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(p. 41) The Neonate and His Mother 

(p. 41) The Neonate and His Mother
Chapter:
(p. 41) The Neonate and His Mother
Author(s):

Donald W. Winnicott

DOI:
10.1093/med:psych/9780190271398.003.0004
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date: 10 July 2020

In this paper, Winnicott describes some elements of the psychology of the newborn. He distinguishes the difference between a mother’s psychology and that of her infant's, and also ascribes to the mother the capacity for primary maternal preoccupation (his term) for identifying with her infant. He gives importance both to the concept of the proper ‘holding’ physically and emotionally of the newborn and to the environmental provision that the infant needs. The beginnings of the personality, and the difficulties inherent in failures of early provision leading to serious mental illness are also discussed. Detailed examples from his clinical cases are given.

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