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(p. 43) Letter to Michael Balint 

(p. 43) Letter to Michael Balint
Chapter:
(p. 43) Letter to Michael Balint
Author(s):

Donald W. Winnicott

DOI:
10.1093/med:psych/9780190271381.003.0003
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date: 13 December 2019

Winnicott writes to Michael Balint about a paper of Balint’s presented to the British Society. Winnicott believes that though they work from different perspectives both of them are interested in early environmental provision, and what happens when there is a failure at that level. Winnicott disputes Balint’s term ‘primary love’ because for him there is no relationship until the infant has established the capacity to make relationships. Winnicott doubts whether an infant is aware when the environment is satisfactory, but thinks he is affected when it fails. Initially, for Winnicott, the infant is only present in an unintegrated way. Winnicott also disagrees with Balint’s use of the word ‘harmonious’ in primary love because he thinks that this term signifies that a highly complex defence (i.e. negative, also) organization is at work in the child who is no longer a new baby or a pre-natal infant.

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