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Willoughby, R. (2004). Between the basic fault and second skin. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 85(1):179-196.

(2004). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 85(1):179-196

Between the basic fault and second skin

Roger Willoughby

The ideas that are commonly associated with Esther Bick, such as primal skin function, defensive second skin phenomena and adhesive identity, are traditionally seen as affiliated to the larger body of work that constitutes the Kleinian school. I shall argue, however, that Bick's thinking owes a largely communally unrecognised debt to the work of her training analyst, Michael Balint. Beginning with a discussion of Bick's early psychoanalytic formation within the British Psychoanalytic Society, her ideas will be reapproached in the light of her contemporary psychoanalytic milieu, with particular reference to Balint's notions concerning primary object-love, the basic fault and space. A brief history of the Manchester Training Centre, a short-lived but pioneering British attempt to extend psychoanalytic training beyond London, is included incidentally. Bick's early intellectual openness to diverse psychoanalytic streams will then be discussed in relation to the formation of psychoanalytic groups and their relative capacity to tolerate difference

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