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Elise, D. (2018). A Winnicottian Field Theory: Creativity and the Erotic Dimension of the Analytic Field. Fort Da, 24(1):22-38.

(2018). Fort Da, 24(1):22-38

A Winnicottian Field Theory: Creativity and the Erotic Dimension of the Analytic Field

Dianne Elise, Ph.D.

We suspended time, we isolated space, there remained only the play of … shared creation,

— Elena Ferrante, The Story of a New Name

Many analysts see Bionian field theory (BFT) as a particularly sophisticated and felicitous model presenting a fresh approach to clinical process. Clinicians are in the process of integrating this model, both theoretically and clinically, into their work with patients. Yet, based as it obviously is on Bion's metapsychology, BFT can prove challenging for clinicians without a foundation in Bion to access and then assimilate into a clinical approach. Those who have experienced difficulty reading Bion's papers may feel reluctant to tackle BFT. Might we look to Winnicott to provide an additional point of entry into analytic field theory?

As I have studied BFT, finding that it has much to offer, my thoughts have gravitated to parallel concepts in Winnicott's writing that I believe are themselves formative for a theory of the analytic field — both with regard to the analyst's role and to understanding how the dyad interacts in the service of the analytic goals (see also Peltz and Goldberg, 2013). These conceptualizations developed by Winnicott — aligning to a large extent with theorizing in BFT — lend themselves to a similar approach yet have generally remained “silent” in the articulation of an analytic field theory that, thus far, within an object relations model, has tended to be seen as synonymous with BFT.

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