Child & Adolescent Development: Overview
Resources
Basic InformationMore InformationLatest NewsQuestions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews
100 Things Guys Need to Know3 NBS of Julian DrewA Guide to Asperger SyndromeA Tribe ApartA User Guide to the GF/CF Diet for Autism, Asperger Syndrome and AD/HDA Walk in the Rain With a BrainAdolescent DepressionAfterAggression and Antisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsAll Alone in the UniverseAmelia RulesAmericaAnother PlanetAntisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsArtemis FowlAssessment and Treatment of Childhood Problems, Second EditionAutistic Spectrum DisordersBad GirlBetween Two WorldsBeyond AppearanceBeyond Diversity DayBig Mouth & Ugly GirlBill HensonBipolar DisordersBody Image, Eating Disorders, and ObesityBody Image, Eating Disorders, and Obesity in YouthBoyBoysBrandedBreaking PointBreathing UnderwaterBringing Up ParentsBullying and TeasingCan't Eat, Won't EatCatalystChild and Adolescent Psychological DisordersChildren Changed by TraumaChildren with Emerald EyesChildren’s Dreaming and the Development of Consciousness City of OneConcise Guide to Child and Adolescent PsychiatryConquering the Beast WithinContentious IssuesCrackedCutDancing in My NuddypantsDemystifying the Autistic ExperienceDescartes' BabyDilemmas of DesireDirtyDoing ItDoing SchoolDying to Be ThinEating an ArtichokeEducating Children With AutismElijah's CupEllison the ElephantEmerald City BluesEmotional and Behavioral Problems of Young ChildrenEvery Girl Tells a StoryFast GirlsFeather BoyFiregirlForever YoungFreaks, Geeks and Asperger SyndromeFreewillGeography ClubGeorgia Under WaterGirl in the MirrorGirlfightingGirlsourceGirlWiseGLBTQGood GirlsGoodbye RuneGranny Torrelli Makes SoupGrowing Up GirlHandbook for BoysHealing ADDHeartbeatHelping Children Cope With Disasters and TerrorismHelping Parents, Youth, and Teachers Understand Medications for Behavioral and Emotional ProblemsHollow KidsHow Children Learn the Meanings of WordsHow to Keep Your Teenager Out of Trouble and What to Do If You Can'tHug MeIntrusive ParentingIt's Me!It's Perfectly NormalJake RileyJoey Pigza Swallowed the KeyJuvenile-Onset SchizophreniaKeeping the MoonKilling MonstersKim: Empty InsideKnocked Out by My Nunga-NungasLaura Numeroff's 10-Step Guide to Living with Your MonsterLearning About School ViolenceLeo the Lightning BugLet Kids Be KidsLiberation's ChildrenLife As We Know ItLisa, Bright and DarkLittle ChicagoLord of the FliesLoserLove and SexLove That DogManicMastering Anger and AggressionMind FieldsMiss American PieMom, Dad, I'm Gay.MonsterMore Than a LabelMyths of ChildhoodNew Hope for Children and Teens with Bipolar DisorderNo Two AlikeNot Much Just Chillin'Odd Girl OutOdd Girl Speaks OutOf Mice and MetaphorsOn the Frontier of AdulthoodOne Hot SecondOne in ThirteenOphelia SpeaksOphelia's MomOur Journey Through High Functioning Autism and Asperger SyndromeOut of the DustOvercoming School AnxietyParenting and the Child's WorldParenting Your Out-Of-Control TeenagerPediatric PsychopharmacologyPeriod PiecesPhobic and Anxiety Disorders in Children and AdolescentsPINSPraising Boys WellPraising Girls WellPretty in PunkPrincess in the SpotlightProblem Child or Quirky Kid?Psychotherapy As PraxisPsychotherapy for Children and AdolescentsRaising a Self-StarterRaising BlazeRaising Resilient ChildrenReclaiming Our ChildrenRedressing the EmperorReducing Adolescent RiskRethinking ADHDReweaving the Autistic TapestryRineke DijkstraRitalin is Not the Answer Action GuideRunning on RitalinSay YesSexual Teens, Sexual MediaShooterShort PeopleShould I Medicate My Child?Skin GameSmackSmashedStaying Connected to Your TeenagerStick FigureStoner & SpazStop Arguing with Your KidsStraight Talk about Your Child's Mental HealthStrong, Smart, & BoldStudent DepressionSurvival Strategies for Parenting Children with Bipolar DisorderSurviving OpheliaTaking Charge of ADHD, Revised EditionTaming the Troublesome ChildTargeting AutismTeaching Problems and the Problems of TeachingTeen Angst? NaaahThat SummerThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook Of Child And Adolescent PsychiatryThe Arctic IncidentThe Bipolar ChildThe Buffalo TreeThe Bully, the Bullied, and the BystanderThe Carnivorous CarnivalThe Depressed ChildThe Developing MindThe Dragons of AutismThe Dream BearerThe Dulcimer Boy The Einstein SyndromeThe EpidemicThe Eternity CubeThe Explosive ChildThe Field of the DogsThe First IdeaThe Identity TrapThe Inside Story on Teen GirlsThe Little TernThe Mean Girl MotiveThe Men They Will BecomeThe Myth of LazinessThe New Gay TeenagerThe Notebook GirlsThe Nurture AssumptionThe Opposite of InvisibleThe Order of the Poison OakThe Other ParentThe Present Moment in Psychotherapy and Everyday LifeThe Real Truth About Teens and SexThe Rise and Fall of the American TeenagerThe Secret Lives of GirlsThe Sex Lives of TeenagersThe Shared HeartThe Spider and the BeeThe StepsThe Thought that CountsThe Unhappy ChildThe Vile VillageThe Whole ChildThen Again, Maybe I Won'tTherapy with ChildrenThings I Have to Tell YouTouching Spirit BearTrauma in the Lives of ChildrenTreacherous LoveTrue BelieverTwistedUnhappy TeenagersWay to Be!We're Not MonstersWhat about the KidsWhat Would Joey Do?What's Happening to My Body? Book for BoysWhat's Happening to My Body? Book for GirlsWhen Nothing Matters AnymoreWhen Sex Goes to SchoolWhen Your Child Has an Eating DisorderWhere The Kissing Never StopsWhose America?Why Are You So Sad?WinnicottWorried All the TimeYes, Your Teen Is Crazy!You Hear MeYoung People and Mental HealthYour Child, Bully or Victim?
Related Topics

ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Childhood Mental Disorders and Illnesses
Parenting
Child Development and Parenting: Infants
Child Development and Parenting: Early Childhood

by Robert Rodman
Perseus Publishing, 2003
Review by Petar Jevremovic on Sep 3rd 2003

Winnicott

Donald Winnicott is, undoubtedly, one of the most influential psychoanalysts of our post-Freudian epoch.  The originality of his thinking, his openmindness, his fresh and practically valid conceptions, makes him still very important among great number of modern analysts of various orientations.  

Robert Rodman himself, the author of this biography of Donald Winnincott, is a well known author. For example, thanks to him today we can read a very good and instructive selection (or we could say edition) of Winnicott's letters. Rodman is well informed in psychoanalytic matters in general -- he knows its theory, he knows its history, he can think and feel its practice, but of course, he is at his best when Winnicott's work is in the question.  His style is well balanced, coherent, and easy to follow.  The book is logically composed, eloquent, and well documented.

Rodman's book on Winnicott is important.  It is not an easy task to write the autobiography of one of the greatest psychoanalysts of our time. There are various challenges, many potential impasses, many problems.  The matter is rather delicate. One must avoid being voyeuristic, sensationalistic, nihilistic, destructive or too much idealizing. Any biography (as narrative form) is dealing with the facts. We need the facts if we wand to write a biography. But facts are newer enough. There is always a need for a living personality. And offcoures, we must always have it in mind, Winnicott's personal history is an important part of the (official and unofficial) history of the British Psychoanalytic Society. Having all this in mind, we must conclude that Rodman's book could be important in two parallel ways. As a contribution to our understanding of one of the greatest psychoanalysts of modern time, and also as decent (and rather original) attempt to understand one of the most turbulent periods in history of the British Psychoanalytic Society.

Donald Woods Winnicott was born in 1896 in Plymouth, Devon, a stronghold of the noncomformist Weslyan tradition. His father, a successful  and much-admired merchant and mayor of his town, was knighted for civic work. Winnicott himself was the youngest of three children. He studied medicine, and in 1923 he become physician in the Paddington Green Hospital, where he worked as pediatrician.

Winnicott started his own analysis in 1923, when he was twenty-seven years old. He had become aware of Freud's theories while in medical school, but did not seek out analysis for himself until the year of his marriage.  He sought help for personal problems from Ernst Jones, the founder of Biritish psychoanalysis, and was given a list of analysts from which to chose, but he could not make a choice. He was then referred to James Strachey, himself recently back from Vienna.  A few years latter, Winnicott become one of the first candidates in the Bristish Society.  In 1935, Winnicott began six years of supervision with Melanie Klein. He wanted to be analyzed by her, but this would have made it impossible for him to do what she wished: to analyze her son under her supervision. Winnicott refused this proposal, but did become her son's analyst a few years later. He was not yet knowledgeable enough to have developed a point of view about the issues of the day, but eventually his own temperament and grown stock of observations drove him into a deep, lifelong absorption with basic questions of human psychology. He become one of psychological and philosophical thinkers, and was a clinician of extraordinary skill.

Winnicott's independence of mind can best be appreciated against the background of controversy that had been a part of the history of psychoanalysis from its beginnings and then took a particular turn in the British  Society in the late 1930s and early 1940s. The well­known schisms between the young Freud and his associates Carl Jung and Alfred Adler had marked the field. Other breaks with Wihlem Stekel, Wilhelm Reich, Otto Rank, and Sándor Ferenczi followed. An older Freud, now aficted with cancer of jaw, oversaw but kept a degree of distance from the conflict that arose between his daughter Anna and Melanie Klein. Their disagreements are central to an understanding of the history of child analysis, and to the individual development of Donald Winnicott.

There in no doubt that Rodman feels strong human affections for Winnicott. His book is not just a biography. It is a book of someone who cares.  His treatment of Winnicott is at the same time personally warm and (as much as it is possible) objective. Rodman is rather well informed in the various psychoanalytic matters. The book is rich in various details. Different schools and different concepts, as well as great many of the leading figures of the psychoanalytic tradition (just to mention Freud, Jones, Anna Freud, Melanie Klein, Lacan...), had found their place in Rodman's discourse.  His Winnicott is not (like Freud himself in the book of Ernst Jones) almost an absolute saint. Also, he is not (like Lacan in the work of Elizabeth Rudinesco) the worst sinner among the mortals. Winnicott's personal drama and his doctrinally contributions to the modern psychoanalysis are two poles of Rodman' discourse.  And there is a good balance between them...

One very interesting quality of Rodman's book lays in his attempt to situate Winnicott in much more wither context that it is usually done. In this book Winnicott is pictured not only as pediatrician, psychoanalyst and child psychologist. Rodman's Winnicott is sometimes poet, sometimes philosopher, or even theologian. His cultural ancestors were, according to Rodman, the English Romantic poets, who embraced the role of imagination in the construction of reality. This could be one of the reasons he was so unacceptable for predominantly empiricist spirit of the British Psychoanalysis. His well known concepts like transitional object, transitional phenomena, transitional space, true and false self, holding, could be located somewhere in between (developmental) psychology and highly speculative philosophy. He is thinking about human development, about theory and practice of psychoanalysis. Also he is writing about life and death, about love and destruction, about religion. At the same time, his thought is purely descriptive, almost phenomenological, and very much theoretically-constructive.

This book will be of interest for psychoanalysts, psychologists and for all others that are seriously concerned with psychoanalysis. It could be read as a testimony of somebody's (Winnicott's) personal individuation. It could be also read as a good introduction to some of the key concepts of the developmental psychoanalysis.

 

 

© 2003 Petar Jevremovic

 

Petar Jevremovic: Clinical psychologist and practicing psychotherapist, author of two books (Psychoanalysis and Ontology, Lacan and Psychoanalysis), translator of Aristotle and Maximus the Confessor, editor of the Serbian editions of selected works of Heintz Kohut, Jacques Lacan and Melanie Klein, author of various texts that are concerned with psychoanalysis, philosophy, literature and theology. He lives in Belgrade, Yugoslavia.