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Khan, M.R. (1971). Donald W. Winnicott. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 52:225-226.

(1971). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 52:225-226

Donald W. Winnicott

M. Masud R. Khan

Bridging paediatrics and psychoanalysis

Dr Donald Winnicott died suddenly at his home on Monday, 25 January, at the age of 74. With his death, the living tradition of one man's sustained clinical dedication, across some 50 years, to the care and facilitation of children and adults to psychic health and maturity, changes into a rich heritage and responsibility for his colleagues and co-workers.

Dr Winnicott started his long psychotherapeutic odyssey as an Assistant Physician at the Paddington Green Children's Hospital in 1923, where he worked for 40 years. It was in this setting of intensive paediatric involvement with infants and mothers that he gradually carved his specific therapeutic sensibility. In the early 30s he turned to psychoanalysis to supplement and enlarge his clinical experience and skills. He was analysed by the late James Strachey, and later by Mrs Riviere. He became a qualified psychoanalyst in the mid-30s, and from then onwards, with indefatigable energy and devotion, he tried to assimilate his clinical experience as a paediatrician to his insights into psychic functioning that accrued from psychoanalytic work. His published works, particularly Collected Papers: Through Paediatrics to Psycho-Analysis (1958) and The Maturational Processes and the Facilitating Environment (1965), give a clear account of his researches and theoretical innovations.

Winnicott was a solitary, wilful and extremely modest, non-factional theoretician and clinician. Gradually over the decades, the impact of his researches has permeated in all the neighbouring disciplines, from paediatrics and psychoanalysis to social work and education.

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