Donald Winnicott and psychoanalysis

Authored by: Jeffrey Prager

The Routledge Handbook of Psychoanalysis in the Social Sciences and Humanities

Print publication date:  April  2016
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415626927
eBook ISBN: 9781315650821
Adobe ISBN: 9781317308201


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Donald Winnicott occupies a place in the same post-Freudian psychoanalytic pantheon as Melanie Klein, Anna Freud, Wilfred Bion, Jacques Lacan, Hans Loewald and Heinz Kohut. Like the others, his contributions have changed psychoanalysis both in theory and in practice. Largely determined by his work as a pediatrician prior to training in psychoanalysis, as he worked both with infants and their mothers and fathers, he advances the view that psychic life and healthy adaptation to social life occurs only in relation to others, what is now commonly described as intersubjectivity. Throughout his analytic career, he describes from many different angles this crucible of mutual engagement between the inner world of a psychological being-in-formation and the psychic world of others responsible for the care, nourishment and growth of that person. Winnicott may be seen as a pioneer in the field of psychoanalytic intersubjectivity.

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