Dr Donald W. Winnicott

James Spence Medallist

Date of death: 25 January 1971

Year James Spence Medal awarded: 1968

Donald Winnicott studied at Jesus College, Cambridge, and worked in one of Cambridge’s military hospitals before joining the Royal Navy in 1917. He returned and studied at St Bartholomew's Hospital and became consultant at the Queen's Hospital for Children and at Paddington Green Children's Hospital. He spent ten years of analysis training with James Strachey.

Winnicott qualified as a psychoanalyst and this played a large role in his paediatric work. Most notably, he developed the ideas of ‘primary maternal preoccupation’, the ‘transitional object’ and the ‘therapeutic interview’.

He influenced the psychoanalytic and paediatric worlds internationally. He was president of the British Psychoanalytical Society twice and president of the paediatric section of the Royal Society of Medicine and the Association for Child Psychology and Psychiatry.