Attachment, Play, and Authenticity: A Winnicott Primer

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Overview

D.W. Winnicott is likely the most influential and evocative child therapist and theoretician who ever lived. His work provides the underpinning for much of the empirical and clinical enterprises regarding the developmental process over the past half-century. Using over 25 of his most thought-provoking—indeed provocative—conceptual and clinical writing as its base, Attachment, Play and Authenticity provides a systematic construction of his theorizing and then integrates it with his clinical work. The book begins with a description of Winnicott's unique ability to link Freudian drive theory with what we now call object relations theory by describing the newborn as a being with 'predatory ideas' and the new mother as adaptively 'preoccupied' with her baby. It then discusses the infant's innate need to 'create' its mother; the dangers of a false compliance to an unreliable mother in order to survive; the dynamic dialectic between the baby's essential isolation and its need for others; and the capacity for hate as intrinsic to the humanization process. The role of play as the medium and hallmark of human potential, the creation of transitional phenomena to weather the aloneness of existence and the antisocial qualities inherent in the human condition are then all brought into play as pillars of his conceptual constructions. These themes are constantly interwoven throughout the book with an analysis of his clinical work, so that Winnicott as preeminent clinician sits alongside Winnicott as generative theorist.

2009 Finalist for the Gradiva Prize for Outstanding Theoretical Book of 2008

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Although straightforward and accessible, Tuber's explication of Winnicott's remarkable and remarkably phrased key concepts transcends its 'primer' subtitle, as he grapples with obscure and enigmatic ideas and insists on clarification of the sometimes elusive poetry of Winnicott's extraordinary work... This 'primer' offers the wisdom of Tuber's years of immersion in Winnicott's thought, seamlessly combining simplicity and sophistication to produce an engaging book.
— Dr. Karen Gilmore
Spring 2010 Psychoanalytic Psychology
Very well-organized and beautifully rendered book. . . . Complementary to his intimate, almost conversational engagement with Winnicott is Tuber's clear and explicit rendering of what is in essence a course on Winnicott. . . . Attachment, Play and Authernticity: A Winnicott Primer is a solid and true understanding of the work of Donald W. Winnicott.
Peter Fonagy
This is the best integration of Donald Winnicott's oeuvre to date. It takes from Winnicott's work what is most clinically relevant today and builds upon it, making it 'real' but never losing the poetic richness of Winnicott's contributions. This book is a wonderful presentation of Winnicott's work, from which both Winnicott and the author emerge with immense distinction.
Aug. 2008 CHOICE
Those who take the time to play with Tuber and Winnicott will be the better for it. Highly recommended. All readers, all levels.
Arietta Slade
This is a breathtaking book. Winnicott's humanity, generosity, humor, and brilliance leap off the page in Steven Tuber's loving, creative, and magnificent contemplation of his work.
Sebastiano Santostefano
In this clear and creatively written book, the reader is offered an unusual experience. Steve Tuber does more than make available a detailed examination of the theoretical and clinical contributions of D.W. Winnicott. As the metaphor of the title of this excellent book expresses, with each chapter Tuber invites and encourages the reader to step into a playroom and sand box and interact, participate and play with one of Winnicott's core concepts and techniques which Tuber presents to the reader as a dilemma to work through and sort out, before embracing the solution.

During the past 25 years, interest in relational psychology and psychoanalysis has surged including the revival of contributions by early writers. Tuber does an outstanding job reviving the contributions of Winnicott for this movement. The author's presentation of these contributions will be highly valuable and benefit very experienced psychogynamic therapists as well as students of clinical psychology.

Paul Wachtel
This book, based on a tremendously popular course that Professor Tuber teaches in the City College clinical program, presents Winnicott's ideas in a way that I think Winnicott himself would have loved. It is clearly a labor of love, filled with the three Ws: wit, wisdom, and Winnicott.
Lewis Aron
Winnicott was among the most seminal writers in the first century of psychoanalysis, and his subtle, elusive, and complex ideas are of enormous importance to both child and adult therapists. In this important, scholarly, but very accessible text, Steven Tuber has provided a much-needed and yet reader-friendly introduction to Winnicott's theoretical and clinical contributions.
Psychotherapy:Theory, Research, Training, Practice, December 2009 - Robert Grossmark
Steven Tuber's wonderful Attachment, Play and Authenticity: A Winnicott Primer is essential reading for every psychotherapist. Regardless of one's orientation or of the clinical population with which one works, this book is a vibrant introduction and explication of one of the most important writers and thinkers in our field. This book is a treasure trove both for those who may already be familiar with the work of Winnicott and for those who have yet to encounter him . . . This clear and clinically relevant book spells out with great clarity and richness the main ideas and structure of Winnicott's contribution and how to apply them to one's clinical thinking and work.
Psychotherapy:Theory, Research, Training, Practice, December 2009 - Linda S. Penn
Tuber captures what I see as the essence of Winnicott's work, and as Winnicott would have loved, presents it without jargon or pretense in the simple terms that best elucidate Winnicott's view of the human experience . . . Tuber's understanding of Winnicott is deep and rich, his explanations are wonderfully clear, his discussion of the extension of Winnicott's ideas rewarding, and his style humane, personal, and playful.
February 2009 International Journal Of Psychoanalysis
While this book is aimed primarily at first-time readers of Winnicott, especially those who are starting out as therapists, Tuber's attention to papers that are not ordinarily read in clinical training and his efforts to delve deeply into Winnicott's writing offer a useful second look for more seasoned students of psychoanalytic thought as well. Tuber's extensive knowledge of Winnicott's corpus and his lengthy experience in applying Winnicott's ideas in clinical work with children make him a learned guide, while his enthusiasm and obvious love for Winnicott make him a delightful one.
June 2009 Journal Of The American Psychoanalytic Association
It is worthwhile reading for both the beginner and the more experienced clinician as a guide to the thinking and humanity of Winnicott and his many important and lasting contributions to our clinical work and our understanding of rational development.
Summer 2009 Psychologist-Pscyhoanalyst
Steven Tuber's beautifully written Attachment, Play and Authenticity is a tight, smart, and inherently readable volume that serves as a user-friendly guide to the master theoretician and clinician.
Contemporary Psychoanalysis, January 2010 - Monica Grady
. . . A poignant achievement . . . It is clear that all he brings to bear on this material helps him embody and enliven Winnicott's legacy, and has provided a welcome addition to Winnicottian scholarship. 'Creativity,' Winnicott once remarked, 'is...the doing that arises out of being.' We owe Steve Turber a debt of gratitude for offering us a creative piece of doing arising from his own being.
Journal Of The American Academy Of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry - Dr. Karen Gilmore
Although straightforward and accessible, Tuber's explication of Winnicott's remarkable and remarkably phrased key concepts transcends its 'primer' subtitle, as he grapples with obscure and enigmatic ideas and insists on clarification of the sometimes elusive poetry of Winnicott's extraordinary work... This 'primer' offers the wisdom of Tuber's years of immersion in Winnicott's thought, seamlessly combining simplicity and sophistication to produce an engaging book.
February 2010 Human Ecology
The volume is a resource that is likely to be referenced frequently by researchers and individual chapters will provide excellent reading material for courses in ecological anthropology.
February 2010 Journal Of The Amer. Academy Of Child and Adolescent Psych
This delightful book reads like an in-depth seminar on selected works of Donald Winnicott. . . . Tuber's selection creates a coherent picture of Winnicott's theoretical position, organized and informed by the kind of familiarity that a teacher develops over the course of many years of study. . . . Tuber is a friendly and personable guide. . . . This 'primer' offers the wisdom of Tuber's years of immersion in Winnicott's thought, seamlessly combining simplicity and sophistication to produce an engaging book.
Spring 2010 Clinical Social Work Journal
Tuber has chosen to focus on the paradoxes in [Winnicott's] work and plays with them with creativity and enthusiasm.
September 2010 American Journal Of Psychoanalysis
While described as a primer and written in a beguilingly easy style that is both enthusiastic and playful, this book is a highly contemplative and though-provoking work by an author who clearly and intuitively understands Winnicott....in the weeks since reading this book I have noticed welcome changes in how I think and talk about patients and in the rhythm and style of my interventions, and I believe that it is Tuber's insightful perspective that has transformed my appreciation of Winnicott into a deeper form of effective understanding. He ends by stating that he hopes he has done Winnicott justice: it is this reviewer's opinion that he has done that and more. He has written a book that will not only reinforce Winnicott's historical legacy but that also will perpetuate the continuing relevance and vitality of Winnicott's works.
Jeremy Holmes
It is hard to overestimate the sheer excitement and pleasure to be derived from this remarkable book. Based on a 'close reading' of Winnicott's principal texts, it vividly and logically explicates his central themes—true and false self, authenticity, positive hate, play, creativity and transitional phenomena—all in the context of the parent-infant (or therapist-patient) relationship. Homologous with his chosen subject, Tuber is original, profound, amusing, and truthful, transmuting Winnnicott's sometimes paradoxical and poetic concepts from nouns into active verbs. He makes the idiosyncratic world of Winnicott seem lucid, accessible, and irrefutable. A must-read for all therapists and analysts, and destined to become one of the key psychology books of the decade.
September 2010 The American Journal of Psychoanalysis
While described as a primer and written in a beguilingly easy style that is both enthusiastic and playful, this book is a highly contemplative and though-provoking work by an author who clearly and intuitively understands Winnicott....in the weeks since reading this book I have noticed welcome changes in how I think and talk about patients and in the rhythm and style of my interventions, and I believe that it is Tuber's insightful perspective that has transformed my appreciation of Winnicott into a deeper form of effective understanding. He ends by stating that he hopes he has done Winnicott justice: it is this reviewer's opinion that he has done that and more. He has written a book that will not only reinforce Winnicott's historical legacy but that also will perpetuate the continuing relevance and vitality of Winnicott's works.
New York Play Therapy Association Newsletter
This book will be invaluable to mental health professionals unfamiliar with Winnicott's work or those of us who need a refresher. It is a comprehensive, wise, and unusually readable summary of Winnicott's key conceptual contributions and his approach to therapy. Steve Tuber is a first rate clinician and scholar....I regard him as well as his book as a true gift to the field of child therapy.
Psychoanalytic Psychology
We've all given Winnicott a whirl—or two, or three. Far fewer of us have pursued Winnicott down the meandering roads he traveled to unearth and understand the magic of early psychological life and of clinical process. In this very well-organized and beautifully rendered book, Steven Tuber dares to do so and more... His project is not only to tell us what Winnicott says, nor solely to help us understand Winnicott, but also to help us see how and why Winnicott got to what he says. At times it is as if Tuber can articulate things about Winnicott's understandings that Winnicott himself could not... Attachment, Play and Authenticity: A Winnicott Primer is a solid and true understanding of the work of Donald W. Winnicott, and it now stands, as all translations do, in a third space, a transitional space—between me and Winnicott, allowing me to find him and use him in ways I could not have before. I will put this book next to Winnicott on my shelf.
Clinical Social Work Journal
Tuber has chosen to focus on the paradoxes in [Winnicott's] work and plays with them with creativity and enthusiasm.
Psychologist-Pscyhoanalyst
Steven Tuber's beautifully written Attachment, Play and Authenticity is a tight, smart, and inherently readable volume that serves as a user-friendly guide to the master theoretician and clinician.
Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association
It is worthwhile reading for both the beginner and the more experienced clinician as a guide to the thinking and humanity of Winnicott and his many important and lasting contributions to our clinical work and our understanding of rational development.
International Journal of Psychoanalysis
While this book is aimed primarily at first-time readers of Winnicott, especially those who are starting out as therapists, Tuber's attention to papers that are not ordinarily read in clinical training and his efforts to delve deeply into Winnicott's writing offer a useful second look for more seasoned students of psychoanalytic thought as well. Tuber's extensive knowledge of Winnicott's corpus and his lengthy experience in applying Winnicott's ideas in clinical work with children make him a learned guide, while his enthusiasm and obvious love for Winnicott make him a delightful one.
Choice
Those who take the time to play with Tuber and Winnicott will be the better for it. Highly recommended. All readers, all levels.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765705419
  • Publisher: The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 2/8/2008
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven Tuber, Ph.D., ABPP is professor of psychology and past director of the doctoral program in clinical psychology at the City University of New York at City College.

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Table of Contents

Part 1 Preface Part 2 Acknowledgements Chapter 3 Overview Chapter 4 Dialectical Meaning-Making in Infancy Chapter 5 A Good Object Must be Found in Order to be Created Chapter 6 The True Self and False Compliance Chapter 7 We are Essentially Isolates, with the Capacity to be Alone Chapter 8 Using Objects and the Capacity to Hate Chapter 9 Integrating Theory with Therapy: The Case of Bob Chapter 10 The Meaning and Power of Play Chapter 11 The Mind, the Body, and the World of Transitional Phenomena Chapter 12 Hate in the Countertransference Chapter 13 The Antisocial Tendency Chapter 14 The Aims of Psychoanalytic Treatment Chapter 15 Winnicott as Therapist More than Theorist Part 16 Bibliography

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