Bion and Meltzer's Expeditions into Unmapped Mental Life : Beyond the Spectrum in Psychoanalysis book cover
1st Edition

Bion and Meltzer's Expeditions into Unmapped Mental Life
Beyond the Spectrum in Psychoanalysis

ISBN 9780815385783
Published August 14, 2018 by Routledge
220 Pages

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Book Description

Drawing on the influential contributions of Wilfred Bion and Donald Meltzer to psychoanalysis, Bion and Meltzer's Expeditions into Unmapped Mental Life explores and addresses the clinical implications of their work, both through revisiting several of their conceptions and illustrating them with detailed clinical material from the analyses of children, adolescents, and adults.

Psychoanalysis strives towards truth; this is its essence. However, emotional truth is often unknowable and not amenable to verbal communication. This ineffable mental realm is at the heart of both Bion and Meltzer's psychoanalytic endeavours.

Bion's writings reflect a developmental stage in the evolution of psychoanalysis, extending clinical work to mental realms that were seemingly unreachable. Donald Meltzer further infuses Bion's thinking with his own original notions of beauty and aesthetics, imbuing Bion's profound thinking with a poetic and lyrical tenor.

Writing in a clear and lucid manner, Avner Bergstein integrates Bion's sometimes highly theoretical thinking with everyday clinical practice, facilitating his dense and condensed formulations and making them clinically accessible and useful. Bion and Meltzer's Expeditions into Unmapped Mental Life is written for psychoanalysts and psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapists who are attracted to Bion and Meltzer's radical thinking.

Table of Contents


1 The psychotic part of the personality: Bion's expeditions into unmapped mental life

2 Transcending the caesura: Reverie, dreaming and counter-dreaming

3 Beyond the spectrum: Fear of breakdown, catastrophic change and the unrepressed unconscious

4 On boredom: A close encounter with encapsulated parts of the psyche

5 Attacks on linking or a drive to communicate? Tolerating the paradox

6 The painful vicissitudes of the patient's love: Transference-love and the aesthetic conflict

7 Obsessionality: Modulating the encounter with emotional truth and the aesthetic object

8 The ineffable


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Avner Bergstein is a faculty member, and a training and supervising psychoanalyst with the Israel Psychoanalytic Society. He works in private practice with adults, adolescents and children and has worked for some years at a kindergarten for children with autism. He is the author of numerous papers and book chapters elaborating on the clinical implications of the writings of Bion and Meltzer. His papers are translated into several languages including German, French, Spanish and Portuguese. He conducts reading seminars internationally focusing on the writings of these two authors.


'Purporting to be a journey into the gnomic writings of Wilfred Bion and Donald Meltzer, this book is itself a highly original contribution to the problem of how psychoanalytic knowledge can be known. This engaging series of papers takes seriously Bion’s view that sensuous experience, rationality and scientific facts are obstructions to the useful knowledge of human beings. But – without empirical facts – what is there left to know? This book forces a passage through towards an intuitive form of person-to-person knowing which has been given lesser place in our Enlightenment enthusiasm for physical science. Read it; and learn from the heart.'-Bob Hinshelwood, Emeritus Professor, University of Essex, UK'

'This book picks up some of the most valuable concepts that Bion and Meltzer gave us. Psychotic and Non-Psychotic parts of the personality, caesura, catastrophic change, unformed parts of the mind, aesthetic conflict, autism and more are just a few the reader will find. Bergstein has clearly devoted time and thinking to these crucial matters and distilled them in his own original ways. Generous clinical illustrations allow one to see how the author uses these concepts as tools in his work.'-Dr Robert Oelsner, MD, Training and Supervising Psychoanalyst,Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California and Northwestern Psychoanalytic Society and Institute in Seattle; Editor of Transference and Countertransference Today, Routledge, 2013