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Bonaminio, V. (2013). Response by Vincenzo Bonaminio. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 94(1):124-127.

(2013). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 94(1):124-127

Response by Vincenzo Bonaminio Related Papers

Vincenzo Bonaminio

In this brief comment I wish to be deliberately provocative and possibly controversial, something that is lacking in our three original contributions. Rereading our contributions as a whole set of papers, one can rightly ask oneself: where is the controversy? Let's go and search for it between the lines, with the hope of finding something controversial, at least with respect to the current panorama of psychoanalytic positions. My impression is that our papers were too cautious about comparing the revolutionary approach of Winnicott with the other main theoretical and clinical approaches.

We cannot understand Winnicott's innovations if we do not recognize that they were in (sometimes polemical) dialogue with the leading mainstream theory and clinical technique of his time: his “natural” interlocutor, Melanie Klein.

Just to cite a few examples, I would like to point out that the concept of interpretation is radically different in Winnicott compared with the Kleinian tradition of the time. The same goes for holding as opposed to containment in spite of the literature that draws attention to their similarity. Containment is a pivotal concept that Bion developed from the early, nascent, intuition of Klein. And Klein's concept of projective identification is used by Winnicott in a different way and only for limited clinical situations.

According to Winnicott, holding, in the clinical situation, is what promotes and sustains the patient's tendency to regress in order to find himself (“the true self”); the patient needs to rely on the analyst's presence and stability for psychical growth.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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