Thinking About Children

Author(s) : Donald W. Winnicott

Thinking About Children

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Playing and Reality

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At his death in 1971, Donald Winnicott left unpublished a large number of papers, lectures and other writings which spanned his career of over forty years as a psychoanalyst and pediatrician. Since then, these have been published in several volumes, initially with guidance from Winnicott's widow Clare, who died in 1984.

Thinking About Children was published to coincide with the centenary of Winnicott's birth in 1896. It collects thirty-one papers, of which twenty-eight have never previously been published in volume form, together with three papers from The Child and the Outside World which were not published in the omnibus volume The Child, The Family and the Outside World. As might be expected, they range widely in tone and content from concise clinical observations to more general meditations including the landmark paper "Towards an objective study of human nature". Of particular interest are sections on autism and psychosomatics, where Winnicott's thinking can be seen to foreshadow more recent developments, such as Frances Tustin's work on autism. He also discusses adoption, starting school and the child's relation to the family - topics which are relevant now as they were during his lifetime.

Also included is a comprehensive bibliography of Winnicott's writings compiled by Harry Karnac. This marks the first occasion on which this invaluable resource has been made available to a wider public. Together with a substantial introduction by the editors, it makes this book indispensable for those acquainted with Winnicott's work, and an ideal introduction for those who have not yet encountered the extraordinary clarity and depth of his thought.

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'A striking feature of Winnicott's work was his great power of observation and description so that what he writes has an air of extraordinary familiarity-one feels that one has known what he reports all along.'
- From the Editors' Introduction

About the Author(s)

Donald Winnicott (1896-1971) was trained in paediatrics, a profession that he practiced to the end of his life, in particular at the Paddington Green Children's Hospital. He began analysis with James Strachey in 1923, became a member of the British Psycho-Analytical Society in 1935, and twice served as its President. He was also a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and of the British Psychological Society.

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