Exploring some key papers of Winnicott's in the light of the present climate crisis.

Monday 28th February, 2022

7:30 pm



Winnicott lived in an era that saw two devastating world wars, mass genocide and, later, the threat of nuclear holocaust. Writing in 1950, reflecting on the likelihood of individuals being able to see beyond their own national geographical boundaries and to espouse agendas without frontiers, Winnicott adopted a pessimistic tone “It is not possible for persons to get further in society-building than they can get with their own personal development. For these reasons we regard with suspicion the use of terms like “world-citizenship”. Perhaps only a few really great and fairly aged men and women ever get as far in their own development as to be justified in thinking in such wide terms.”
Is Climate Change, with the possible threat of eventual extinction, comparable?
Is the threat at another level or in a totally different category to 20th Century events?
Is it within human capability to build a society that can simultaneously maintain the facilitating physical environment required to survive and rise to the challenges of personal, interpersonal and social development?

This Squiggle study group is being established to explore the contribution which Winnicott’s ideas might make to our understanding of the implications and responses to the crisis of Climate Change.

It will run throughout 2022 and is open to everybody with an interest in the subject: participants from all countries will be warmly welcomed.

Participation is free. Tickets available via Eventbrite.

Meetings will be via Zoom for an hour and a half on a Monday evening 19:30-21:00 GMT, three times a term for a year to discuss aspects of a relevant Paper by Winnicott in the light of climate change. Clinical examples would be welcome.

The sessions will be convened by two Trustees of the Squiggle Foundation.
Participants do not need to participate in the whole series but can join individual or multiple sessions.
This initiative is led by Dr. Chris Brogan (Squiggle Trustee) “Encouraged by the Ghandi’s idea, that power doesn’t reside in those who govern us but, as history proves, resides in us as individuals, I turned to my own aversion towards becoming a Climate activist. Should I be gluing myself to motorways, risk being arrested, or at least join protest marches? Possibly, but I think there is a more immediate type of action and that is to look within myself at resistance to changing lifestyle and maybe to help raise awareness in those around me. But for sure we cannot wait, expecting government to do it for us. Sally Weintrobe has been very active in raising awareness in the  psychoanalytic community, especially with her latest book  Psychoanalytic Roots of the Climate Crisis. After reading her book I started to think about what a different developmental view might look like and particularly whether some of Winnicott’s ideas might shed light on what appears to be very illogical behaviour in the face of such a crisis, such as, carrying on as if nothing is happening.”
24th January The Theory Of The Parent Infant Relationship (1960) in Maturational Processes and the Facilitating Environment
The fundamental importance of the facilitating environment where maternal holding meets the infant’s need for absolute dependence. In this paper Winnicott thinks that Freud (and Klein) take this provision for granted. Winnicott outlines some of the consequences of failure of good-enough provision. We too can no longer take the environment for granted, with possible parallel repercussions. Related to this is the universal fear of WOMAN and the attack on mother earth c.f. Primary Maternal Preoccupation (1956).
The convenors will arrange for a volunteer to summarise the discussion into no more than 2 or 3 pages: these will be collated and edited for posting on Squiggle’s website and with a view to submission for journal publication.