The aim of this paper is to demonstrate the importance of the question of being in Winnicott's clinical thinking. The argument that Winnicott provides an original theory of being is supported with reference to his interpretation of the "fear of breakdown" as a reaction to early trauma. The paper elaborates the ontological as well as the clinical implications of Winnicott's account of trauma and its aftermath. It discusses the temporal and spatial aspects of this situation in terms of disruption of the continuity of being and its fragmentation, respectively. Experience becomes "unthinkable" for Winnicott on both counts, and in attempting to link the management of regression in the analytic setting to his theory of being, the paper comments on some of the ways in which unthinkable experience appears in literature and religious language. With particular reference to the relationship between the work of Winnicott and that of T. S. Eliot, the author makes a case for the redemptive potential of psychoanalysis and poetry alike.


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pp. 399-429
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