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

Bion and Meltzer's Expeditions into Unmapped Mental Life

Beyond the Spectrum in Psychoanalysis, 1st Edition

By Avner Bergstein


204 pages

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Paperback: 9780815385783
pub: 2018-08-22
Hardback: 9780815385776
pub: 2018-08-29
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pub: 2018-10-03
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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.


'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

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


About the Author

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 ofnumerous 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.

About the Series

Psychoanalytic Field Theory Book Series

The Psychoanalytic Field Theory Book Series was initiated in 2015 as a new subseries of the Psychoanalytic Inquiry Book Series. The series publishes books on subjects relevant to the continuing development of psychoanalytic field theory. The emphasis of this series is on contemporary work that includes a vision of the future for psychoanalytic field theory.

Since the middle of the twentieth century forms of psychoanalytic field theory emerged in different geographic parts of the world with different objectives, heuristic principles, and clinical techniques. Taken together they form a family of psychoanalytic perspectives that employs a concept of a bi-personal psychoanalytic field. The Psychoanalytic Field Theory Book Series seeks to represent this pluralism in its publications. Books on field theory in all its diverse forms are of interest in this series. Both theoretical works and discussions of clinical technique will be published in this series.

The series editors are especially interested in selecting manuscripts which actively promote the understanding and further expansion of psychoanalytic field theory. Part of the mission of the series is to foster communication amongst psychoanalysts working in different models, in different languages, and in different parts of the world.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Psychoanalysis