domingo, 30 de agosto de 2015

La complejidad de educar (ideas de Donald Winnicott, EN)

La educación, en su más amplio sentido, es esencial para el futuro:
How do you build a better world? There are so many well-known, urgent places you might start: malaria, carbon emissions, tax evasion, the drug trade, soil erosion, water pollution…Donald Winnicott deserves his place in history because of the dramatic simplicity of his approach. He proposed that the happiness and future satisfaction of the human race depended ultimately not so much on external political issues, but on something far closer to home: the way parents bring up their children. All the sicknesses of humanity were, in his view, in essence consequences of a failure of parental provision. Fascism, delinquency, rage, misogyny, alcoholism, these were only the symptoms of poor childhoods that the collective would have to pay for. The road to a better society begins in the nursery.
Love in Winnicott's writings: 
It’s about a surrender of the ego, a putting aside of one’s own needs and assumptions, for the sake of close, attentive listening to another, whose mystery one respects, along with a commitment not to get offended, not to retaliate, when something ‘bad’ emerges, as it often does when one is close to someone, child or adult.

Donald Winnicott | The Book of Life
And yet Winnicott’s brand of psychoanalysis was, on closer inspection, peculiarly English. He wrote pragmatic, homespun prose, expressing the deepest ideas in plain, unadorned language. There was no German incomprehensibility or abstraction here. There was also a characteristic English modesty about what he saw as the point of child psychoanalysis. He wanted to help people to be, in his famous formulation, ‘good enough’ parents; not brilliant or perfect ones (as other nations might have wished), but just OK. And that was because he displayed, to a high degree, the downbeat, modest, realistic, temperament which is the particular glory of the English mind.
Winnicott begins by impressing on his audience how psychologically fragile an infant is. It doesn’t understand itself, it doesn’t know where it is, it is struggling to stay alive, it has no way of grasping when the next feed will come, it can’t communicate with itself or others. It is an undifferentiated, unindividuated mass of competing drives. It isn’t a person. The early months are hence an immense struggle. Winnicott’s work never loses sight of this, and he therefore repeatedly insists that it is those around the infant who have to ‘adapt’, adapt so as to do everything to interpret the child’s needs and not impose demands for which the child is not ready.A child who has adapted to the world too early, or who has had inappropriate demands made upon it, will be a prime candidate for mental problems, just as health is the result of an environment that can respond appropriately to the child, which can keep elements of reality at bay, until the small creature is ready.But though the infant might sometimes want to kill and destroy, it is vital for the parents to allow rage to expend itself, and for them not in any way to be threatened or moralistic about ‘bad’ behaviour: ‘If a baby cries in a state of rage and feels as if he has destroyed everyone and everything, and yet the people round him remain calm and unhurt, this experience greatly strengthens his ability to see that what he feels to be true is not necessarily real, that fantasy and fact, both important, are nevertheless different from each other.’Winnicott interpreted violent feelings against parents as a natural aspect of the maturational process: ‘For a child to be brought up so that he can discover the deepest part of his nature, someone has to be defied, and even at times hated, without there being a danger of a complete break in the relationship.’However, there might be parents who could not tolerate too much bad behaviour and would demand compliance too early and too strictly. This would lead, in Winnicott’s formulation, to the emergence of a ‘False Self’ – a persona that would be outwardly compliant, outwardly good, but was suppressing its vital instincts; who was not able to properly balance up its social with its destructive sides and that couldn’t be capable of real generosity or love, because it hadn’t been allowed fully to explore selfishness and hate. Only through proper, attentive nurture would a child be able to generate a ‘True Self’.Winnicott had a special hatred for ‘people who are always jogging babies up and down on their knees trying to produce a giggle.’ This was merely their way of warding off their own sadness, by demanding laughter from a baby who might have very different things on its mind.The primordial act of parental health for Winnicott is simply to be able to tune out of oneself for a time in the name of empathising with the ways and needs of a small, mysterious, beautiful fragile person whose unique otherness must be acknowledged and respected in full measure.Winnicott called parenting: ‘the only real basis for a healthy society, and the only factory for the democratic tendency in a country’s social system.’Of course, there will be errors. Things go wrong in childhood. And that’s what psychoanalysis is for. In Winnicott’s eyes, the analyst in later years acts as a substitute parent, a proxy ‘good enough’ figure who ‘is in a position of the mother of an infant’. Good analysis has things in common with those early years. Here too, the analyst should listen without forcing the patient to get ‘better’ ahead of time. She shouldn’t force a cure down his or her throat, she should provide a safe place where bits of childhood that weren’t completed or went awry can be recreated and rehearsed. Analysis is a chance to fill in the missing steps.Since Winnicott’s death, we’ve collectively grown a little better at parenting. But only a little. We may spend more time with our children, we know in theory that they matter a lot, but we’re arguably still failing at the part Winnicott focused on: adaptation. We still routinely fail to suppress our own needs or stifle our own demands when we’re with a child. We’re still learning how to love our children – and that, Winnicott would argue, is why the world is still full of the walking-wounded, people of outward ‘success’ and respectability who are nevertheless not quite ‘real’ inside and inflict their wounds on others. We’ve a way to go until we get to be ‘good enough.’

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