Donna J. Craig
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Advanced Intervention: Psychodynamic Theories
Scott M. Shapiro, Psy.D.
November 9, 2014
The purpose of this paper is for this writer to conceptualize for the reader Winnicot’s writings on regression. This writer was able to gain understanding from reading the article and in writing this reflection paper was able to further conceptualize in the writer’s own mind how the patient’s regression is an invaluable and necessary part patient’s ultimate healing. The regression plays a starring role in the patient’s recovery and evolution.
Therapeutic Regression Winnicot (Winnicot, 1955) defines regression as “the reverse of progress”. In a state of mental health our biological drive leads to evolution which is the maturity of the individual at an age appropriate developmental level. Regression is considered an integral part of the healing process because we must go back to the “failed situation”. Once we have returned to the failed situation we can act it out in therapy in order to relive the experience and have a response from the analyst that is supportive and ultimately results in a corrective experience that honors our “true self” and eliminates the need for a “false self”. This false self occurred as the result of the initial failed experience not being one that supported our true self and thus called for the advent of the false self. Winnicot’s thesis asserts that psychotic illness is a result of environmental failure in the early stages of development during which the false self is created to protect the true self. The analytic setting is designed to reproduce the earliest stages of mothering which invites regression. From confidence created in the patient from the analytic setting subsequently the patient regresses to dependence and then feels a new sense of self once having surrendered to the ego and the unfreezing of the failed environmental situation. Next, the patient is able to feel and acknowledge their anger over the initial failed situation and a sense of ego strength in this truth and being allowed to feel it without having to resort to the false self as protective measure. Now the patient can begin to move from regression to dependence to progress toward independence. Finally, it is okay for the patient to realize their needs and wishes without fear and the need for the false self to protect them from