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Geleerd, E.R. (1967). The Family and Individual Development: By D. W. Winnicott. (London: Tavistock; New York: Basic Books, 1965. Pp. 181+viii. 30s. $5.00.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 48:108-111.

(1967). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 48:108-111

The Family and Individual Development: By D. W. Winnicott. (London: Tavistock; New York: Basic Books, 1965. Pp. 181+viii. 30s. $5.00.)

Review by:
Elisabeth R. Geleerd

We are accustomed to describing and reading about child development entirely from the child's point of view. Thus we will think of the child's mind from birth on in terms of the psychosexual stages of development, the development of object relationships, development of ego functions, precursors of superego, and the development of the superego proper, etc. One might tend to describe the environment, the reality situation, as a given with which the developing child interacts. In The Family and Individual Development Winnicott deals extensively with this environment. Not only are the members of the immediate family important, but all who will be in contact with the child during his development from infancy through adolescence. In early infancy the environment is the mother. As the child grows older, and his perceptions and interests widen, the family becomes the environment. There are ever-widening circles; school, friends, and finally the community, are the environment.

Even before the birth of her child the mother, who is then a complete unit with her child, has to be seen by the obstetrician, and maybe a nurse or social worker. At the birth, there may be a midwife, then a paediatrician, the staff of well-baby clinics, teachers, welfare officers, etc., etc., who will be contacted by the mother. Thus she and her child will become part of an enlarged family, and the knowledge and behaviour of any of these people may be crucial, in a positive or a negative way, at a certain time in the life of the child.

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