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CHAPTER EIGHT A measure of agreement: an exploration of the relationship of Winnicott and Phyllis Greenacre

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A measure of agreement: an exploration of the relationship of Winnicott and Phyllis Greenacre*

Nellie L. Thompson


his paper investigates hitherto unexplored connections between Winnicott and Phyllis

Greenacre (1894–1989). I first became aware of their relationship while reading Winnicott’s paper “The use of an object and relating through identifications” published after his death in Playing and Reality (Winnicott, 1971). The earliest version of this paper, simply titled “The use of an object”, was presented to a scientific meeting of the New York Psychoanalytic Society on

12 November 1968, the proceedings of which have become mired in myth and controversy. The paper evoked respectful but deeply perplexed reactions from the three discussants: Samuel

Ritvo, a prominent child and adolescent analyst, Bernard Fine, a training analyst, and Edith

Jacobson, author of The Self, the Object and the Outside World (1964).

A report by David Milrod admirably conveys how the evening’s participants understood

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CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE The seriousness of playfulness

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The seriousness of playfulness

Campbell Paul


profoundly 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 TWENTY-FIVE Ways of being: transitional objects and the work of art

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Ways of being: transitional objects and the work of art

Elizabeth Presa

A poetry of transitional objects

When the poet Rainer Maria Rilke commences his second monograph on the sculpture of

August Rodin, his task, he says, is to remind us not only of our own childhood but of everything that ever was childhood (Rilke, 1986, p. 45). His purpose, he says, “is to awaken memories which are not yours, which are older than you” (p. 45). Rilke sets about doing this not by speaking about people but by speaking about things. He focuses on the importance of objects, everyday things in the world, their resistance and separateness to the world, as well as their capacity to become receptacles for imagination: “Things … When I say that word (do you hear?), there is a silence; the silence which surrounds things. All movement subsides and becomes contour, and out of past and future time something permanent is formed: space, the great calm of objects which know no urge” (p. 46).

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Chapter Six - Winnicott's Anni Horribiles: The Biographical Roots of “Hate in the Counter-Transference”

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Brett Kahr

I don't know what to do with the hate.

Winnicott, 1967, p. 3


According to the London weather report, Wednesday 5 February 1947 proved to be a bitterly cold and dull day, with virtually no sunlight. Indeed, the entire winter of 1947, marked by arctic blizzards, power cuts, and a fuel crisis, could only be described as grim (Payn & Morley, 1982). That evening, the fifty-year-old Winnicott trudged through the darkened, snowy streets of Central London, towards 96 Gloucester Place, not far from Baker Street, to read a paper to his clinical colleagues at a fortnightly Scientific Meeting of the British Psychoanalytical Society. As a physician at the Paddington Green Children's Hospital, in West London, and as a psychoanalyst in private practice on Queen Anne Street, not far from Gloucester Place, Winnicott had already accumulated a wealth of medical and psychological experience, and he had no difficulties writing about his work in great depth. But on this occasion, however, he presented an unusually short essay—a mere six pages in length in its printed version—entitled, quite unremarkably, “Some observations on hate”. Though ostensibly straightforward as a topic, Winnicott's contribution seems to have provoked many of his colleagues. Some, in fact, might dare to describe the paper, even today, as outrageous. The late Dr Colin James (1991), a young physician who subsequently trained as a psychoanalyst, recalled that when he had first encountered Winnicott's paper, he found it shocking in extremis.

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CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN The reflected self

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The reflected self

Louise K. Newman


The emergence of self-consciousness and awareness of self and other are central preoccupations of philosophy, psychoanalysis, and developmental theories. Theories of human subjectivity attempt to describe complex processes of the development of models of mind and interiority in a relational context, and how these influence intersubjective awareness. For

Winnicott the self emerges in relational context—both physical and psychological—in which the infant is held and thought about by the primary caregiver. His accounts of early interaction and processes by which the infant finds himself in the gaze of his mother have influenced approaches to infant–parent psychotherapy, but also have increased understanding of the role of mutual regulation of affective interaction in early development.

Contemporary developmental approaches in many ways have a shared focus on the integration of neurodevelopmental and psychodevelopmental accounts. The neurosciences have over the last thirty years provided significant data not only on the neurological underpinnings of self-experience and regulation, but also on the attachment context of brain development

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