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(p. 387) The Child in the Family Group 

(p. 387) The Child in the Family Group
(p. 387) The Child in the Family Group

Donald W. Winnicott

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date: 25 May 2020

In this lecture to teachers, Winnicott discusses the child as an individual and as a member of a group. He states that in social work the child has always been seen as part of the family, but in psychoanalysis there has been an unavoidable emphasis on the child as an individual. Winnicott discusses the roles of the mother and father in the period of growth when the child moves from being an individual unit to becoming part of the family group structure. He describes the movement in childhood between the mother being experienced as a ‘subjective object’ to the mother becoming objectively perceived. The mother’s empathic adaptation to the child’s needs enables continuity in this stage of development. Winnicott speaks of his theory of transitional objects and phenomena, which are employed by the individual child as he passes through this important phase. He states that in healthy development the child needs time for this phase to be fully exploited. He also touches on issues of loyalty and disloyalty to parents and the to-and-fro between mother and father.

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