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Playing and Reality

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  1,755 ratings  ·  46 reviews
What are the origins of creativity and how can we develop it - whether within ourselves or in others? Not only does Playing and Reality address these questions, it also tackles many more that surround the fundamental issue of the individual self and its relationship with the outside world. In this landmark book of twentieth-century psychology, Winnicott shows the reader ...more
Paperback, 214 pages
Published August 1st 2005 by Routledge (first published 1971)
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Average rating 4.25  · 
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 ·  1,755 ratings  ·  46 reviews

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Geoffrey Rhodes
Sep 03, 2007 is currently reading it
Fantastic. You really only need to read the first third of this book to get it, but for me, the basic ideas he is putting forward here are really life changing. He is proposing a fundamental addition to the nature of our perception of reality (inside, outside, and playspace between), that I think is particularly fascintating for the artist, the compulsive, and the romantic.
Psychotherapist Dr Judith Edwards has chosen to discuss Playing and Reality by Donald Winnicott on FiveBooks as one of the top five on her subject - Child Psychotherapy, saying that:

"...Winnicott was the people’s psychoanalyst, seeing mother and child as developing together within their relationship. Winnicott’s Playing and Reality, not published till after his death, is a fine and illuminating collection of his major thinking, important not only because of the work with children (just pick any
Jul 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is another fave of mine. I could never give a good description of what this book is about cause my understanding it is always changing (and lacking at times).
Feb 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful way of answering Freudian theories of creativity...engaging essays on their own and also great for the lit. classroom...
Liz* Fashionably Late
"It is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self."
Sibel Kaçamak
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alison Bechdel'in Annem Sen Misin? grafik romanını okuduktan sonra listeye aldığım, başka şeyleri araya sıkıştırmaktan bir türlü fırsat bulamadığım kitabı nihayetinde okudum. Çabuk okunan bir ritmi yok, fakat bu anlama zorluğundan ileri gelmiyor. Satır satır hazmetme işlemi var. Yavaş ama çok keyifli gitti. Hem kendi anılarım, hem başkalarının anlattıkları birer birer hafızama geri geldi. Ayrıca bir çok davranış biçiminin gerisindeki mantığı anlamakta çok faydalı oldu. Bir çok kere okunabilir.
Marty Babits
Mar 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychotherapy
This is one of the most important books on the subject of psychotherapy I've read. Winnicott is a poet. He writes in images and often with a lot of jargon that is thick and hard-going. However, when he makes a discovery, and he makes quite a few, it's like he's journeyed to the center of the Earth and come back to reveal what the foundation beneath the foundation of reality is all about. As a therapist who has been practicing over twenty-five years, he is probably my greatest inspiration. His ...more
Jan 25, 2018 added it
While you can probably get parenting advice out of this, it doesn't appear to be have written with this purpose making it rather difficult to do so
Matthew Kozak
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Skimmed and picked around more than read ( more heavily in some parts than others, is the fairest to say).

But considered a milestone work in children's (...and really people in general) psychology by one of my favorite psychologists: Mr. D.W. Winnicott.

He - along with Carl Rogers, Aaron Beck, and Carl Jung - have had as much of an influence on my own psychological predilections, philosophy, and musings as anyone.

While this book is about many aspects of development (primarily on the
Lee Kofman
Aug 04, 2019 rated it liked it
I didn’t get much out of this read, mostly because the book is more focused on therapy than I initially assumed it'd be when I decided to read it. Because it’s been referenced by several creative thinkers, I wanted to read the book, thinking it’d have a thorough philosophical discussion of Winnicott’s fascinating ideas around this liminal space that he argues humans need to occasionally inhabit to maintain their mental health – a space that is somewhere between being utterly self-centred and the ...more
Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
There were parts of this that resonated with me. There were parts that felt a bit false, or strange. But that's alright. Psychology isn't, and shouldn't be, clockwork. It's nebulous; it's imaginative. Winnicott understood that.

Because the ideas were presented in all their malleability, they weren't ever threatening to me. I remain free to form my own ideas, so I can fully appreciate his.

Some favorite quotes:

"The thing about playing is always the precariousness of the interplay of personal
Ruby Ann
Nov 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: play-therapy
A major theme in this book is how we experience the field that exists between outer (objective) reality and our inner (subjective) understanding. Winnicott terms this the "intermediate area of experiencing". Transitional phenomenon, an infant's choosing of an object or action that soothes, is the way an infant explores this area, and becomes increasingly comfortable losing his/her sense of omnipotence. During this stage, Winnicott also stresses the importance of "a good enough mother", that is a ...more
Oct 19, 2014 rated it did not like it
This book explains what mom's do wrong to cause their kids to end up disordered--I mean--gay and transgendered. It was written in the 70's. So... it was hard for me to take any of it very seriously and I am very confused why the average rating on this book is above 4 stars. And let's say that I entertained the idea that maybe being gay is a disorder caused by bad mothering--even then, this book... is simply not well-written. And for the few interesting theories it proposes, it's 90% subjectivist ...more
Saffet Murat Tura'nın muhteşem önsözlerinden biriyle başlıyor kitap. Az çok nesne ilişkileri teorisine aşina olanların daha rahat anlayacağı bir kitap olduğuna inanıyorum. Özellikle "Nesne Kullanımı ve Özdeşleşmeler Yoluyla İlişki Kurma" ve "Çocuğun Gelişiminde Annenin Ayna Rolü" bölümlerini çok beğendim ve hem kişisel hem mesleki anlamda çok faydalı bilgiler içerdiğini düşünüyorum.

Kişisel tespit - 1: Ben geçiş nesnesiymişim.
Kişisel tespit - 2: İnsanların hiç kızmadığı biri olmak -eğer
"...cultural experiences are in direct continuity with play, the play of those who have not yet heard of games."
Jan 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book, especially "The Use of an Object" and "The Location of Cultural Experience." So good.
Jan 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: parents. Definitely.
Recommended to Lily by: Prof at Hampshire
One of the best books of ALL TIME. This mean is an endearing genius about humans. Wish i could hug him!
Feb 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
It is pretty hard going in places but there are some worthy pieces of wisdom to be found for the persistent reader.
Aug 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating juxtapostion of our consciousness and how we develop
Sep 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: on-psychiatry
GoodReads reviewers, I am disappointed in you. Are none of you going to question this book?

"There is nothing new either inside or outside psychoanalysis in the idea that men and women have a 'predisposition towards bisexuality'." (p.72)

-Who even believes this?

"Incalculable is the envy of the white bottle-fed population of the black people who are mostly, I believe, breast-fed" (p.142)

-racial hatred in the USA is more based on mothering than skin colour? How does he know more black mothers
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Donald Woods Winnicott was one of the most influential personalities in the British psychoanalytical field, developing several theories that are still referred to even today. He died in 1971 after a 50-year long career as a paediatrician and psychoanalyst and after having treated more than 20.000 children.

Playing and Reality was his last book; it is a collection of essays, very readable, not too academic, that offer an overview of his theories regarding human development and behavior. The focus
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychoanalysis
"The searching can come only from desultory formless functioning, or perhaps from rudimentary playing, as if in a neutral zone. . . . This if reflected back, but only if reflected back, becomes part of the organized individual personality, and eventually this in summation makes the individual to be, to be found."

A series of excursions building on the idea of the transitional area, between being and doing, female and male, subject and object, projection and perception, unity and separation. The
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Çok akıcı olmayan bir dile sahip olsa da geçiş nesnesi kavramı ile derinden etkiledi. Oyun yoluyla terapötik iletişimin nasıl kurulabileceği ile ilgili çok besleyici bilgiler sunan bir kitap. Aynı zamanda Francis Bacon'un resimleri ile açıklayıp zenginleştirdiği kısımlar çok dikkat çekici idi. Kesinlikle okunmalı!
Crispin Semmens
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Psychoanalytic take on subject/object metaphysics - wedging open the razor divide between subject and object, me and not-me, into a wide, paradoxical, territory of infinite games spanning birth to death and all in between.
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
An excellent book for getting an idea of such concepts as transitional objects, transitional phenomena (and how they lead to the development of a cultural sense), and the importance of the environment in the therapeutic setting.
Rosana Sigler
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In this book, Winnicott developed many ideas about the transitional experiences.
Joan Lieberman
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
By the time we become parents, we have forgotten the importance and meaning of playing. Here is a book that helps you remember the value and opportunities playing provides our children.
Ghenadie Virtos
Aug 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
This collection of essays takles a number of issues and topics which are not easily summarised nor understood. Some of them spoke to me, like the 'good enough mother', the importance of the transitional objectsa and others. DWW also offers some excellent insights from his therapeutic work, the fact that the therapist should let the client arrive at interpretations by himself/herself rather than rushing to them as part of the desire to prove how good the therapist is. Another interesting insight ...more
Apr 19, 2015 rated it liked it
I should try to figure out why I am not into the genre of psychology-academic-writing even when they attempt to formulate theoretical statements/observations....Basically the book plays with the idea of playing and argues it creates a third space in which individuals/infants is able to develop cognitive association and dissociation simultaneously. In the social theory side, it tries to work on the arena of "cultural experiences" opened up by Freud, although as a psychiatrist rather than social ...more
Mark Feltskog
Dr. Winnicott is something of a legend in his field, so I've wanted for some time to read him. Unfortunately, his books rarely turn up used, and they've tended to go in and out of print, so they have been pricey when available. That said, I just checked Amazon and found that most of his work is in print again, and available in trade paperback.

Now for the skewed nature of my three-star review. This is a book, I think, for professional practitioners. Winnicott was, I was surprised to see,
Rosa Ramôa
Jan 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
“A criança joga (brinca), para expressar agressão, adquirir experiência, controlar ansiedades, estabelecer contatos sociais como integração da personalidade e por prazer.”
Sergio Gomes
In this books, Winnicott present some of his theories about playing and criativiness. Talk about the face of mother as a mirror to babies and the transicional objects.
Apr 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology-etc
"The patient posed the question: 'When I am walking up on that pink cloud, is that my imagination enriching life or is it this thing that you are calling fantasying which happens when I am doing nothing and which makes me feel that I do not exist?'"
Winnicott's answer involves soggy sucky blankies, squiggle games, spit bubbles, fist-in-mouth union, bunny rabbits, the mother in the mirror, smelly soft toys, and it all leads somehow to hamlet's "to be or not to be" speech, but i am more likely to
need to read again
Sep 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Some thoughtful stuff both about the analytic attitude and how relationships inform who we are and how we grow. Additionally, I enjoyed the chapter on cultural experiences. While I believe Winnicott means cultural experiences in terms of the art, it's interesting to think of culture in terms of race, class, gender etc. as a place of play and a place that involves the in-between space necessary for cultural exploration.
Erik Graff
Jun 06, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents
Recommended to Erik by: Robert Neale?
Shelves: psychology
This was assigned reading at Union Theological Seminary, but I don't recall if I read it for Dr. Bell's course in Development Psychology or for a course I took with Robert Neale, a professor who had published in the field of the psychology of play. In any case, it didn't make very much of an impression on me, my interest in children having been something which only came into play much later in life.
Oct 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I won't forget it.
Sep 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Uncut Winnicott turns out to be a little much for me. I need an annotated version.
Academic Eric
Listed in the Bibliography on Play from The Art of Play by Adam Blatner.
Mar 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Although so,e parts were a little confusing to me, I enjoyed it a lot! :)
Feb 12, 2019 added it
Obviously written for professionals well acquainted with the theme.
Scott Morrison
Aug 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: never-finished
Didn't manage to get vary far into this one. Unfinished!
Aug 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: psychology
the most terrible book ive ever read
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Donald Woods Winnicott was an English pediatrician, psychiatrist, sociologist and psychoanalyst.
“It is in playing and only in playing that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self.” 39 likes
“The child is alone only in the presence of someone.” 9 likes
More quotes…