(1996). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 77:739-754
My Experience Of Analysis With Fairbairn And Winnicott: (How Complete A Result Does Psychoanalytic Therapy Achieve?)
[Editorial introduction: The writings of Harry Guntrip have an importance in the of the British Psycho-Analytical , especially for the Independent Group in the years 1961-1975. (Before 1962 the Independents had been known as ‘the middle group’.) To understand this it is essential to know the outlines of that and the part played in it by John Sutherland, who for many years was the Director of the Tavistock Clinic and of the Institute of Human Relations, and Editor of the International Journal of , of the International Library of , and of the British Journal of Medical Psychology. Before his Sutherland had been analysed by . Later, from 1949 to 1960, Guntrip too went to Fairbairn for intensive , which he called ‘a ’.
In the 1940s Fairbairn had written an important series of theoretical papers, and in 1952 he republished them as a book, ‘Psychoanalytic Studies of the ’ (Tavistock Publications) (entitled ‘An Theory of the ’, 1954, in the USA). This might well have become (after Freud) a prime theory-book of the middle group in the 1950s, if Winnicott and Khan had not reviewed it unfavourably in the IJPA in 1953. The middle group was the main one in the British Psycho-Analytical after the of 1943-44 and for many years it outnumbered the combined numbers of the two wings, the ‘B Group’ and the ‘Kleinians’; in the resolution of those discussions these had politically separated themselves from it by forming and themselves as . Although the middle-group members did not officially style themselves ‘a group’ until 1962, when supported the adoption of their present title, ‘Independents’, they had in fact been functioning as a group since 1945 and it was their continuity within the main British that enabled the two wings to remain ‘together’ as in it. For fifteen years the most important officers of the had had to be chosen from the ‘Middle Group’.
In students' all three always used Freud's writings, but the Kleinians had Klein's ‘The of Children’ (1932) and her subsequent papers and books as their other chief source of theory, while the B Group had for similar use 's ‘The Ego and the Mechanisms of ’, 1937) and, from 1945, ‘The Psychoanalytic Study of the ’. The ‘middle group’ had no such ‘new testament’ (apart from 's ‘ Analysis’, 1937 and ‘Collected Papers on ’, 1950).
Although in the International Library and the International Journal there was a steady stream of books and papers publishing opinions independent of the two wings, there was no central figure-head who had published a book presenting a unified, coherent theory to which
the middle-school members could subscribe. , the founder of the British , had been a member of the middle group; so also was James Strachey, and his editing of the Standard Edition of Freud's works gave its members a sense of unity. Jones's, Balint's, Fairbairn's, Brierley's and then Winnicott's books of collected papers were extremely useful but were not always reconciled with each other; they sometimes used idiosyncratic terms and to express similar ideas reached independently. It was therefore a welcome revelation when Guntrip, using Fairbairn's ideas and terminology, published his book, ‘ and Human Interaction’ in the International Library of (1961). Like a clinical philosopher concerned with reconciling divergent theories, Guntrip presented the points of view of important psychoanalytic writers from Freud onwards in a clear historical perspective. Fairbairn began to be more used; and in 1965, when Sutherland gave a review of Fairbairn's life and thought at a memorial meeting a few months after his , Winnicott, who chaired the meeting, and Khan each openly acknowledged the lack of understanding that had underlain their joint critical review of his book.
Guntrip was never accepted into membership of the British , but several of his papers and his later book ‘ Phenomena, and ’ (), were also published under the 's aegis, thanks to Sutherland's support and editorship.
Established at the University Medical School in Leeds, a city roughly midway between London and Edinburgh, Guntrip, with his great talent for teaching, had had scope among doctors and medical students of that city but reached psychoanalysts, almost all of whom lived in or near London, only through his writings. His sessions of with Winnicott in 1962-67 made him intent upon reconciling Fairbairn's and Winnicott's ideas. This he did by using Fairbairn to explain of the two-person relationship and Winnicott to deal with depressive consequent on experiences of loss. His paper here republished from the second volume of the International Review of (1975) had been presented personally both at the Tavistock and to a group of students in at the Institute of , but he did not live to see it in print. It gives an account of some of his experiences of with Fairbairn and rather more of his with Winnicott, but, based as it was upon his personal conviction of his 's failures in him and upon his self-recovery through a series of just after getting news of Winnicott's early in 1971, it did not promote discussion on those occasions.
The authors of the following pieces wrote them unaware of each other's . One, Markillie, had been prompted by notice of a meeting to be held at the Tavistock Centre in early spring 1995, which he would not be attending; the other, Padel, was responding to an invitation by the Italian to talk on the work of Fairbairn and Winnicott in April of that year. When they discovered one another's pieces, they were surprised to find that their different approaches agreed so well and could be presented together.]