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Halton, M. (2020). Bion 365 Quotes by Nicola Abel-Hirsch. Published by Routledge, Abingdon, 2019; 602 pp, £24.99 paperback.. Brit. J. Psychother., 36(3):513-515.

(2020). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 36(3):513-515

Reviews

Bion 365 Quotes by Nicola Abel-Hirsch. Published by Routledge, Abingdon, 2019; 602 pp, £24.99 paperback.

Review by:
Michael Halton

This is a truly wonderful book; inspired in its conception and of great practical use to its readers. It contains 365 judiciously selected quotes from across the whole spectrum of Bion's work and covers nearly everything that is essential to getting acquainted with this extraordinary man, his life and his work. Starting with his early wartime and group papers, it covers his more clinically focused work on psychosis and cognition, the meta-psychological constructions, through to his literary approaches, and ends with his final autobiographical offerings.

Bion's writings from the very beginning have been recognized as exceptional in the field of psychoanalysis. They are nearly always deeply penetrating, free from complacent familiarity and startling in their originality. They are rarely, however, merely intellectual exercises in theory building, where the concrete substance of human experience has become fugitive.

Clinical and personal experience was nearly always the starting point for Bion. The drive in all of his work was to formulate with ever greater precision and abstraction in order to arrive at irreducible fundamentals. He argued that these fundamental elements could then be employed to formulate working models with sufficient simplicity and clarity that the practicing clinician could then use as tools of the trade. The models were instruments for observation and exploration of the psychoanalytic couple and the setting in which they met, in a similar way to which an electron microscope is an instrument that aids detailed study in the field of physics.

[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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