Thinking about Children

Thinking about Children

Thinking about Children

Thinking about Children

Synopsis

A lifetime of thinking about the nature of the child and the origins of human nature is distilled in this single rich volume. D. W. Winnicott is increasingly recognized as one of the giants of psychoanalysis whose influence, not only in the behavioral sciences but also in literary and cultural studies, continues to grow. He is represented here in the full scope of his insights, observations, and clinical experience. Of the work included, which covers over forty years of his writing, only three essays have previously been published in book form. Ranging from his extraordinarily observant case histories to landmark theoretical advances, Thinking About Children covers issues of enduring interest such as autism, adoption, early infant development, psychosomatic problems, and family relationships. Winnicott's empathy and wit burst through in each chapter, while his deep understanding of the unity of mother and baby, of mind and body, prefigures some of the newest concepts in medicine and psychology. A comprehensive bibliography of all Winnicott's writings, together with a helpful introductory analysis of the place of individual concepts in the development of his thought, make this book indispensable to those who know Winnicott's work and an ideal introduction to those who have not experienced the astonishing clarity and depth of his thought.

Excerpt

Winnicott started his life's work--the observation and study of children--as a medical practitioner and, in particular, as a paediatrician. He began his vocation with children in a medical framework, the paediatric hospital setting. Becoming interested in Freud's writings and in his own psyche, he undertook analysis with James Strachey in 1923, followed by a second analysis with Joan Riviere in 1933, and trained as a psychoanalyst. He practised as an analyst until his death in 1971, while at the same time continuing to work with children in the medical framework, at Paddington Green Children's hospital, where he actively applied to his work the understanding gained from his training in and practice of psychoanalysis.

The process of psychoanalytic observation and study was founded by Freud, first on the basis of the observations he made from his own self-analysis and later based on the analysis of adult men and women, and then, briefly, and only by proxy, on experience gained from working with a child ("Little Hans"). His inferences about the human psyche, in infancy, childhood, and adult life, thus drew on his experiences with adult patients in the setting of his consulting rooms in Vienna, where he practised, privately, as a doctor, seeing adult patients frequently, and intensively, sometimes every day. Later, Melanie Klein and others . . .

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