D.W. Winnicott's theory of stability

Essay by kata100University, Bachelor'sA-, March 2003

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D.W. Winnicott synthesized pediatrics and psychiatry to create his own way of treating disturbed children. "He did not hesitate to mix standard analytic method with other procedures that met the needs of specially primitive patients. In a very unanalytical way, he sometimes intervened directly into the patients daily life. He aimed to provide more stability and security for those who functioned especially precariously or who exhibited the special needs of people with primitively organized personalities" (Monte p325). Winnicott seemed to become more personally invested in his patients lives than most doctors normally become. It seems that he believed the stability he provided would make a difference in the treatment outcome of his patients.

The theory Winnicott eventually developed began in early infancy. "A mothers job is to protect the baby from impingements, which are anything internally or externally based that impair normal development in the child" (Monte, p.338). These impairments

could have been anything from the mother not responding to the baby's smile, to not helping the infant connect outside reality to the baby's inside fantasy world.

One of his theories is that of the True and False self. He formed this theory from two findings. The first was his study of adult schizophrenic and borderline patients. He found that some adults spent their lifetimes feeling not real and searching for their "true selves." The second was his study of children brought in by their parents for depression or anger. The child was cheery and excited in the visits, which puzzled Winnicott at first. Eventually he came to the conclusion that the child was "putting on a show" to create the desired environment, or at least what the child thought was the desired environment.

Many of these children used this false self to ward off their mothers depression and...