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Rubin, J.B. (2015). The Evolution of Winnicott's Thinking: Examining the Growth of Psychoanalytic Thought over Three Generations. By Margaret Boyle Spelman. London: Karnac Books, 2013, 342 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 102(1):161-166.
(2015). Psychoanalytic Review, 102(1):161-166
The Evolution of Winnicott's Thinking: Examining the Growth of Psychoanalytic Thought over Three Generations. By Margaret Boyle Spelman. London: Karnac Books, 2013, 342 pp.
Review by: Jeffrey B. Rubin, Ph.D.
D. W. Winnicott, an English pediatrician and psychoanalyst, was one of the seminal figures in the history of psychoanalysis. His writings on primary maternal preoccupation, the good-enough mother/analyst, transitional objects, playing, true and false self, and so forth, have immeasurably enriched our understanding of human development and the psychotherapeutic process. One of the founders of British object relations theory and a beloved member of the Group of Independents (formerly called the Middle Group) of the British Psychoanalytic Association, Winnicott has influenced generations of subsequent analysts who continue to be enlightened and inspired by his theoretical and clinical insights and discoveries.
In The Evolution of Winnicott's Thinking: Examining the Growth of Psychoanalytic Thought Over Three Generations, Margaret Boyle Spelman, a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and organizational psychologist, and the author of Winnicott's Babies and Winnicott's Patients: Psychoanalysis as Transitional Space explores both the progression of Winnicott's work and his subsequent impact, and the “evolution of Winnicott's thinking in his ‘analytic family’ from two subsequent generations.” (p. xv). Spelman does not discuss what she calls the “greater community of those who profess to be influenced by Winnicott's thinking or call themselves “‘Winnicottian.’” (p. xix), but, rather, analysts analyzed by Winnicott (Marion Milner, Enid Balint, Masud Khan, Margaret Little, and Harry Guntrip) and analysts analyzed by one of his analysands (Andreas Giannakoulas, Pearl King, Juliet Mitchell, Linda Hopkins, Jennifer Johns, Christopher Bollas, Adam Phillips, and Ralph Layland).
The Evolution of Winnicott's Thinking begins with a brief outline of Winnicott's thought.
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