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Cone, D.H. (2020). The Courage to Dream: A Beginning Psychotherapist Encounters Bion. Brit. J. Psychother., 36(3):375-384.

(2020). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 36(3):375-384

Rozsika Parker Prize 2019: Winning Papers

The Courage to Dream: A Beginning Psychotherapist Encounters Bion

Deborah Hill Cone

In this paper, a psychotherapy student is given an assignment to analyse one of her own dreams using Freudian dream theory. She struggles to engage with the task until she discovers the ideas of Wilfred Bion. The notions of alpha function and beta function offer a framework for the student to understand why she has had so much difficulty in staying connected to her dreams or delineating in a culturally appropriate way between what is reality and what is her dreamworld. The student questions whether her early life, taking place within the political and ideological conflict of apartheid-era South Africa, may have influenced her ability to stay in reality, and wonders about her own ability to contain the affects of her children. She presents a vignette of a dream of her own in which she has to free a naked baby who is stuck in a wall in a bathroom. The writer and her therapist construct the dream as aligning with her own psychoanalytic work to integrate the very young part of herself. In coming to this understanding with the ideas of Bion, the student experiences her own reality in a more vivid and present way.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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