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Reeves, M. (2015). Background. Brit. J. Psychother., 31(2):155.

(2015). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 31(2):155

Reappraising The Piggle

Background

Margaret Reeves

As part of a piece of work to review the clinical work of Donald Winnicott - a collegial project which did not, ultimately, come to fruition - Christopher Reeves was set the task of taking a fresh look at one of Winnicott's most well-known works, the psychoanalytic case presentation The Piggle.

Christopher Reeves was well placed to undertake such a review; he was one of the few still-practising child psychotherapists who had attended seminars given by Winnicott in the 1960s and early 1970s. Reeves had subsequently become the therapeutic advisor, and later the principal of the Mulberry Bush School in Standlake, Oxfordshire, a therapeutic community for children of primary school age. The school was founded by Barbara Dockar-Drysdale in the post-war years, working in therapeutic partnership with Donald Winnicott himself. In his later years, Reeves wrote extensively on the ideas and practice of Winnicott, including writing the introduction to the second volume of Winnicott's collected works. For some years, he also directed the Squiggle Foundation, a body set up to disseminate the work of Winnicott, in particular, ideas about its application.

And yet Reeves hesitated to undertake such a project, and, to his surprise, found it difficult to begin. There was ambivalence about what form such a reappraisal would take, and a hesitation about doing so when the subject of the work, The Piggle herself, was still alive. It was not until he decided to enter into correspondence with the grown-up Piggle, and to engage with her about the themes that he identified within the analysis, that he felt freed to invest himself in the deep exploration of the ideas raised by Winnicott's work.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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