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(p. 87) Letter to Anna Freud 

(p. 87) Letter to Anna Freud
(p. 87) Letter to Anna Freud

Donald W. Winnicott

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Subscriber: null; date: 13 December 2018

Originally published in Rodman, F. R. (Ed.), The spontaneous gesture: Selected letters of D. W. Winnicott (Letter 58, pp. 93–94). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987.
Anna Freud (1895–1982), the daughter of Sigmund Freud, was one of the founders of child psychoanalysis. After moving to London in 1938, she founded the Hampstead War Nurseries, as well as the Hampstead Child Therapy Course and Clinic (now the Anna Freud Centre). She was also a co-editor of The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child.

18 November 1955

Dear Miss Freud,

I am trying to put together a small contribution which seems to me to follow your paper Psycho-Analysis and Education and the discussion as reported in Volume 9 of the Psycho-Analytic Study of the Child.

I feel that so many important things were said by you in the course of that discussion that they lead naturally on to a more definite statement than was made of the emotional state of the mother at the very beginning of the infant’s existence. This has been referred to but rather in terms of a biological state, and the word symbiosis has been used.

All this ties up very much with the difficulties that the Society is having at the moment in tracing the early roots of unfused aggression, this being reflected in my opinion in Mrs Klein’s temporary (I hope) insistence on what she calls innate envy, something which involves the idea of a variable genetic factor.

I am writing to you because I am wondering whether you have a group that I could write this short paper for so that it could be discussed. I would be quite contented, of course, if you were to say that it would be best if I were to write it and send it to you and have a talk with you about it personally. (p. 88) I somehow feel that, being human, I need an audience of at least one so that I may orientate to the presentation of my idea.

I know how busy you are but I know also that you can defend yourself and I need not mind asking you for this favour.

I would like to say how very much I have enjoyed this contribution of yours in Volume 9 and I want to thank you again for mentioning my name.

Yours very sincerely,

D. W. Winnicott