Mothering, deprivation and the formation of child psychoanalysis in Britain

Julia Borossa

in Growing up with risk

Published by Policy Press

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9781861347329
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447302469 | DOI:
Mothering, deprivation and the formation of child psychoanalysis in Britain

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This chapter recounts how, in Britain, the analysis of children emerged from the years of the Second World War as an acceptable, even high-profile, professional activity, marking and defining British psychoanalysis generally. Of great significance is the way in which psychoanalytic discourse highlighted the mothering relationship, providing a point of contact with other contemporary discourses on childhood. It is shown that the view of childhood as a condition demanding special consideration constitutes something problematic for psychoanalysis, and the term risk itself does not figure easily, if at all, in the discourse of the profession. Indeed, contemporary notions of child protection and the ‘care and protection’ of the young and vulnerable are at odds with a psychoanalytic conception of childhood. But through a consideration of the work of the paediatrician and psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott, a key figure in post-war British psychoanalysis, a context is found for an understanding of what a childhood at risk might mean in psychoanalytic terms.

Keywords: children; childhood; psychoanalysis; mothering; Donald Winnocott

Chapter.  7478 words. 

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