chapter  12
15 Pages

Brief psychotherapy and therapeutic consultations. How much therapy is `good-enough'?


The eminent psychoanalyst D. W. Winnicott coined the heartening phrase `good-enough mothering' in an effort to provide a realistic perspective on what mothers can hope to provide for their children. He felt that mothers (and nowadays we would add fathers to this description) do not need to be perfect, indeed should not even try to be `perfect'. But he did emphasise that they do need to be `good-enough' if their child is to have a reasonable start in their emotional life. Good-enough parenting re¯ects the physical and emotional care given to the child, in thoughtful response to what the individual child needs. As individual needs differ so much, even from birth, what is good-enough mothering for one child may be inadequate for another. There is therefore no absolute pass or fail line when it comes to what constitutes a good-enough parent (Winnicott 1989).