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During her lifetime Francoise Dolto revolutionized the psychoanalytic understanding of childhood. As an early pioneer, she emphasized that the child is to be recognized from birth as a person. As a gifted and innovative clinician, Dolto developed her ideas about the unconscious image of the body. An image that is unique to each individual and linked to both a person's history and narcissism, rather then their physicality. It is the symbolic incarnation of a person's desires. Dolto began her career as a member of the IPA, was admired by Winnicott, close to Lacan and influenced by Morgenstern. Her life witnessed an extraordinary evolution from the conservatism of her parents, through the second World War, to the turbulence of Paris in the 1950s and 60s. In the succeeding years, Dolto made a number of original contributions to the understanding of psychosis, neonatology, female sexuality, education, and religion. Although controversial, she was able to write both for the general public and for professional colleagues. In 1979 Dolto opened La Maison Verte as a specialist centre for the practical application of her theories. Similar centres have since been created around the world. Dolto continued to write and teach until her death in 1988.

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