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Bass, A. (1992). Psychotic Anxieties and Containment: A Personal Account of an Analysis with Winnicott by Margaret Little. Psychoanal. Dial., 2(1):117-131.

(1992). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 2(1):117-131

Psychotic Anxieties and Containment: A Personal Account of an Analysis with Winnicott by Margaret Little

Review by:
Anthony Bass, Ph.D.

Interest in Winnicott and in his contributions to clinical theory and technique in psychoanalysis has been growing steadily since his death in 1971 and has never been greater than it is today. In the last few years alone many volumes have appeared that deal explicitly with Winnicott's work and its influence on contemporary psychoanalytic thinking and practice. In addition to the proliferation of literature dealing explicitly with his work, the influence of Winnicott's writing in the current psychoanalytic milieu is strongly felt in the work of a variety of contemporary relational authors, among them Ogden, Bollas, and Casement.

Little's 1990 contribution to this literature brings together in a single volume several previously published works (1981, 1985, 1987). What emerges from this compilation, particularly through the 1985 monograph, is a unique and extraordinarily personal glimpse of Winnicott the analyst and Winnicott the man. Through rich and often startlingly evocative recollections of her personal analysis between 1949 and 1957, Little paints a complex, multifaceted portrait of Winnicott as he engaged with her in the strenuous work and play of her analysis.

As the portrait comes into focus, the reader gains special access to many of the concepts and clinical formulations familiar to students of Winnicott's work — concepts that often prove more elusive, ambiguous, or difficult to grasp in his writings due to a relative paucity of clinical examples and a tendency toward epigrammatic, paradoxical, and poetic forms of expression.

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