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Biography

Significant Publications

1896

Donald Woods Winnicott born in Plymouth, Devon, England. Youngest son, with two older sisters, of Elizabeth Martha Woods Winnicott and John Frederick Winnicott, a merchant who was twice mayor of Plymouth.

1910

Enters The Leys School, a boarding school in Cambridge.

1914

Studies Natural Science at Jesus College, Cambridge University, in preparation to read medicine.

1917

  • Enters St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical School, London.

  • Enlists in the Royal Navy, serving during the war on H.M.S. Lucifer as Surgeon-Probationer.

1920

Graduates from Barts and continues to work there as House Physician.

1923

  • Appointed Assistant Physician at Paddington Green Children’s Hospital, eventually becoming Physician-in-Charge.

  • Appointed Assistant Physician at the Queen’s Hospital for Children.

  • Marries Alice Taylor.

  • Begins his analysis with James Strachey.

1924

Opens his own practice in Belgravia, London.

1925

  • His mother, Elizabeth, dies of cardiac disease.

  • Becomes a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine.

1927

Begins his psychoanalytic training at the Institute of Psychoanalysis, London, supervised by Ella Freeman Sharpe and Nina Searl.

1928

Appointed Physician in charge of a newly formed Rheumatism Clinic at the Queen’s Hospital.

1931

Clinical Notes on Disorders of Childhood [CW 1:3:120]

1933

Finishes his ten-year analysis with James Strachey.

1934

  • Qualifies as an adult psychoanalyst and becomes an associate member of the British Psychoanalytical Society (BPAS).

  • Resigns from the Queen’s Hospital but continues to run the rheumatism clinic.

  • Continues training as a child analyst under the supervision of Melanie Klein, Melitta Schmideberg, and Nina Searl.

1935

  • Qualifies as the first male child psychoanalyst at the BPAS.

  • Melanie Klein asks him to analyse her son Eric.

  • Gives his membership paper, ‘The Manic Defence’, to the BPAS.

‘The Manic Defence’ [CW 1:4:6]

1936

  • Begins his second analysis, with Joan Riviere, lasting until 1941.

  • Becomes a full member of the BPAS.

‘Appetite and Emotional Disorder’ [CW 1:4:11]

1939

  • Gives his first broadcasts on BBC Radio.

  • Freud dies in London.

  • ‘Aggression’ [CW 2:1:8]

  • Letter to the British Medical Journal, ‘The Evacuation of Small Children’, with E. Miller and J. Bowlby [CW 2:1:6]

1940

‘Children and Their Mothers’ [CW 2:2:2]

1941

Appointed as psychiatric consultant to the scheme for evacuated children in Oxfordshire and meets Clare Britton, social worker in charge of the scheme.

‘The Observation of Infants in a Set Situation’ [CW 2:3:6]

1941–3

  • Named as one of five Kleinian training analysts and participates in the ‘Controversial Discussions’ in the BPAS.

  • Becomes Director of the Child Department of the BPAS, holding the post until 1960.

  • ‘Resolution K: On Scientific Aims in Psychoanalysis’ [CW 2:4:1]

  • ‘Child department consultations’ [CW 2:4:2]

Mid-1940s

  • No longer regarded as a Kleinian.

  • Broadcasts ‘Getting to Know Your Baby’ and other programmes on BBC radio, for ‘the ordinary devoted mother’.

1944

Becomes a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.

1945

  • Getting to Know Your Baby

  • ‘Primitive Emotional Development’ [CW 2:7:8]

1947

  • ‘Hate in the Countertransference’ [CW 3:2:1]

  • ‘Residential Management as Treatment for Difficult Children’ [CW 3:2:3]

1948

  • Chairman of the Medical Section of the British Psychological Society.

  • His father, Sir John Frederick Winnicott, dies.

  • Suffers his first coronary.

  • Paddington Green Hospital is absorbed into St Mary’s Hospital.

  • ‘Paediatrics and Psychiatry’ [CW 3:3:2]

  • ‘Children’s Hostels in War and Peace’ [CW 3:1:1]

  • ‘Reparation in Respect of Mother’s Organized Defence Against Depression’ [CW 3:3:1]

1949

  • Leaves his first wife, Alice.

  • Suffers his second coronary.

  • The Ordinary Devoted Mother and Her Baby

  • ‘Mind and Its Relation to the Psyche-Soma’ [CW 3:4:20]

  • ‘Birth Memories, Birth Trauma, and Anxiety’ [CW 3:4:8]

1950

  • Suffers a third coronary after a patient commits suicide.

  • Named Scientific Secretary of the BPAS.

  • ‘Some Thoughts on the Meaning of the Word Democracy’ [CW 3:5:17]

  • ‘Aggression in Relation to Emotional Development’ [CW 3:5:2]

1951

  • Divorces Alice.

  • Marries Clare Britton.

  • Becomes Training Secretary of the BPAS.

  • Begins analysis of Masud Khan in October, continuing until April 1954.

‘Transitional Objects and Transitional Phenomena’ [CW 3:6:6; CW 4:2:21; CW 5:4:24; CW 9:3:5]

1952

  • President of the Paediatric Section of the Royal Society of Medicine.

  • Broadcasts the series ‘The Ordinary Devoted Mother and Her Baby’ on BBC radio.

  • Suffers his fourth coronary.

  • ‘Psychoses and Child Care’ [CW 4:1:5]

  • ‘Anxiety Associated with Insecurity’ [CW 4:1:11]

1953

Clare Winnicott begins analysis with Melanie Klein.

  • ‘Symptom Tolerance in Paediatrics’ [CW 4:2:4]

  • ‘The Mother’s Contribution to Society’ [CW 5:3:30]

1954

Suffers his fifth coronary

  • ‘Withdrawal and Regression’ [CW 4:3:29]

  • ‘The Depressive Position in Normal Emotional Development’ [CW 4:3:5]

  • ‘Metapsychological and Clinical Aspects of Regression Within the Psycho-Analytical Set-up’ [CW 4:3:6]

1955

Gives the first of many annual courses of lectures at the Child Development Department, Institute of Education, University of London.

‘Clinical Varieties of Transference’ [CW 5:1:11]

1956

Elected President of the BPAS for the first time, on a three-year term.

  • ‘Primary Maternal Preoccupation’ [CW 5:2:16]

  • ‘The Antisocial Tendency’ [CW 5:2:8]

  • ‘Paediatrics and Childhood Neurosis’ [CW 5:2:11]

1957

  • The Child and the Family

  • The Child and the Outside World

  • ‘On the Contribution of Direct Child Observation to Psychoanalysis’ [CW 5:3:21]

1958

  • Collected Papers: Through Paediatrics to Psychoanalysis

  • ‘The Capacity to Be Alone’ [CW 5:3:20]

  • ‘Child Analysis in the Latency Period’ [CW 5:4:13]

1959

Spends August in Finland giving courses and lectures as part of a World Health Organisation conference.

‘Classification: Is There a Psycho-analytic Contribution to Psychiatric Classification?’ [CW 5:5:5]

1960

  • Broadcasts the series ‘The Ordinary Devoted Mother and Her Children’ on BBC radio.

  • Melanie Klein dies.

  • Steps down as Director of the Child Department of the BPAS, but remains Consultant Physician.

  • ‘The Effect of Psychosis on Family Life’ [CW 6:1:6]

  • ‘The Theory of the Parent–Infant Relationship’ [CW 6:1:21]

  • ‘Ego Distortion in Terms of True and False Self’ [CW 6:1:22]

  • ‘String: A Technique of Communication’ [CW 6:1:20]

  • ‘Counter-transference’ [CW 5:5:20]

1961

Retires from St Mary’s Hospital after forty years.

‘Varieties of Psychotherapy’ [CW 6:2:5]

1962

Undertakes a lecture tour in the United States in October, speaking in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Topeka, Boston, and New York.

  • ‘The Aims of Psycho-analytical Treatment’ [CW 6:3:2]

  • ‘A Personal View of the Kleinian Contribution’ [CW 6:3:8]

  • ‘Ego Integration in Child Development’ [CW 6:3:19]

  • ‘Providing for the Child in Health and Crisis’ [CW 6:3:10]

1962–8

Analyses Harry Guntrip ‘on demand’, continuing for over 150 sessions.

1963

Undertakes a lecture tour in the United States in October, visiting Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Baltimore.

  • ‘The Development of the Capacity for Concern’ [CW 6:3:11]

  • ‘Fear of Breakdown’ [CW 6:4:21]

  • ‘From Dependence Towards Independence in the Development of the Individual’ [CW 6:4:11]

  • ‘Morals and Education’ [CW 6:3:18]

  • ‘Communicating and Not Communicating Leading to a Study of Certain Opposites’ [CW 6:4:8]

  • ‘Training for Child Psychiatry’ [CW 6:3:5]

  • ‘Psychotherapy of Character Disorders’ [CW 6:4:9]

  • ‘The Mentally Ill in Your Caseload’ [CW 6:4:5]

  • ‘Psychiatric Disorder in Terms of Infantile Maturational Processes’ [CW 6:4:12]

  • ‘Dependence in Infant-Care, in Child-Care, and in the Psycho-analytic Setting’ [CW 6:3:9]

  • ‘Adolescence: Struggling Through the Doldrums’ [CW 6:2:4]

  • ‘The Value of Depression’ [CW 6:4:10]

1964

  • The Child, the Family and the Outside World

  • ‘The Concept of the False Self’ [CW 7:1:1]

  • ‘The Relationship of a Mother to Her Baby at the Beginning’ [CW 6:1:8]

1965

Elected President of the BPAS for a second three-year term

  • The Family and Individual Development

  • The Maturational Processes and the Facilitating Environment

  • ‘The Value of the Therapeutic Consultation’ [CW 7:2:22]

  • ‘A Clinical Study of the Effect of a Failure of the Average Expectable Environment on a Child’s Mental Functioning’ [CW 10:1:4]

1966

  • ‘The Absence of a Sense of Guilt’ [CW 7:3:32]

  • ‘The Ordinary Devoted Mother’ [CW 7:3:3]

  • ‘The Child in the Family Group’ [CW 7:3:17]

  • ‘On the Split-Off Male and Female to be Found in Men and Women’ [CW 7:3:2]

1967

  • President of the Association for Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

  • Chair of the International Psychoanalytic Association’s Sponsoring Committee for the Finnish Psychoanalytic Society, which gains status as a provisional society.

  • Lectures in Boston, USA.

  • ‘The Location of Cultural Experience’ [CW 7:3:31]

  • ‘Mirror-Role of Mother and Family in Child Development’ [CW 8:1:38]

  • ‘The Concept of a Healthy Individual’ [CW 8:1:4]

1968

  • Wins the James Spence Gold Medal for Paediatrics.

  • Appointed Honorary Member of the Royal Medico-Psychological Association.

  • Undertakes a lecture tour in the United States, speaking in New York, but suffers a serious coronary after reading ‘The Use of an Object’ to the New York Psychoanalytic Society.

  • ‘The Squiggle Game’ [CW 8:2:47]

  • ‘Breast-Feeding as Communication’ [CW 8:2:26]

  • ‘Communication Between Infant and Mother, and Mother and Infant, Compared and Contrasted’ [CW 8:2:2]

  • ‘The Use of an Object and Relating Through Identifications’ [CW 8:2:28]

  • ‘Sum, I Am’ [CW 8:2:10]

1969

  • ‘The Use of an Object in the Context of Moses and Monotheism’ [CW 9:1:4]

  • ‘Mother’s Madness Appearing in the Clinical Material as an Ego-Alien Factor’ [CW 9:1:29]

1970

Prepares to give keynote paper to the IPA Congress in Vienna in July.

  • ‘Dependence in Child-Care’ [CW 9:2:15]

  • ‘On the Basis for Self in Body’ [CW 9:2:12]

  • ‘Residential Care as Therapy’ [CW 9:2:9]

1971

Dies of a coronary in January.

  • Playing and Reality

  • Therapeutic Consultations in Child Psychiatry [CW 10]

  • ‘Dreaming, Fantasying and Living: A Case-History Describing a Primary Dissociation’ [CW 9:3:6]

  • ‘Playing: A Theoretical Statement’ [CW 8:2:15]

  • ‘Playing: Creative Activity and the Search for the Self’ [CW 8:1:27]

  • ‘Creativity and Its Origins’ [CW 9:3:7]

  • ‘The Place Where We Live’ [CW 8:2:1]

  • ‘Interrelating Apart from Instinctual Drive and in Terms of Cross-Identifications’ [CW 9:3:8]

  • ‘Contemporary Concepts of Adolescent Development and Their Implications for Higher Education’ [CW 9:3:9]

1977

The Piggle: An Account of the Psychoanalytic Treatment of a Little Girl (Ed. I. Ramzy) [CW 11:2:117]

1981

The Squiggle Foundation established.

1984

  • Clare Winnicott dies.

  • The Winnicott Trust founded.

Deprivation and Delinquency (Eds. C. Winnicott, R. Shepherd, M. Davis)

1986

  • Home Is Where We Start From (Eds. C. Winnicott, R. Shepherd, M. Davis)

  • Holding and Interpretation: Fragment of an Analysis

1987

  • Babies and Their Mothers (Eds. C. Winnicott, R. Shepherd, M. Davis)

  • The Spontaneous Gesture: Selected Letters of D.W. Winnicott (Ed. F. R. Rodman)

1988

Human Nature [CW 11:1]

1989

Psychoanalytic Explorations (Eds. C. Winnicott, R. Shepherd, M. Davis)

1993

Talking to Parents (Eds. C. Bollas, R. Shepherd, M. Davis)

1996

Thinking About Children (Eds. R. Shepherd, J. Johns, H. Taylor Robinson)

2002

Winnicott on the Child

2017

The Collected Works of D. W. Winnicott (Eds. L. Caldwell, H. Taylor Robinson)