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Reeves, C. (2015). Reappraising Winnicott's The Piggle: A Critical Commentary: Part I: Introduction and the Treatment. Brit. J. Psychother., 31(2):156-190.

(2015). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 31(2):156-190

Reappraising Winnicott's The Piggle: A Critical Commentary: Part I: Introduction and the Treatment

Christopher Reeves

The Piggle is one of only two substantial psychoanalytic case histories to be published under Winnicott's name. Winnicott felt that the case and the associated notes and reflections provided important material for discussion. Claire Winnicott - his wife and literary executor - wanted to bring these to an audience, and did so by overseeing the posthumous publication of the work in 1977. The nature and purpose of the work's message is explored in an extended paper published in two parts, in this and the next issue of the Journal. In Part I, published here, the author discusses the work in its historical context alongside other contemporary child analyses (notably Klein's Narrative of a Child Analysis and McDougall's Dialogue with Sammy) and its ambivalent reception by its contemporary audience. The author identifies theoretical issues raised by the material; the use of commotional and conjunctional interpretations; the use of time, and analysis on demand; the place of play in therapy and the role of the parents. He reviews the dialogue between analyst and child as set out in the text, identifying emerging themes. He attempts to understand what the child, Gabrielle, was trying to communicate. He then reviews Winnicott's interpretation of those sessions, identifying areas in which the interpretations may be at odds with what the child was experiencing. At the end the author encourages the reader to re-read Winnicott's original text before reading the discussion and critical evaluation that forms the basis of the second part of the paper, ‘Discussion and Critique’.

[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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