What Winnicott does then is to think through the implications of such moments in the Freudian text albeit in the context of an empirical rather than a textual or dialectical approach to psychoanalysis.
How do these notions affect the space of the clinic? Winnicott points out at the very beginning of his paper that the space of psychotherapy includes that of the patient and the analyst. In other words, if the patient is able to play at the outset; then, it becomes a tool of interpretation. If the patient is not able to play at the beginning of the treatment; then, getting him to play becomes the aim of the therapy.
Winnicott begins by citing the pre-existing literature which recognizes an analogy between concentration in adults and the feeling of absorption in play in young children. So, for instance, in the analysis of adults, the act of free-association can take on a playful aspect; this could relate to the actual words used; inflections in speech; and in the deployment of humour.
The space of play for him is neither inside nor outside in the conventional sense of the term. What Winnicott has in mind is a space in between the baby and the mother. This is the space that will re-emerge in between the patient and the analyst in the clinic in the context of mutual playing. Whether a baby will grow up to be healthy will depend on how successful he is in the attempt to relate to his mother at this phase of development.
Winnicott illustrates the phenomena that he has in mind with the help of case vignettes. So, for instance, in the case of a two and a half year old boy named Edmund the specific difficulty is that he will play only with his mother and not accept any substitutes including his grandmother.
This specificity in object choice later becomes a character trait. It began as difficulties in weaning since he refused to be fed by a bottle. While these points are made specifically in the context of the analysis of children they have important implications for a theory of analysis as well. The importance of this clinical insight cannot be over-emphasized since it summarizes in a single sentence why many analyses cannot be completed or why they invariably fail.
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- Study No. 39.
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The analytic interpretation will be therapeutic only at the point at which the child 4. Furthermore, in addition to a sense of mutuality between the analyst and the patient there must be spontaneity in the act of playing. The locus of play is neither inside nor outside.
Attachment, Play, and Authenticity
It is a shared space in between mother and child. If there is an increase in excitement, the child will not be able to play. In addition to excitement, there is the possibility of the child experiencing anxiety during play. Success in playing therefore depends on developing the ability to contain experiences that are the main sources of bodily excitement and anxiety.
When Grolnick treats such basic concepts as transitional objects and transitional phenomena, his discussions, while solid, add nothing new to our knowledge. Hence, the recurrent impression of superficiality. A notable exception to this tone is evidenced in the case vignettes; one gets the impression, in these examples, of a warm, sensitive, and caring analyst.
Nevertheless, even this experience of Grolnick is marred by a subtle ambivalence toward Winnicott; perhaps a. There are two sections, in particular, where Grolnick turns on the very author he has been explicating. I think the reader can faulr Winnicott for, on one level, raising mothers to the heights, but at another, keeping them close to home and hearth. The whole issue could be passed off merely by stating that Winnicott was a man of his time and inevitably he reflected contemporary male attitudes.
But Winnicott demands more criticism because he was a man ahead of his time. He consciously saw woman as one of the early primitive gods, and gave her pride in her biological and psychological creativity and em pathic capacity.
He felt the presence of each sex in the other, cross-identi fications as he termed it. About his unconscious hatred of women, let the reader decide. There are so many serious errors here as to boggle the mind. Winnicott never presented mothers as primitive gods-which is different from how children experience them. He did not try to keep mothers at home; he was describing the importance of the constant, consistent mother-figure in the young child's life. That children need such environmental experiences was Winnicott's firm belief.
The jury still seems to out on the mother's "quality" time versus quantity of time spent with the young infant; the work of D. Stern suggests, however, that Winnicott's observations are still essentially valid. By cross-identification Winnicott means the generalized and necessary human ability, developmentally achieved, to put ourselves in the other person's shoes, so to speak, not just the ability to understand the opposite sex.
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Finally, Grolnick's remark about Winnicott's possible unconscious hatred toward women does not merit comment. Occasionally Grolnick indulges in political observations that do not seem particularly germane. Note for example: Winnicott "would never have been a card carrying feminist" p.