From Freud to Winnicott

Aspects of Paradigm Change 1

Authored by: Zeljko Loparic

The Routledge International Handbook of Psychoanalysis and Philosophy

Print publication date:  November  2022
Online publication date:  November  2022

Print ISBN: 9780367276454
eBook ISBN: 9780429297076
Adobe ISBN:


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The main objective of this chapter is to present a unified view of Winnicott’s contribution. I start by stating my main thesis, that Winnicott introduced revolutionary changes into psychoanalysis, as well as some other fields of healthcare, and that these changes amount to a paradigm shift in the sense of Thomas Kuhn. To demonstrate this, I give an account of Kuhn’s view of scientific revolutions and offer a reconstruction of the Freudian Oedipal, triangular or, as I term it, the “toddler-in-the-mother’s-bed” paradigm. I then consider Winnicott, for the purpose of demonstrating that he had discovered unsolvable problems (anomalies) in the Oedipal paradigm as early as the 1920s and for this reason, he had initiated revolutionary research in the direction of a more efficient framework for healthcare. This research resulted in Winnicott’s dual or, to use my term, the “baby-on-the-mother’s-lap” paradigm. This achievement is then described in detail, especially the paradigmatic dual mother-baby relation itself and Winnicott’s dominant theory of maturational processes. I conclude with observations regarding Winnicott’s heritage, teaching Winnicott and the future of psychoanalysis.

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