A1 Journal article (refereed)
The illusion of contact : Insights from Winnicott’s 1952 letter to Klein (2021)

Taipale, J. (2021). The illusion of contact : Insights from Winnicott’s 1952 letter to Klein. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 102(1), 31-50. https://doi.org/10.1080/00207578.2021.1878005

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Taipale, Joona

Journal or series: International Journal of Psychoanalysis

ISSN: 0020-7578

eISSN: 1745-8315

Publication year: 2021

Publication date: 02/01/2021

Volume: 102

Issue number: 1

Pages range: 31-50

Publisher: Routledge, Taylor & Francis

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00207578.2021.1878005

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/74630


Using Winnicott’s theory, this article produces an account of the individual’s relation to a given conceptual framework. Whereas Winnicott’s ideas have been almost exclusively discussed in developmental and psychopathological contexts, the present article extends Winnicott’s theory and applies it to the problem of interpersonal understanding. Taking a lead from one of Winnicott’s letters to Klein, the article investigates the problem of expressing one’s idiosyncratic insights in the confines of a given conceptual framework. The article examines Winnicott’s theory of compliance and creativity, discusses the plea that Winnicott makes to Klein, analyses the encounter with a “dead language”, and investigates the asymmetrical structure of interpersonal understanding. Cashing out the latter in terms of an “illusion of contact”, the article enhances our interpretation of the successes and shortcomings of interpersonal encounters – in everyday life, in clinical settings, and in the historical community of researchers. By focusing on the last mentioned in particular, the article brings forth neglected aspects of Winnicott’s thinking and uses these to assess the conditions of an open dialogue within the psychoanalytic community.

Keywords: human relations; comprehension; reciprocity; psychoanalysis; psychoanalytic theories; interpersonal psychotherapy; demands; creativity; illusions

Free keywords: interpersonal understanding; creativity and compliance; illusion; psychoanalytic language; playing; asymmetry

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Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2023-03-10 at 12:46