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Winnicott (Fontana Modern Masters) Paperback – 21 Jul 1997

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Fontana Press (21 July 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000686094X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006860945
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 77,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

This short critical study is one of the best introductions to the British pediatrician and psychoanalyst who augmented object-relations theory and gave us the concept of the "good-enough" mother.

ÝAdam Phillips¨ has added his name with distinction to the growing literature on Winnicott...ÝHis¨ book presents a cohesive study of the major conceptual paradigms developed by Winnicott in his lifetime. -- Macario Giraldo "Psychiatry"

the critic has to disillusion and re-illusion the artist. In therapy, the analyst does it for the patient.

predecessors, Freud and Klein, and suggesting how personal preoccupations became theoretical arguments in Winnicott's intuitive and idiosyncratic mind.

poem "The Tree" for evidence of "his mother's depression, and her consequent inability to hold him.,."[This book] is written in the spirit of independent thinking that Winnicott himself fostered.

A distinguished addition to the growing body of literature on the most important native-born English psychoanalyst. Phillips is especially illuminating on Winnicott's life, drawing, for example, on Winnicott's late poem "The Tree" for evidence of "his mother's depression, and her consequent inability to hold him.,."[This book] is written in the spirit of independent thinking that Winnicott himself fostered.

[Adam Phillips] has added his name with distinction to the growing literature on Winnicott...[His] book presents a cohesive study of the major conceptual paradigms developed by Winnicott in his lifetime.--Macario Giraldo "Psychiatry "

A charming new book...that sums up the work of the British psychoanalyst D. W. Winnicott, the only major therapist I know of whose language would have pleased a poet...[Winnicott's] depiction of the beginning of human life is a kind of wry sublime. The infant's relation to his mother, he says, is one of utter ruthlessness. He uses her in an absolute way, as if this were her destiny. Gradually, by making herself less available to him, the mother "disillusions" the infant. Then, the wind knocked out of him, he is obliged to "reconsider" his ruthlessness...According to Mr. Phillips, Winnicott believed that this early experience sets a pattern for life, which is "a continual and increasingly sophisticated illusionment--disillusionment--re-illusionment process." Winnicott suggested that the artist's ruthlessness resembled, even repeated, the infant's. In the absence of a mother, the critic has to disillusion and re-illusion the artist. In therapy, the analyst does it for the patient.--Anatole Broyard "New York Times Book Review "

This beautifully written account explores the development of British psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott's thought. The author, a fellow Briton and a child psychotherapist, is both a sympathetic interpreter and a perceptive critic of Winnicott's ideas from both a therapeutic and a scientific perspective...Phillips praises Winnicott for his major theoretical contributions--transitional phenomena, primary creativity, ruthlessness, the antisocial tendency, and the "true and false self..".By deftly weaving bits of biographical information into the narrative, the author places Winnicott in historical perspective, illuminating his often tactfully disguised quarrels with his predecessors, Freud and Klein, and suggesting how personal preoccupations became theoretical arguments in Winnicott's intuitive and idiosyncratic mind.--Mary Hayden "Science Books and Films " --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Bestselling author of Going Sane --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Format: Paperback
Who better to write a book on who is arguably Britain's most important post-WW2 psychoanalytic writer, than Britian's most widely-read contemporary psychoanalytic writer? As any psychoanalytic psychotherapist will testify, contemporary therapy would be no where near what it is without Donald Winnicott. Adam Phillips (himself a practicing child and adult therapist) has said that, without having immersed himself in Winnicott's writings in particular, he could not have developed his own style and begun disseminating his own unique brand of psychoanalytic writing. This immersion is here more than evident. Phillips goes into comprehensive detail, displaying a thorough awareness of both the man and his ideas, yet never so abstractly that we lose track of the larger journey that is explicated through the various chapters of the book. Winnicott's major theoretical concepts are elaborated from first principles - the True/False Self dichotomy, Holding vs. Interpretation, etc. - interwoven with illuminating biographical information. Clearly deeply researched and intellectually considered, Phillips's Winnicott is just that: personal yet never polemic, distanced yet thought-provokingly involved. The book is rare - how many other biographies inspire one to go out and find others by the author *and* his subject? Although the reader new to psychoanalytic jargon might become unstuck in more than one or two places, these are moments worth suffering: for the trainee and the fascinated layperson alike, the book remains - quintessentially - unmissable.
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Until I picked up this book, I knew next to nothing about D W Winnicott, the pioneering paediatrician and psychoanalyst. But Adam Phillips (himself a child psychotherapist) corrects that gap in my knowledge with this affectionate - though not uncritical - exploration of a very significant figure in the history of child psychiatry and psychology.

Given that Winnicott had a preference for plain language, it is regrettable that Phillips' preface and fairly lengthy introduction are rather dry in style, which may put off more casual readers. Fortunately, his writing style is more easily manageable in the main body of the book.

As Winnicott's focus was always on child developmental issues, it is more than appropriate that Phillips considers not only the facts of Winnicott's upbringing, but also Winnicott's own view of it (as expressed in published comments).

One particular chapter especially grabbed my attention. This is the one which looks at Winnicott's observations about children evacuated from their homes during World War II. Phillips examines how these unfortunate (and damaging) circumstances gave Winnicott the opportunity to learn a great deal about children's behaviour. What fascinates me personally is the parallel between these wartime experiences (and discoveries) and my own interest in the situation of children removed from their homes and placed in psychiatric units (of the kind that existed - broadly speaking - from the 1950s through to the mid-'90s).

Also of special interest for me, given how little I knew of Winnicott previously, is how familiar many of his ideas appear. Many parents will be familiar with some of his concepts from child rearing self-help books and parenting 'experts'.
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Wow. Adam Phillips shows how it should be done with an extremely well researched, lucidly written and creatively presented account of the life and work of D. Winnicott. Phillips manages to extract and present what is useful and good from the body of work, deftly weaving his most significant contributions with rigorous critique within a cogently presented theoretical context. I've just finished reading it for the second time and I must say, I'm very grateful that this book has been written, as I now have a solid feel for Winnitott's developmental and psychoanalytic model. What's I found most valuable of all was the way Phillips portrays Winnicott's attitude and personality - it's hard to not get a sense for the man and, as daft as I must sound, DW comes across as a real Dude, especially considering all the Kleinian / Freudian silliness that was going on in British Psychoanalytic Society at the time he presided. A great book and an enjoyable read.
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By Mr. G. Morgan TOP 500 REVIEWER on 2 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback
I first read this when taking a counselling course; I found it remarkable that in the notoriously fractious world of Psychoanalysis, he had few detractors. This commendably brief introduction makes clear our indebtedness to Winnicott, the child of Plymouth Brethren parents (I am the Grandchild of two). Phillips is usually a writer of brio and delights in paradox; admirable then that he has eschewed this in writing plainly about a thinker of exemplary kindness and a powerful influence of the so called British School, or Object Relations theorists (for 'Objects' read 'Subjects', I for one find this clearer). Not that it is an easy read, since he is not as straightforward a writer as one supposed, something that is cleverly identified; this is a rich, articulate recapitulation of some subtlety, 'positioning' its subject as a radical rather than the benign quietist of yore. He was influenced as much by his work as a paediatrician as by Freud and Klein. He developed many key concepts especially relevant to child analysis: the 'Good-enough mother'; the True/False Self distinction and the notion of the Transitional Object. These are stimulating and useful ideas that are emblematic of a humane influence that Phillips is carrying on. For a short book this one admirably traces the development of Winnicott's ideas, especially as he veered modestly away from Freud and Melanie Klein. In fact it is clear the Phillips thinks him as subversive a thinker as Wilfred Bion, who is admired for this [I wish Adam Phillips would write a similar book about the comparably influential Bion, who is highly rated by the profession but almost unknown outside it and possibly the most underrated intellectual I have read). But that is another matter]. An indispensable guide to the ideas of a great and a good man. The sort of book Phillips, with his catholic, empirical concerns is ideally equipped to write; molto in parva indeed!
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