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13. The fundamental role of the Grid in Bion’s work

Franco Borgogno Karnac Books ePub

Rosa Beatriz Pontes Miranda de Ferreira

Introduction

The Grid has become an essential part of psychoanalysis, and its role has to be examined in the light of Bion’s encouragement of individual contributions to its application. In essence, this “instrument” created by Bion is a notation—a type of symbolic representation. Symbolic representations such as the alphabet, numerical notations, Euclid’s elements, and the symbols for measuring space, time and temperature have, throughout history, contributed to the development of science. Of great importance, is Mendeleev’s classification of the chemical elements. In psychoanalysis, the person who perhaps contributed most to the development of notations was Dr. Herman Rorschach, who elaborated the well-known Rorschach Test (1921) to help in the identification of the structure of an individual’s personality. This test was further developed by a Brazilian psychoanalyst, Dr. Alcyon Bahia, who, in 1949, designed a graphic representation of the test. Working with the Grid, individually or in a group, with no memory and desire, helps to achieve a mental stability and scientific scrutiny.

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Chapter Eight - The Creation of Mental Models (1992): Basic and Ephemeral Models

Parthenope Bion Talamo Karnac Books ePub

Psychoanalytic theory uses quite a high number of models of the mind, principally concerning three classes of theoretical problems: the structure of the mind, its functioning (the dynamics of mental events) and the psychological development of the individual.

Among these models are, for example Freud's two tripartite divisions (id, ego, super-ego, unconscious, pre-conscious, conscious), and also the Oedipal theory, which can be seen as a model when it is thought of “visibly” as a triangle.

The class of models of mental functioning rightly includes all the theories which deal with the dynamics of interpersonal relations, from the pair transference/counter-transference to introjections, to projection, to projective identification through to the theory of the proto-mental system that underlies group behaviours.

All of these models have in common at least two characteristics: they can be considered “basic” because they form the theoretical substratum of all of our work, whether with patients in psychoanalysis or with those in psychoanalytic psychotherapy, or with groups with different purposes. They are also “invisible” or at least “not said” within the analytic relationship. That is, we can have in mind the fact that something just said by a patient may be understood against a background of Oedipal theory, but we do not say that to the patient in these terms, we use the words appropriate to the here and now, and keep our theories and technical terms out of the consulting room as far as possible. But there are also two other classes of models that we use all the time. These models are not so easily codifiable because they refer to passing, ephemeral events, in the session or the functioning of the internal world of the patient (or the analyst). A group consists of models that the analyst uses to mentalise and then to verbalise the analytic events, and the patient when he tries to communicate something that falls within a particular class of mental events for whose communication metaphors no longer seem adequate. The second group, on the other hand, is usually of more use to the analyst than to the patient, to describe the patient's mental structure at a given moment. While the models of the first group, which describe mental movements, are so ephemeral as to be able to describe them almost as “throw-away”, those of the second tend to come back into our discussions with the patients, and I am inclined to see them as models of daily use, more natural than the basic models and also more verbalisable (and verbalised) in work with patients.

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Chapter Nineteen - From Formless to Form (1998)

Parthenope Bion Talamo Karnac Books ePub

Ps D to public-ation

Public-ation is an essential of scientific method…If [common sense] is inoperative for any reason, the individual in whom it is inoperative cannot publish, and unpublished work is unscientific work (Bion, 1992).

During a conference on psychoanalysis I liked the idea of having a “trans-disciplinary dialogue”, given that it is in the very nature of psychoanalysis to be a “trans-disciplinary” subject: it is impossible to have a “pure” psychoanalysis because it would be like trying to establish a link between non-objects or mental objects. Bion says he reached this situation only in the case of a severely ill patient (Bion, 1967; see also Bion, 1965). Fundamentally, psychoanalysis refers to every single human activity, which passes through the mind before or when it manifests itself, or without manifesting itself, as for example premonition (Bion, 1967); something similar happens with smooth muscle tissue in cases of colitis, ulcers, and tachycardia.

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14. What is thinking—an attempt at an integrated study of W. R. Bion’s contributions to the processes of knowing

Franco Borgogno Karnac Books ePub

Paulo Cesar Sandler

One thought alone occupies us; we cannot think of two things at the same time. This is lucky for us according to the world, not according to God.

Pascal, Pensies, 145

This study makes use of two of Bion’s functional models of the mental apparatus—the “digestive” model and the “reproductive” one—in order to move towards an integrated model of thought processes. Perhaps with the development his observations allowed for we are now in a condition to examine some actual processes underlying the intercourse between an analyst and his (her) patient.

“Feeding” and “reproduction” are the psychic, immaterial facts that occur, in the sense that life itself is being actively maintained and continues to be so. They are counterparts in psychic reality of some facts of material reality, food being provided and sons and daughters being born. They occur in the mind of the “two-body psychology” of the analytical setting (Rickman, 1950). They are not sensuously apprehensible, concrete facts. There is no sexual intercourse; it is not a sexual fact, and no meals are served, but the patient is nourished in the sense his mother nourished him when he was a baby and life is renewed in the exercising of femininity and masculinity by both members of the analytic pair. Analysis itself happens, with increments in approximations to the many O’s of the patient. “Real analysis is real life” (Bion, 1977a, p. 80), and it happens during the analytic session in its transient character in the same sense that a creative couple may give rise to sons and daughters.

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Chapter Three - Ps ⇌ D (1981)

Parthenope Bion Talamo Karnac Books ePub

At this conference I would like to present a small “unpublished object” by Bion which seems to me to illuminate an aspect of his way of working and may render more explicit one of the problems in which he was very immersed, particularly towards the end of his life, namely how to enable the reader or listener to understand the emotions in which the abstract formulations of psychoanalytic theories are drenched.

This type of problem has always been present in Bion's work since Second Thoughts, in which he asserts that “the subject matter with which psychoanalysis deals cannot employ any form of communication which can cater for the requirements of a problem in the absence of the problem”. This phrase seems to me to imply the desire was already present in Bion's mind to indicate to the reader the subject under discussion in such a way as to make it emotionally present; to discuss it straight away with an immediate awareness of its emotional aspect. It seems to me that this kind of preoccupation informed the choice of the atypical style of the trilogy A Memoir of the Future, a text, among other things, about which little has been said in this conference, and which is probably a part of his work that still needs to be very well digested, as Meotti has written (Meotti, 1981) before it becomes available to be forgotten, and is the chief reason for alternating these books of highly evocative fragments with others of critical comment and reflection.

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