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PSYCHOHISTORY FORUM MEETING:

D. W. WINNICOTT’S CONSTANT SEARCH FOR THE LIFE THAT FEELS REAL 

PRESENTER: James William ANDERSON, PhD (Northwestern University)

MODERATOR: Jacques SZALUTA, PhD (U.S. Merchant Marine Academy)

TIME/ DATE: December 2, 2017 (Saturday); 9:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

PLACE: Fordham University-Lincoln Center, 113 West 60 Street, @ 9th Ave; room 1019A (10th floor), photo ID is required

This Psychohistory Forum Work-In-Progress seminar will feature James William Anderson, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences  (Northwestern University, Chicago), who is also a  psychohistorian/ psychobiographer. Dr. Anderson will present his paper on Donald W. Winnicott (1896-1971) and speak about the interviews he did in researching Winnicott, with Anna Freud, Masud Khan, and other British psychoanalysts. Dr. Anderson, the editor of The Annual of Psychoanalysis, is enthusiastic about being able to share his research on this English psychoanalyst best known for developing concepts such as the true and false self, the transitional objects, the good-enough mother, and the holding environment. Dr. Anderson wrote this psychobiographical account for a book of papers on “the Winnicott's tradition.” Presently, he is working on a book focused on psychoanalysts Sigmund Freud, Helene Deutsch, D. W. Winnicott, and Heinz Kohut.  For this volume he wants to expand the Winnicott paper and is open to any and all kinds of feedback from our seminar members.  He is “interested to hear about possible further topics to cover, areas of the paper that seem unclear or incomplete, psychological perspectives (other than his) on Winnicott's life, and questions about the writing of psychobiography.”

Introduction

“He just makes theory out of his own sickness.”  According to Masud Khan, that is the dismissive claim Joan Riviere put forth at the conclusion of a public lecture by Donald W. Winnicott.[1]  Such a statement from anyone is objectionable, but coming from Joan Riviere, who had been Winnicott’s analyst, it is unspeakable.  Yet underneath her pathologizing twist, there is an element of truth, in that all psychological theorists rely heavily on their most personal experience in developing their theories (Anderson, 2005).  Freud no doubt had a torrid Oedipus complex.  Erik Erikson (Coles, 1970, p. 180), originator of the concept of the identity crisis, observed, “If ever an identity crisis was central and long drawn out in somebody’s life, it was so in mine.”  Henry A. Murray, with much better humor than Riviere, noted once, referring to theories of human development, “They’re all autobiographies, every one of them.”[2]  In examining Winnicott’s life, my main objective is to explore the connection between his life and work.  While I make use of the published sources, I also rely heavily on interviews I did in the 1980s with a number of people who knew him, such as Khan and Clare Winnicott, Marion Milner, Margaret Little, and Anna Freud.

For a full draft of the paper that will be presented, please click HERE.

Paul H. Elovitz, PhD, Historian, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist, Professor, Director of the Psychohistory Forum and Editor, Clio's Psyche 

 


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