Maybe this sounds dumb, but I couldn’t wait to be a big brother. Being an only child is pretty boring, so I was actually happy that Mom was going to have a baby. I even thought it was lucky the baby would be born at Christmastime. Becoming a big brother was going to be one of the best things that had ever happened to me.
Or so I thought!
“Listen, Austin,” Mom told me one day. “Taking care of a baby is not easy.”
“I know,” I said. Which I really didn’t, but I didn’t know that then.
“So here are some books to help you learn about it.”
“Thanks, Mom!” I’m into reading, so I was eager to dive into the stack of books she gave me.
Some of the babies in the books looked like they were laughing. Some of them had goofy expressions that made me laugh. Some were sleeping, some were pouting, and some were wearing weird hats. But they all looked cute. So I figured my baby brother or sister would be, too. I mean . . . the books made it seem like a sure thing.
I read all the chapters that were about taking care of a baby. It sounded like a lot of fun. I studied about how to hold, bathe, feed, and diaper babies, since soon I’d be doing those things with my own cute little sister or brother. By the time I was finished with the books, I felt like a real expert.
Beliefs are one of my favorite subjects. If there is one thing that keeps most people from having everything they want in their lives, it is what they believe about themselves, their abilities, and the world they live in. Everything you do and everything you have accomplished or ever will accomplish is governed by your beliefs.
A belief, quite simply, is something you have told yourself over and over throughout your life. Beliefs start at a young age. If we try something for the first time and we fail, we label ourselves a failure. For example, if at the age of ten or twelve, I attempted to play basketball but because of my age and size was not yet very good at it, I may have created a belief in my mind that I will never be able to play basketball. This may not have been true, because beliefs rarely are.
A more common example is the person who once tried starting her own business but was not successful. She created a belief that she was not meant to be in business, and therefore she never tried it again. This is really sad when you consider that almost every successful businessperson has experienced many failures. The difference is in the way they view the experience and the beliefs they create from them. One person may see a business failure as a sign that he cannot be a successful business owner, while another will only view it as a temporary setback and turn it into a learning experience.
An obituary appreciation of the work of Bion, focussing on the implications of “introducing the patient to himself” and the cultural infancy of thinking processes.
In considering Bion’s contribution to clinical work, much could be said of how he used and extended, in his own inimitable way, some of the theories of Freud and of Melanie Klein in so far as he found that they illuminated the observations which he was able to make in the consulting room: thus carrying on the great tradition in psychoanalysis. A number of people have been studying his work at the Tavistock Clinic in the past few years with Donald Meltzer, and this has been expounded in the third volume of The Kleinian Development (1978).
I would like to select what is, for me, the most inspiring and liberating aspect of his conception of psychoanalysis. Although he believed that there is no substitute for undergoing an analytic experience in the sequestered but turbulent milieu of the consulting room, if one is bent upon exploring the mysteries of one’s personality, Bion sees the discipline of psychoanalysis for analyst and patient alike, as aspiring to continue that great tradition of thinking in art, science and philosophy, which investigates not only the nature of the world in which we live, of human beings in that world, but also the mind of the observer, the thinker himself. The following quotation is from the last of the lecture/discussions he gave in New York in 1977. It follows upon some query about the way to approach a dying patient. Bion is aware that in a sense we are all terminally ill, and the problem is how to learn to best use the unpredictable time that we have available: