The Clinical Thinking of Wilfred Bion: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Clinical Thinking of Wilfred Bion

1st Edition

By Joan Symington, Neville Symington


216 pages

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pub: 1996-03-14
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Winner of the 2013 Sigourney Award!

Psychoanalysis seen through Bion's eyes is a radical departure from all conceptualizations which preceded him. In this major contribution to the series Makers of Modern Psychotherapy, Joan and Neville Symington concentrate on understanding Bion's concepts in relation to clinical practice, but their book is also accessible to the educated reader who wishes to understand the main contours of Bion's thinking. Rather than following the chronological development of Bion's ideas, each chapter looks in depth at an important theme in his thinking and describes how this contributes to his revolutionary model of the mind.


'An impressively clear and thoughtful description of Bion's clinical thinking … I think that the clinician will find much that is helpful here; very important concepts such as the emotional links, K, L and H and their negative aspects are given clarity by clinical examples … I recommend this book very strongly.' - Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

'This book takes the reader through Bion's mature thinking, linking it to his Grid…the Grid is an extraordinarily original and useful idea. Bion developed it as a way to understand the development and transformation of thought, both within and between the two individuals engaged in the therapeutic relationship…This book is strongly recommended to counsellors who feel they rely too much on theory, but especially to counsellors unaware of how much they place their theory between themselves and their clients.' - Counselling

Table of Contents

1. Disjunction Between Bion's Analysis and Freudian Theory 2. Bion the Man 3. The Emotional Catalyst 4. The Grid 5. The Myth and the Grid 5. Container/Contained 6. Alpha Function 7. A Diagnosis of Thought 8. Psychic Reality 9. The Growth of Thought 10. Transformations 11. The Study of Groups 12. The Phenomenology of Psychosis 13. Without Memory or Desire 14. Ultimate Reality 15. The Mystic and the Establishment

About the Series

Makers of Modern Psychotherapy

This series of introductory, critical texts looks at the work and thought of key contributors to the development of psychodynamic psychotherapy. Each book includes examples of how the theories examined affect clinical practice, biographical material and a complete bibliography of the contributor's work.

The field of psychodynamic psychotherapy is today more fertile but also more diverse than ever before. Competing schools have been set up, rival theories and clinical ideas circulate. These different and sometimes competing strains are held together by a canon of fundamental concepts, guiding assumptions and principles of practice.

This canon has a history, and the way we now understand and use the ideas that frame our thinking and practice is palpably marked by how they came down to us, by the temperament and experiences of their authors, the particular puzzles they wanted to solve and the contexts in which they worked. These are the makers of modern psychotherapy. Yet despite their influence, the work and life some of these eminent figures is not well known. Others are more familiar, but their particular contribution is open to reassessment.

In studying these figures and their work, this series will articulate those ideas and ways of thinking that practitioners and thinkers within the psychodynamic tradition continue to find persuasive.

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