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Overview of Psychoanalytic History and Theory

October 8, 2018 @ 8:00 pm - 9:15 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 8:00 pm on Monday, happening 8 times

Adult Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (APP)
2018-19, 1st Block — Mondays, 8:00-9:15pm
Scot Gibson, MD

View Syllabus

Winnicott and the Independents

Parsons, M. (2009). An Independent Theory of Clinical Technique. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 19:221-236.

NOTE: Read ONLY through the paragraph which finishes at the top of page 223, which ends with the line “…rather than on how they exemplify general principles.”

This brief snippet of a larger article explains how and why the group of analysts known as the “Independent Group” formed within the British Psychoanalytical Society. I’m not sure what I think of Parson’s larger point about “Independent Theory” as a sort of theoretical open-mindedness, but I appreciate his short history. Prominent analysts from the Independent Group (sometimes called the “Middle Group”) were D.W. Winnicott, John Bowlby, Michael Balint, Masud Khan, Marion Milner, Ronald Fairbairn, and Paula Heimann.

Phillips, A., Winnicott, excerpt from Ch3, “War-Time.” Harvard University Press, 1988, pp72-76.

Phillips, A., Winnicott, Ch4, “The Appearing Self.” Harvard University Press, 1988.

These two readings, a chapter and another small snippet of another chapter, are from a biographical work on Winnicott by the psychoanalytic writer Adam Phillips. I think he does a very nice job of describing many of Winnicott’s contributions to psychoanalysis. The shorter snippet is a description of Winnicott’s famous “Spatula Game,” an exercise which he used to evaluate the behavior of infants with their mothers. (What would be called a “spatula” in a doctor’s office in Britain would be called a “tongue depressor” in the US.)

Optional Reading

Winnicott, D.W. (1960). The Theory of the Parent-Infant Relationship. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 41:585-595.

Winnicott, D.W. (1953). Transitional Objects and Transitional Phenomena—A Study of the First Not-Me Possession. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 34:89-97.

Winnicott, D.W. (1949). Hate in the Counter-Transference. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 30:69-74.

I’ve included these three optional articles as good representatives of Winnicott’s own work. Unlike many psychoanalytic theorists, Winnicott’s writing is very clear, direct, readable, and relatively jargon-free. It’s worth noting that on Pep-Web (the widely used database for psychoanalytic articles) these are the three most popularly referenced articles on the entire database.


October 8, 2018
8:00 pm - 9:15 pm


(206) 328-5315


4020 E Madison St, #230
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(206) 328-5315