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(p. 143) The Earliest States 

(p. 143) The Earliest States
Chapter:
(p. 143) The Earliest States
Author(s):

Donald W. Winnicott

DOI:
10.1093/med:psych/9780190271435.003.0023
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date: 08 April 2020

In this chapter, Winnicott presents an account, along with a series of diagrams, to describe the earliest states of infancy, including those prior to birth. He postulates an ideal stage of health where internal processes are allowed to evolve while external reality exerts little or no pressure. His diagrams show the isolated individual/infant safe within the mother and as part of her. Small movements by the foetus mean a recognition of the outside-environment mother: coming up against her and discovering her. Equally, any difficulties in the mother can act as environmental impingements on the infant. Winnicott mentions the introduction of the action of gravity after birth and the possibility of a feeling of falling forever if the management of the transition of pre-gravitational to gravitational is handled with clumsiness.

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