Play and Symbolism in Lowenfeld and Winnicott

Play and Symbolism in Lowenfeld and Winnicott

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    In her biography of Margaret Lowenfeld which appears as the introduction to the book of Lowenfeld’s selected papers entitled Child Psychotherapy, War and the Normal Child (1988), and which is reproduced in this journal in shortened form, Cathy Urwin has brought splendidly to life not only Lowenfeld herself but also the social context, including the prevailing attitudes to child health, that formed the background to her work. It was a content shared by Donald Winnicott, who was Lowenfeld’s exact contemporary; and this, together with the fact that each brought to child psychiatry a training in the medicine of childhood, does much to explain how the two came so close together in their ideas about the play of children and its therapeutic value. In fact they interwove with each other over a period of many years: their association goes back to at least 1928, when Winnicott was for a time on the board of Lowenfeld’s Clinic for Nervous and Difficult Children, which later became the Institute of Child Psychology (ICP).

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