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Winnicott, D.W. (1962). The Theory of the Parent-Infant Relationship—Further Remarks. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 43:238-239.

(1962). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 43:238-239

The Theory of the Parent-Infant Relationship—Further Remarks

D. W. Winnicott

I have looked forward with excitement to the discussion of these two papers and of the vast subject that they introduce.

It is, of course, important to me that there is a measure of agreement between Dr Greenacre and myself. For instance, we both assume the innate maturational processes of the infant, and we see these in a setting of dependence. I shall not go further, at the moment, into Dr Greenacre's contribution. She has developed in a most interesting way the theme of the maturational processes, and I have chosen out of this huge subject to deal with the subject of dependence.

In regard to my own contribution it interests me that this subject is not psycho-analysis—it is: 'psycho-analysts discussing something which is very important to them'. When we are seeing mothers and babies in an infant welfare clinic some of the babies that we see are already ill in the sense that when they grow up they will not be accepted for treatment by a classical psycho-analysis. They may be, of course, physically quite healthy. Perhaps the problem, as I am putting it in my limited way, is: Is an infant a phenomenon that can be isolated, at east hypothetically, for observation and conceptualization? And I am suggesting that the answer is 'no'. When we look back through our analyses of children and adults we tend to see mechanisms rather than infants. But if we look at an infant we see an infant in care. The processes of integration, and of separating out, of getting to live in the body and of relating to objects, these are all matters of maturation and achievement.

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