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Widlöcher, D. (1970). On Winnicott's 'The Maturational Processes and the Facilitating Environment'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 51:526-530.

(1970). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 51:526-530

On Winnicott's 'The Maturational Processes and the Facilitating Environment'

Daniel Widlöcher

In his latest book Dr Winnicott has collected a number of articles and lectures written between the years 1957 and 1963. They are mostly published texts, all dealing with problems of development in early infancy and their repercussions in psychopathology.

The subdivision of this book (papers on development, theory and technique) is rather arbitrary. It would be fairly accurate to state that the first series of articles deals directly and expressly with the problem of development, while the second series touches on various subjects, which, however, are all related to the central theme of the book. The task of assembling a variety of articles under the same heading may give such a selection a contrived character—here there is no such feeling. On the contrary, after reading this book we are left with a clear understanding of the central theme. In addition, the index provided by Masud Khan is a model of its kind and enables us to follow throughout the various papers the main themes of the book, thus providing a very useful tool. There is, however, an additional reason for this diversity which is even more obvious and that is the variety of audiences to whom these papers were addressed. In an attempt to be understood by psychoanalysts, child psychiatrists and social workers, he has had to modify his frame of reference according to his audience. This does not, however, harm the unity of the book but displays lively evidence of the author's scientific activity.

The title does more than state the subject of the book; it establishes the essential theme which can be briefly defined as follows: the process of maturation cannot be opposed to or even separated from the environmental factors.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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