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Tip: To see Abram’s analysis of Winnicott’s theories…

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In-depth analysis of Winnicott’s psychoanalytic theorization was conducted by Jan Abrams in her work The Language of Winnicott. You can access it directly by clicking here.

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Little, M.I. (1985). Winnicott working in areas where Psychotic Anxieties predominate: A personal record. Free Associations, 1(3):9-42.

(1985). Free Associations, 1(3):9-42

Winnicott working in areas where Psychotic Anxieties predominate: A personal record

Margaret I. Little

Polonius for to define true madness What is't but to be nothing else but mad?

Hamlet I am but mad north-north-west, when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.

William Shakespeare, Hamlet, II. ii.


Psychoanalysis is nothing if not dynamic, being concerned with human instincts and drives, and the anxieties to do with them; a human activity, revolutionary in its beginnings, and not always smooth in its evolution.

Changes, new ideas of theory or technique have aroused profound anxiety, and often brought about divisions such as those early ones when Jung, Adler, Stekel and others broke away from Freud. Later, in our British Psycho-Analytical Society, the work of Melanie Klein provoked controversy, anxiety, and the tendency to defend against it by denial and strengthening of resistance, as before.

Freud found that where anxieties were concerned with the Oedipal situation — castration, loss of part of the body, loss of an object or of self-esteem — a transference neurosis was developed in analysis, and could be resolved. But where anxieties concerning existence, survival or identity predominated (narcissistic neuroses and psychoses) transference neurosis did not develop and psychoanalysis (in its classical form) was ineffective (Freud, 1913).


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