[OSList] Holding space - holding a baby
skyeh at autognomics.org
Thu Mar 6 07:57:16 PST 2014
Yes, indeed. THanks for this.
On Thu, Mar 6, 2014 at 8:08 AM, Johannes Terwitte <jokerwitte at gmail.com>wrote:
> Dear all,
> I have long wondered about the metaphor of "holding space", which I hear
> being used pretty frequently in our circles. Then today I stumbled upon the
> Wikipidia page on the psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott and found the
> following, which I simply wanted to share with you all:
> Part of [the mother's] loving care was [her] attentive holding of her
>> child; and as Winnicott (1965) suggested, the therapist recreates a
>> 'holding environment', that resembles that of the mother and infant.
>> Winnicott described minutely 'the business of picking a baby up...gathering
>> her together', and the way that the "mother's technique of holding, of
>> bathing, of feeding, everything she did for the baby, added up to the
>> child's first idea of the mother'". Winnicott considered that the "child's
>> ability to feel the body as the place where the psyche lives could not have
>> been developed without a consistent technique of handling", and he
>> extrapolated 'the idea of "holding" and of meeting dependence' from the
>> mother to the family as a whole, and to the wider world surrounding it. He
>> saw as a prerequisite for healthy development "the continuation of reliable
>> holding in terms of the ever-widening circle of family and school and
>> social life".
> Out of his work developed the subsequent belief that "one of the most
>> deeply therapeutic factors in an analysis is the extent to which a
>> sensitive analyst parallels...the earliest relationship between a
>> responsive mother and her infant", a symbolic parallel. Winnicott wrote: "A
>> correct and well-timed interpretation in an analytic treatment gives a
>> sense of being held physically that is more real...than if a real holding
>> or nursing had taken place. Understanding goes deeper".
> Don't we sometimes speak of an Open Space as a nurturing environment?
> Don't participants often remark how free and peaceful they felt during the
> OS event? I see some parallels here, and I quite like them.
> Speaking as a young father, I see a direct connection between me holding
> and carrying my daughters or tidying up after them - and my picking up
> coffee cups during an OS. In all cases I am (or try to be) attentive and
> I'd be interested to hear if Winnicot's description resonates with anyone
> else - or else how you relate to the phrase of "holding space".
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*Skye Hirst, PhD*
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*Conversations in the Ways of Life-itself*
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