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Grotstein, J.S. Pearson, W. (2016). On Caesura and Reversible Perspective. Fort Da, 22(1):51-60.

(2016). Fort Da, 22(1):51-60

On Caesura and Reversible Perspective

From a Conversation between James S. Grotstein, M.D. and Willow Pearson, MFT, MT-BC


James Grotstein published over 250 papers and authored or edited 12 books on psychoanalysis, and served as North American Vice President of the International Psychoanalytical Association during his distinguished career. On May 30, 2015, Dr. Grotstein died at the age of 90. His dynamic, visionary teaching activity continues to resound through his many publications and beyond. As Michael Eigen (2015) has written, “His writings enriched many. His person supported many. He had a rare generosity of spirit.”

In spring of 2013, deeply inspired from having read Dr. Grotstein's book Who Is the Dreamer Who Dreams the Dream? A Study of Psychic Presences (2000), together with his book A Beam of Intense Darkness: Wilfred Bion's Legacy to Psychoanalysis (2007), I contacted the Los Angeles Institute and Society for Psychoanalytic Studies (LAISPS) to inquire whether Dr. Grotstein would be teaching anytime soon. LAISPS forwarded my inquiry to Dr. Grotstein, who then most generously contacted me directly to ask me what questions I had.

A conversation between Dr. Grotstein and myself took place on June 13, 2013. It started with me asking Dr. Grotstein if he might discuss Bion's work on reversible perspective and caesura. My questions grew out of having read Bion's paper on caesura (1977/2011), together with Civitarese's paper on caesura (2008). I explained to Dr. Grotstein that I came to know of his work when I was gifted two books by Dr. Suzanne Pallak, one of my departing professors at the Wright Institute. The books were Do I Dare Disturb the Universe: A Memorial to W.R. Bion (Grotstein, 1983) and Wild Thoughts Searching for a Thinker: A Clinical Application of W.R. Bion's Theories (Lopez-Corvo, 2006). The piece that follows is based on Dr. Grotstein's response to my questions.

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