HOW D. W. WINNICOTT CONDUCTED PSYCHOANALYSIS

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Abstract

This study, based largely on interviews with people who had known D. W. Winnicott, including 6 who had been in analysis with him, describes how he conducted psychoanalysis. Winnicott, it is argued, developed an innovative approach to treatment that emphasized “holding” and de-emphasized interpretation. The chief topics covered are: his attempt to develop an approach suited to patients with conditions more serious than neuroses, his view of interpretation, the role of the analyst's mistakes and failures, the holding environment, adaptation to need, the use of the object, and the details of his interactional style. Winnicott's clinical theory, that is, his explanations of how he sees the psychoanalysis he practiced as working, is related to, and illustrated by, his analysands’ accounts of being in treatment with him.

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