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Hughes, A. (2000). The Bi-Personal Field: Experience in Child Analysis: Antonino Ferro. London and New York: Routledge. 1999. Pp. 210.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 81(2):369-370.

(2000). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 81(2):369-370

The Bi-Personal Field: Experience in Child Analysis: Antonino Ferro. London and New York: Routledge. 1999. Pp. 210.

Review by:
Athol Hughes

An impressive feature of this book is the wealth of clinical material from child analysis with which Antonino Ferro illustrates his conceptual approach to clinical practice. The subtitle of the book is Experience in Child Analysis, but the presence of child analytic material need not deter adult analysts from reading the book and finding stimulation in considering Ferro's theoretical model. To the author, as to many analysts, there is no difference between child and adult analytic practice. In both situations Ferro sees analyst and patient contributing to the affective interpersonal experience in the bi-personal field within the analytic session. Both partners use the mechanism of projective identification (Klein, 1946) at a conscious and at an unconscious level.

The author considers that the psychoanalytic dialogue is an encounter of two minds: that of the patient and that of the analyst. This encounter produces a new story that is different in Ferro's eyes from that gained from classical Freudian analyses, where he sees the emphasis on the patient's ‘network of historical, factual relationships’ (p. 2). However, Ferro's approach interprets the psychoanalytic dialogue as taking place in the ‘intersubjective field’, which focuses on a shared emotional experience based on the relationship between patient and analyst. The patient's emotional growth is dependent on new affective interpersonal experiences within the analytic dialogue that ‘facilitates an emotional realisation thus far unknown and inaccessible to thought’ (p.

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