Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Winnicott, Donald Woods

  • Jaco HammanEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_745

Donald Woods Winnicott (1896–1971) was a prominent British pediatrician and analyst who came to prominence, especially in North America, only after his death. Using understandable terms, he introduced concepts and phrases such as “the good-enough mother” (Winnicott et al. 1987), “the true and false self” (Winnicott 1994), “holding environment” (Winnicott 1993; Winnicott et al. 1994), “the transitional object and transitional phenomena” (Winnicott 1993), and “there is no such thing as a baby” (Winnicott 1994). Winnicott never established a school of thought, but his ideas inform especially psychoanalytic thinking about the pre-Oedipal child and the importance of the parent/infant relationship.

Object Relations Theory

As an object relational theorist, he joined others (most notably Margaret Little, W.R.D. Fairbairn, Charles Rycroft, and Masud Kahn) to form the Middle or Independent Group within the British Psychoanalytic Society. This group argued that seeking relationships, and not...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Divinity SchoolVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA