1st Edition

Negative Hallucinosis in Wilfred Bion’s Theory of Transformations On Finding One’s Ghost

By Rodrigo Barahona Copyright 2025
    184 Pages
    by Routledge

    184 Pages
    by Routledge

    In this illuminating volume, Rodrigo Barahona takes up the question of transformations in hallucinosis in Wilfred Bion’s work.

    The book discusses how the analyst’s functioning, his receptivity and ability to make sense out of what is unconsciously occurring between himself and the patient, and the ability to find words to represent it — the basic psychoanalytic task — is enhanced when the distinction between two basic types of transformations in hallucinosis can be borne in mind: transformations in positive hallucinosis and transformations in negative hallucinosis. In the the psychoanalytic literature, this distinction has not been formally established, with the general term “transformations in hallucinosis” used for both processes. This book cuts a clearer distinction between the two, describing their distinct though overlapping metapsychologies, and charts the clinical implications. In making these distinctions, the book draws on André Green’s work, arguing for a continuity between Green’s negative hallucination and Bion’s theory of thinking and transformations in negative hallucinosis. The clinical implications of working with this concept are discussed in relation to the work of contemporary psychoanalytic authors such as Civitarese, Cassorla, Mawson, and Meltzer.

     By drawing comparisons and making specific connections between the work of Bion and Green, and extending these connections to the clinical and metapsychological writings of leading contemporary analysts, Negative Hallucinosis in Wilfred Bion’s Theory of Transformations will be of great interest to practitioners and scholars at all levels interested in the work of Wilfred Bion and this extension to his theory of transformations.

    Introduction 1.Transformations, or, what does a field of poppies really look like?  2.Transformation in negative and positive hallucinosis  3.André Green’s negative hallucination and its relation to transformations in hallucinosis  4.Clinical implications of transformations in negative hallucinosis: enactment  5.The arrogance of transformations in negative hallucinosis. More clinical implications.  6.Is it beautiful inside? Transformations in negative hallucinosis and the claustrum


    Rodrigo Barahona is trained in adult psychoanalysis and is a faculty member at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society & Institute and the Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis.He is on the board of directors of the Boston Group for Psychoanalytic Studies and of the Psychoanalytic Quarterly. He is a member of the American Psychoanalytic Association and the International Psychoanalytic Association, and has a private psychoanalytic practice in Brookline, Massachusetts.

    "In Negative Hallucinosis in Wilfred Bion's Theory of Transformations: On Finding One's Ghost, Rodrigo Barahona embarks on a profound exploration of Wilfred Bion's enigmatic concept, seeking to unravel its complexities and implications within psychoanalytic discourse. With meticulous attention to detail, the author delves into the multifaceted terrain of hallucinosis, illuminating its nuances and clinical ramifications, and elucidating the intricate interplay between transformations in positive and negative hallucinosis. Drawing on a variety of theoretical frameworks and clinical experiences, he offers penetrating analyses and vivid case vignettes to make a compelling case for the need to distinguish between these two basic forms of hallucinatory phenomena. In addition, the author skillfully integrates historical context, particularly Bion's own wartime traumas, to clarify the origins and development of his conceptualizations. More generally, this groundbreaking work represents a tour de force in the exploration of Bionian theory and offers invaluable insights. With its meticulous scholarship and passionate and lucid prose, Negative Hallucinosis in Wilfred Bion's Theory of Transformations promises to be a cornerstone text in the ongoing dialogue about psychoanalytic practice and theory. The book is an example of how psychoanalysis can be engaging and, while remaining in dialogue with classical authors, has the ability to develop new and brilliant concepts and intuitions to keep pace with the times and grasp the meaning of psychic suffering. I wholeheartedly recommend it not only to professionals in the field, but to anyone interested in understanding the deepest and most unfathomable folds of the human psyche."

    Giuseppe Civitarese, author of Psychoanalytic Field TheoryA Contemporary Introduction, 2023