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Tip: To see Abram’s analysis of Winnicott’s theories…

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In-depth analysis of Winnicott’s psychoanalytic theorization was conducted by Jan Abrams in her work The Language of Winnicott. You can access it directly by clicking here.

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Hopkins, L. (2011). Cocreated Idealization in the Winnicott/Khan Analysis: Commentary on Paper by Joyce Slochower. Psychoanal. Dial., 21(1):28-32.

(2011). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 21(1):28-32

Cocreated Idealization in the Winnicott/Khan Analysis: Commentary on Paper by Joyce Slochower

Linda B. Hopkins, Ph.D.

Joyce Slochower's paper applies relational thinking in a new conceptualization of idealization and denigration, which she sees as cocreated. Building on a thorough review of the analytic literature on the clinical experience of idealization, she suggests that idealization, helpful at first, often leads to therapeutic failure. She utilizes historical material about Donald Winnicott and his analyses of Masud Khan and Harry Guntrip to open a space for discussion of a previously unexplored topic, the idealization of the patient by the analyst. Slochower suggests that Winnicott's personal vulnerability to experiences of idealization contributed to failure in his analysis of Khan and to less severe problems in the Guntrip analysis. I focus on the Khan analysis and suggest that the problem was not the idealization, which may have been inevitable, but Winnicott's apparent failure to understand and make use of it. I also suggest that, with the very same understanding, the analytic community in general would benefit from thinking about the community's idealization of Winnicott.

[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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