Bion's Legacy to Groups

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'It is characteristic of some forms of scientific genius to alter not just what we see in the world, but how we see it - not just the view, but the lens. One thinks of Freud's discovery of the transference, or of Melanie Klein's attention to the play of children. Wilfred Bion's study of groups and group processes also has this quality. More than the content of what he saw and captured in the concepts of two modes of mental functioning in groups and in the differentiation of the basic assumptions, it was the way he saw or, more broadly, the way he sensed the emotional life of the individual in the group, and in the first instance his own, that opened up a quite new territory for exploration. Those of us whose practice takes place primarily in the institutional or social domain can find in his more psychoanalytic work seeds of new thought extending beyond the consulting room.Going "beyond the confines" might perhaps more generally stand as a metaphor for Bion's enterprise. This is the debt that the papers collected in this volume first and foremost seek to record - a debt that is both personal and institutional. One hopes that they may also, warts and all, exemplify something of his legacy - a legacy of capturing thoughts about thought or of looking at how we look, in the varied and the different worlds we inhabit and that inhabit us.'- David Armstrong, from his Foreword

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