricate the meaning of the concept from the elegant system of images and metaphors in which it is couched. The present paper is an attempt to clarify the concept of potential space and to explore the implications that this aspect of Winnicott’s work holds for a psychoanalytic theory of the normal and pathological development of the capacity for symbolisation and subjectivity.

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Chapter Twenty-Three - The Seriousness of Playfulness

Margaret Boyle Spelman Karnac Books ePub

Campbell Paul

Aprofoundly depressed hospitalised seventeen-month-old infant, who had taken to repeatedly dropping a ball in a lonely desultory way in front of busy passing hospital staff, does this again in the context of a therapeutic consultation. The therapist, unlike others, in a “silly” moment, picked the ball up and put it on her own head, gazing directly at the infant and smiling as she does so. The infant responds, after a brief hesitant moment, with a broad opening smile, staring directly into the therapist's eyes.

In contrast, it has been implied that it is absurd to consider doing psychotherapeutic work with babies in their own right. Provocatively, Trevarthen wrote, “as thinking adults dependent upon years of practical experience, reasoning about facts and causes, and language to sustain their knowledge, beliefs and memories and to understand one another, it seems quite absurd to suggest that the newborn infant has intersubjective mental capacities” (2010, p. 119, my emphasis).

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Chapter Six - Baby Observation Report

Margaret Boyle Spelman Karnac Books ePub

This report is divided into the following sections:

Observation background

The baby

The observer role

Getting to know aelf through feeding

The ego integrates

Beginning, middle, and end sample visits

Observation background

This observation took the form of weekly fifty-minute visits. My first visit was to the hospital when the baby was one day old. All other visits took place at home. The baby's mother was present for all visits. My last visit was when the baby was fifteen months old.

There was one visit before the birth. This was my first time to meet the parents, Eilis and Mac, in person and my first contact with the baby's father of any kind. He took the opportunity to “check me out” and to be sure that he was happy with what was being proposed. I was left with a feeling of the father as a person who was interested and protecting his family from a distance. He was agreeable to the observation though not going to take an active part. This couple struck me as united, happy, child-centred, and looking forward with excitement to this baby. I left this visit with the arrangement that Father would call me after the birth but in fact Mother called, from the hospital and left a message on my answering machine on the evening of the birth.

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Chapter Twenty-Six - Unintegrated States and the Process of Integration: A New Formulation

Margaret Boyle Spelman Karnac Books ePub

Christopher Reeves

Introduction

In his novel The Go-Between, the author L. P. Hartley (1953) says that the past is a foreign country and that they do things differently there. This paper is based on work spanning more than a decade to define and direct the therapeutic task of a residential unit for severely disturbed children between the ages of five and twelve. The treatment approach and concepts were greatly influenced by the ideas of Winnicott, particularly by the concepts of unintegration, integration, and disintegration, and their bearing on the understanding of the developing child. However, the context of this work is different from Winnicott's own. He derived his ideas primarily from observation of infants, toddlers, and the analytic treatment of adult psychotics. The world of the Mulberry Bush School, on the other hand, is peopled by post-toddlers who still display many of the characteristics of feeling, thought, expectation, and reaction, that Winnicott identified as indicators that integration had not been reliably achieved in the infant. In this context, his original concepts took on a new and developed perspective. The struggle of disadvantaged nine- to twelve-year-olds to attain a secure sense of self, to distinguish inward pain from outward projections, and to acquire belief over time in the expectable return of figures out of sight, helped in the reappraisal of the time-scale of the integration process. This is because it occurs in the child with a favourable environment to support it.

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CHAPTER THIRTY Winnicott’s influence on paediatrics then and now

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CHAPTER THIRTY

Winnicott’s influence on paediatrics then and now

Ann Morgan and Robin Wilson

Introduction

We work together teaching an infant observation seminar as part of the graduate diploma of infant mental health at the University of Melbourne. In our work we hope that our students will listen and observe carefully, notice the baby’s body and her relationship to her mother but also patiently sit with their own discomfort in order to keep thinking about the infant’s experience.

These ideas are inspired by the theories of Donald Winnicott.

We believe that Winnicott has positively influenced our medical careers and that the practice of medicine today, especially paediatrics, could benefit from an emphasis on his teachings.

In our paper we describe Ann Morgan’s experience of meeting the outspoken and insightful

Winnicott in 1951. We will outline why he studied medicine and how he became a unique doctor in the way he practised and thought. Winnicott was part conservative and part rebel and we will discuss his new way of thinking about his patients that was also influenced by the social conditions of pre- and post-World War Two London.

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