The Mystery of Analytical Work : Weavings from Jung and Bion book cover
1st Edition

The Mystery of Analytical Work
Weavings from Jung and Bion

ISBN 9780415547765
Published November 9, 2009 by Routledge
280 Pages

SAVE ~ $10.59
was $52.95
USD $42.36

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

This book provides an exploration of the clinical practice of psychoanalysis and analytical psychology. It explores the ways psychoanalysts and other clinicians are taught to evade direct emotional connections with their patients. Sullivan, suggesting that relatedness is the basis of emotional health, examines the universal struggle between socially oriented energies that struggle toward truth and narcissistic impulses that push us to take refuge in lies. She maintains that, rather than making interpretations, it is the clinician’s capacity to bring relatedness to the clinical encounter which is the crucial factor.

Examining the work of both Jung and Bion, Sullivan draws on the overlap between their ideas on the psyche and the nature of the unconscious. The book uses clinical examples to examine the implications that these perspectives have for the practising therapist.

Specific areas of discussion include:

  • the creative unconscious
  • the structure of narcissism
  • transformation in analytic work.

New modes of listening and relating that deepen analytic work and greatly facilitate transformative changes are described in easy-to-follow language that will help the therapist to find new approaches to a wide range of patients. The Mystery of Analytical Work will be of interest to Jungians, psychoanalysts and all those with an interest in analytic work.

Table of Contents

Beginning with Relatedness. The Creative Unconscious and the Self. The Work of Life. The Structure of Pathology. Truth and Lies. The Listening Process. Transformation.

View More



Barbara Stevens Sullivan is a Jungian analyst in private practice in Oakland, California and a training analyst member of the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco, where she is on the teaching faculty.  She has previously written Psychotherapy Grounded in the Feminine Principle (Chiron, 1989) and two novels.


"This is a marvellously integrative work. The author is a widely read Jungian analyst who has created bridges between depth psychology and Wilfred Bion's contributions as well as contextualizing each of them in the matrix of relatedness, extending the currently evolving two-person model of the analytic situation. Relatedness, she shows, is the sine qua non of being alive and consequently the real key to how analysis works. Analyst and analysand are both "patients" in the presence of emotions and the (unequal) effect of them upon each other. I recommend this book to all mental health professionals."James Grotstein, Supervising Analyst, Psychoanalytic Center of California and New Center for Psychoanalysis, Los Angeles, USA

"One of the most neglected features of theory and practice in psycho-analysis and psycho-analytic therapy is the simple fact that healing comes about through a relationship between two persons.  Psychotherapy is not a thing, it is not a machine but a living relationship between two people.  Healing comes about through an emotional contact; this contact is creative and healing.  Barbara Sullivan has made this the corner-stone of her building and she has done it clearly and bravely.  I say bravely because she challenges respected authors and shows how their tonal descriptions annihilate the personal.  This is a wonderful book and will be a treasure for psychotherapists and patients.  It also opens up a whole new vision of what psychotherapy will, I hope, become in the next few decades." - Neville Symington, author of A Pattern of Madness, Fellow of the British Psycho-Analytical Society and Past President of the Australian Psycho-Analytical Society

"Sullivan explores the theories of two difficult analysts, Jung and Bion, explaining their ideas clearly and demonstrating how each of their perspectives enriches the other's. Her detailed clinical material makes her thinking come alive and should help clinicians of any perspective to deepen their work." - Marjorie Nathanson, Past President of the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco, and member of the IAAP Executive Committee

"This is a generous and personal book which will contribute to the growing interest in the Jungian community in the links between Jung and Bion...The lucidity of Sullivan’s style will ensure a wide readership, not confined only to clinicians but to a wider public interested in culture, the arts and philosophy." – Geraldine Godsil, Journal of Analytical Psychology, 56, 2011