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Lessons in healthy emotional development from Donald Winnicott

Updated: Jan 18

How do we develop our unique personalities and identities? How important is our early caregiving and environment in shaping our psychological well-being and comfort with ourselves as adults? What role does conformity and authenticy play in healthy emotional development?

These questions and more were explored by English pediatrician and psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott in the 1900s, and offer important lessons for us today.


Donald Winnicott (1896-1971) was renowned for his groundbreaking contributions to child development and psychoanalysis.


He became Britain's first medically-trained child psychoanalyst. Working at Paddington Green Children's Hospital, he also delivered over 600 talks on the BBC and authored 15 books, including the bestselling "Home is Where We Start From."


Winnicott emphasised the crucial role of early parenting in shaping individual well-being and societal health. He advocated for understanding and meeting the emotional needs of infants, highlighting the impact of early experiences on mental health.


His work remains influential, emphasising the significance of a child's early environment in fostering a healthy and authentic sense of self.


For a fascinating introduction to the man and his work from the School of Life, enjoy the short video below and read the SoL article online.



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