Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Nancy Thurston, PsyD., ABPP

Second Advisor

Rodger Bufford, PhD.

Third Advisor

Matt Carges MA, LMFT


This paper explores the metonymy of the following aphorism, delivered by Winnicott in a 1967 lecture: “From being comes doing, but there can be no do before be.” (1970, p. 25, emphasis in original). This aphorism has been little discussed or explored in the literature, but Winnicott articulated similar ideas in his more academic papers (e.g., 1965, 1970). These similar communications about being and doing will be examined alongside more contemporary thinking about the ideas to which Winnicott alludes in this aphorism; works by Benjamin (1988) and Akhtar (2000) in particular will be brought to bear on the subject. Two case studies will then be discussed, in order to examine the clinical implications of the theoretical discussion. Ultimately, such exploration will substantiate the claim that, through the metonymy of being and doing, Winnicott was alluding to a “statement of human nature” that he published just 3 years later (1970, p. 2). Winnicott’s own concept of play will then be posited as a critical, third element comprising “the life of a human being,” which will serve to situate the discussion within a contemporary, relational framework (1970, p. 2).