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(p. 477) Notes on the General Implications of Leucotomy 

(p. 477) Notes on the General Implications of Leucotomy
(p. 477) Notes on the General Implications of Leucotomy

Donald W. Winnicott

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date: 29 September 2020

In these notes for an address to a conference on leucotomy at the London School of Economics, Winnicott defines leucotomy as the mutilation of normal, healthy brain tissue for the treatment of disorders of the psyche, that is, to alter an individual’s behaviour, to lessen suffering, to make nursing easier, and to restore functional efficiency. Winnicott makes a link between mutilation of brain vis-à-vis castration and anxiety about each, as brain mutilation is symbolic of castration. Winnicott refers also to the effect on the general public, and the fear generated by the threat of leucotomy, including the wish to be mutilated (bringing up masochism and unconscious guilt), a fear of suicide, and the question of the soul and its relation to the psyche-soma.

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