The first Mrs Winnicott and the second Mrs Winnicott: does psychoanalysis facilitate healthy marital choice?

Kahr, Brett (2019) The first Mrs Winnicott and the second Mrs Winnicott: does psychoanalysis facilitate healthy marital choice? Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 9 (2). pp. 105-131. ISSN ISSN 2044-4133 ; Online ISSN: 2044-4141

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Dr Donald Woods Winnicott, arguably the most famous and influential psychoanalyst since Professor Sigmund Freud, married twice during his lifetime. In 1923, he wed Miss Alice Buxton Taylor, who divorced him after more than a quarter of a century; and eventually, in 1951, he embarked upon a second marriage to Miss Clare Britton, a social worker, with whom he enjoyed a far more stable partnership which lasted until Winnicott's death in 1971. In this essay, based predominantly on the author's hitherto unpublished interviews with members of Donald Winnicott's family and, also, with relations of Alice Winnicott, as well as numerous unpublished archival sources, we reconstruct the nature of these two very different marriages and consider both the conscious and the unconscious attractions which propelled Winnicott towards these two particular women at different phases of his life and during different periods of psychological awareness. Additionally, we examine whether Winnicott's lengthy tenure as a patient undergoing psychoanalysis, initially with James Strachey, and subsequently with Joan Riviere—both students of Sigmund Freud—may have contributed to Winnicott's arguably more considered choice of a second wife.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Publication date: 01 September 2019
Uncontrolled Keywords: Alice Buxton Taylor Winnicott, Clare Britton Winnicott, Couple Psychoanalysis, Donald Winnicott, Enid Balint, Enid Eichholz, James Strachey, Joan Riviere, Psychoanalysis, Rescue Phantasy, Tavistock Relationships
Subjects: Schools of Psychology > Winnicott, Donald W.
Couple & Family Therapies > Couple/Marital Therapy
Psychological Therapies, Psychiatry, Counselling > Psychoanalysis - History of
Department/People: Special Units

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