1st Edition

The Marion Milner Tradition Lines of Development: Evolution of Theory and Practice over the Decades

Edited By Margaret Boyle Spelman, Joan Raphael-Leff Copyright 2023
    314 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    314 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Marion Milner Tradition provides a comprehensive overview of Milner’s eight-volume oeuvre for the first time, and celebrates her pioneering achievements both in psychoanalytic world and in creative and scientific disciplines such as clinical and organisational psychology, philosophy, mindfulness and spirituality, management theory, art therapy, as well as art appreciation/criticism.

    This volume considers Marion Blackett Milner through the prism of her innovative engagement with people, art, and human experience, as well as her extraordinary contribution as an original thinker and researcher within the Independent Group of the British Psychoanalytical Society. The co-editors’ exploratory approach to her legacy is as open as the spirit of Milnerean ‘discovery research’ in defining its distinctive features. An assembly of fifty contributors were invited to interrogate the evolution of what is becoming known as the Milner Tradition, demarcating her influence on theory and clinical practice over the many decades of her life and since her death. They draw upon their professional interviews or friendship with Marion Blackett Milner, or intimate experience of her as an analyst, supervisor, or relative. Similarly, participants in global reading groups in Australia, England, Greece, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, and South Africa recount personal responses to their own exercise in action research.

    The plethora of riches in this book will be of interest to both new and veteran readers of Milner’s opus, as well as students and practitioners from a variety of therapeutic and other disciplines.

    Section I: Marion Blackett Milner life and legacy


    1. 'Joy to be hidden': thoughts from a biographer

    Emma Letley

    2. Some essential concepts of Marion Blackett Milner: Framing, Concentration, Absentmindedness, Rêverie

    Gabriele Cassullo & Alberto Stefana

    3. 'The Pliable Medium'

    Barbie Antonis & Elizabeth Wolf

    4. Winnicott and Milner - recognising the legacy of collegial love

    Margaret Boyle Spelman

    5. The Use Creativity Can Make of Pain

    Michael Eigen

    6. Talking with Marion Milner about Donald W. Winnicott and about herself (1981)

    James William Anderson

    7. 'What a lovely woman: my youthful encounters with Marion Milner (1985-1998)

    Brett Kahr

    8. Interview with Marion Milner (1990)

    Deborah Anna Luepnitz

    9. 'Tea' with Marion Milner (1996)

    Linda Hopkins

    10. My friend, Marion Milner

    Adam Phillips
    (Conversations with Margaret Boyle Spelman, London 1st May 2019)

    Section II: Clinical applications: Milner in the psychoanalytic consulting room


    11. 'Access to darkly hidden powers'the context to Marion Milner's psychoanalytic training and clinical work

    Joan Raphael-Leff

    12. 'My Analyst Marion Milner'

    Andreas Giannakoulas
    (Telephone conversation with Margaret Boyle Spelman July, 23rd 2009, Rome)

    Preface to Chapters 13 and 14: Marion Milner behind the couch

    Margaret Boyle Spelman

    13. 'I was her last Training Case' - analysis with Marion Milner and supervision with Winnicott

    Peter Bruggen
    (Conversations with Margaret Boyle Spelman: 27th of May 2005; 8th July 2017)

    14. 'Marion was uniquely placed to understand'... (analyses with Marion Milner and with Donald Winnicott)

    Andrew Malleson
    onversations with Margaret Boyle Spelman: 6th of June 2005; 3rd January, 2021)

    15. Marion Milner: thinking together... (on her supervision with Milner 1977-1978)

    Juliet Mitchell

    16. 'A meaningful encounter' - my supervision with Marion Milner (1990-1993)

    Leon Kleimberg

    17. 'Holding and Visceral Attention': bodily concentration of an analyst under COVID-19 lockdown

    Maia Kirchkheli

    Section III: Milner: art and creativity


    18. 'Milner and the origins of creativity': from symbolism to symbol formation and illusion

    Lesley Caldwell

    19. 'The Chosen Medium': Milner's art

    Hugh Haughton

    20. Introduction to Marion Milner's work on creativity and art

    Alberto Stefana

    21. Remembering Marion Milner (from 1981 to 1998)

    Desy Safán-Gerard

    22. 'Jugs, Mugs, and Goblets': Comments on Marion Milner's artistic insights

    Jennifer Scott

    23. 'Scrappy observations'

    Aleana Egan

    24. 'A Deeper-rooted Kind of Knowing'

    Wayne Featherstone

    25. 'What sort of Mrs Milner is she?' Thinking the experience mostly in words

    Thanassis Hatzopoulos
    For Internatonal Winnicott Association Hellenic Group

    26. 'A Womb of One's Own': holding hands, mutual muddlement, and the so-slow finding of feet in Marion Milner's creative clinical cradling of 'Susan'

    David Smith & Cheryl Bleakley

    Section IV: Milner's books and other endeavours


    27. The Human Problem in Schools: A refined application of psychological ideals

    Shane Graham

    28. Marion Milner: a many-branched psychologist at work: (The human problem in schools)

    Margaret Boyle Spelman

    29. 'Diaries over a lifetime': the diary-work of Marion Milner: A Life of One's Own; Experiment in Leisure; Eternity's Sunrise; Bothered by Alligators

    Clare Crellin
    [Reporting a conversation between Clare Crellin, Veronica O'Doherty, Aleana Eagan, and Margaret Boyle Spelman]

    30. 'What Sort of Therapist Are You?' Reflections on The Suppressed Madness of Sane Men

    Carolyn Coburn, Wayne Featherstone, Anne Jeffs, Allan Shafer
    (Melbourne, Australia Reading Group)

    31. 'Letting oneself be breathed'On Not Being Able to Paint

    Joan Raphael-Leff
    For Cape Town Reading Group (of IPA Psychoanalysts)

    32. 'The insides of solid things' - On Not Being Able to Paint

    Penny Busetto
    For Cape Town Interdisciplinary Groups

    33. Q&A with Marion Milner on The Hands of the Living God

    James William Anderson

    34. 'The Play of Opposites' - Milner's last book: Bothered by Alligators

    Angela Joyce & Tessa Dalley

    Section V: About Marion: Recollections and reflections


    35. 'Granny Plasticine' - my grandmother Marion Blackett Milner

    Giles Milner

    36. 'Words made flesh...' On editing Marion Milner

    David Tuckett

    37. 'The Visitation'

    Bice Benvenuto

    38. 'Marion on the Swing'

    Michael Brearley

    39. 'Marion on the Drums'

    Donald Campbell

    40. 'Marion Milner, Shakespeare and fashion'

    Jennifer Johns

    41. 'Getting to know Marion Milner': An unexpected gift from the late Andreas Giannakoulas

    Vincenzo Bonaminio

    42. 'It Thought Me' - on interviewing Marion Milner

    Anne Karpf

    Epilogue: Marion Milner: 'A mind becoming more aware of itself'

    Joan Raphael-Leff


    Margaret Boyle Spelman, PhD, is a chartered clinical and counselling psychologist, psychoanalytic psychotherapist, and organisational psychologist who has been working for more than four decades with the Irish Health Service Executive and in private practice. She is (ex officio) member of The Psychological Society of Ireland, The Irish Council of Psychotherapy, and member of the European Association for Psychotherapy. Margaret has two monographs on the subject of DW Winnicott and co-edited the Winnicott volume in this series. 

    Joan Raphael-Leff, PhD, is a psychoanalyst (Fellow, British Psychoanalytical Society and longstanding Member of the Group of Independent Psychoanalysts). Previously, she was Professor of Psychoanalysis at UCL and the University of Essex. In 1998, she founded and served as the first International Chair of COWAP, IPA’s Committee on Women and Psychoanalysis. She is the author and editor of fourteen books and 150 single author publications. Now, in her retirement, she heads the UCL/Anna Freud Centre Academic Faculty for Psychoanalytic Research.

    "Marion Milner and her work have been written about previously in a piecemeal sort of way. Here she is presented in her totality. Accounts of her clinical and theoretical ideas highlight their originality and continuing importance for psychoanalysis. Her work as an artist is also considered in its own right. Descriptions of the impact of Milner’s writings on those who have studied them give clues to what readers of this book may find there for themselves. Besides all this, personal reminiscences of Milner bring her vividly and delightfully to life. We must be grateful to Margaret Boyle Spelman and Joan Raphael-Leff for a book that is both informative and inspiring." - Michael Parsons, Distinguished Fellow of the British Psychoanalytical Society and member of the French Psychoanalytic Association