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(p. 117) Reparation in Respect of Mother’s Organized Defence Against Depression 

(p. 117) Reparation in Respect of Mother’s Organized Defence Against Depression
(p. 117) Reparation in Respect of Mother’s Organized Defence Against Depression

Donald W. Winnicott

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date: 23 September 2020

In this paper Winnicott discusses how false reparation can appear through a patient’s identification with the mother, where the dominating factor is the mother’s organized defence against depression and unconscious guilt. He states that the attainment of a capacity for making reparation in respect of personal guilt is one of the most important steps in the development of the healthy human being. While Winnicott’s experience tells him that a children’s out-patient department demonstrates the extent of hypochondria in mothers, he admits that there is no sharp dividing line between the hypochondria of a depressed woman and a mother’s genuine concern for her child. The task for the child is to deal with the parent’s mood, after which they can start their own lives. Winnicott discusses the task of the analyst with this sort of patient to not be experienced as depressed - and notes the importance of this relationship between the patient and the environmental mood in group work.

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