Psychoanalysis with Wilfred R. Bion: Contemporary Approaches, Actuality and The Future of Psychoanalytic Practice, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Psychoanalysis with Wilfred R. Bion

Contemporary Approaches, Actuality and The Future of Psychoanalytic Practice, 1st Edition

By François Lévy


208 pages

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Paperback: 9780367333362
pub: 2019-08-15
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Hardback: 9780367333348
pub: 2019-08-15
Available for pre-order

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Psychoanalysis with Wilfred R. Bion is the product of Francois Lévy’s efforts over a period of twenty years to represent clearly the classical elements and the innovatory propositions of the thought and work of Bion, who offers both new and modified ways of practising and thinking out the psychoanalytic experience.

Bion’s thought, methodical and intuitive, gave rise to profound modifications in the approach to the psychology of groups, clinical work with psychoses, and the conception of the genesis of thought. Some of his original notions – psychic growth, processes of thinking, transformations, alpha function, maternal reverie – constitute valuable tools for rethinking psychoanalytic practice. This book places Bion’s thought within a filiation that is faithful to those of Sigmund Freud and Melanie Klein. It shows the parallels that exist between Bion’s formalisations and those of Lacan. It also lays emphasis on the mechanisms of thought arising from the negative (André Green), from logic (Lewis Carroll), from causalist philosophy (David Hume), from literature (Milton, Blanchot) and from the physical sciences (Stephen Hawking). Finally, Lévy underlines the importance of lacing the individual within the collective from which they have originated.

Psychoanalysis with Wilfred R. Bion will appeal to psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists looking to draw on the ideas of one of the most important and influential figures in the history of psychoanalysis.


‘Working with Francois Lévy in Paris for nearly 20 years, I have been able to appreciate his profound knowledge of Bion's writings that is witnessed now by the book published in its English translation. I recommend it to all interested in a deeper understanding of Bion's work.’-Gianna Williams, former Director, Observation Course, Tavistock Clinic

‘François Lévy conveys readers his enthusiasm for breaking into the Bionian universe, an expanding universe that has its starting point in Freud and Klein’s ideas. For the author, the justification of the book is to "represent a container with the purpose of revealing the content that made it". It is undoubtedly an important contribution to those interested in Bion's ideas.’-Celia Fix Korbivcher, member, Brazilian Society of Psychoanalysis; author, Autistic Transformations: Bion’s Theory and Autistic Phenomena (Routledge, 2013)

Table of Contents

THE GRID; OVERTURE: Taking the trouble to get into the book 1 Changes of perspective 2 Hostile and friendly life 3 Emotional experience and alpha-function 4 The negative at work 5 Genesis and development of thought 6 The rejection of causality 7 Transformations, or reality in analysis 8 The group and psychoanalysis, survival or destruction? CONCLUSION "The answer is the misfortune of the question"

About the Author

Francois Lévy is a psychoanalyst and member of the Société de Psychanalyse Freudienne (SPF), Paris, France. He has authored many articles as well as the preface for the French edition of Bion’s Clinical Seminars. He has run a teaching seminar on Bion’s work for more than two decades in Paris.

About the Series

The Routledge Wilfred R. Bion Studies Book Series

The contributions of Wilfred R. Bion are among the most cited in the analytic literature. Their appeal lies not only in their content and explanatory value, but in their generative potential. Although Bion’s training and many of his clinical instincts were deeply rooted in the classical tradition of Melanie Klein, his ideas have a potentially universal appeal. Rather than emphasizing a particular psychic content (e.g., Oedipal conflicts in need of resolution; splits that needed to be healed; preconceived transferences that must be allowed to form and flourish, etc.), he tried to help open and prepare the mind of the analyst (without memory, desire or theoretical preconception) for the encounter with the patient.

Bion’s formulations of group mentality and the psychotic and non-psychotic portions of the mind, his theory of thinking and emphasis on facing and articulating the truth of one’s existence so that one might truly learn first hand from one’s own experience, his description of psychic development (alpha function and container/contained) and his exploration of O are "non-denominational" concepts that defy relegation to a particular school or orientation of psychoanalysis. Consequently, his ideas have taken root in many places…. and those ideas continue to inform many different branches of psychoanalytic inquiry and interest.

It is with this heritage and its promise for the future developments of psychoanalysis in mind that we present The Routledge Wilfred R. Bion Studies Book Series. This series gathers together under newly emerging and continually evolving contributions to psychoanalytic thinking that rest upon Bion’s foundational texts and explore and extend the implications of his thought.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Psychoanalysis
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health