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(p. 169) Environment 

(p. 169) Environment
Chapter:
(p. 169) Environment
Author(s):

Donald W. Winnicott

DOI:
10.1093/med:psych/9780190271435.003.0029
Page of

date: 12 November 2019

In this chapter, Winnicott proposes that, in maturity, the environment is something individuals can contribute to and take responsibility for. Adolescents need the stability of the home and school environment against which to grow and rebel. Latency-age children need to be able to take a stable environment for granted and may suffer if home life breaks down. During pre-latency, children need a safe parental couple and home to work out the aspects of the triangular situation. Winnicott refers to many of the disturbances and disruptions of normal family life and their impact on the growing child, including the disturbing experiences of hospitalisation for small children. Emotional growth with an appropriate and sensitive mothering figure enables the child to adapt and become emotionally integrated. Very early narcissistic states and very early dependence—from which independence may follow—are also described. Regression to an earlier stage of dependence may occur during psychotherapy and may have a healing quality if the intense pain associated with dependence can be tolerated.

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