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Godbout, C. (2004). Reflections on Bion's ‘elements of psychoanalysis’ Experience, thought and growth. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 85(5):1123-1136.

(2004). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 85(5):1123-1136

Reflections on Bion's ‘elements of psychoanalysis’ Experience, thought and growth

Christian Godbout

This paper aims to follow, in Bion's conception of analytic work, an axis of reflection organized around three preoccupations: favoring emergence of emotional experience, symbolic elaboration of that experience and resuming growth through symbolic thought. The overarching issue and condition of all three is the capacity to contain the largest possible range of transferential and counter transferential facts in analytic sessions. This range is likely to be reduced if the analyst listens to the experience of a session with too great a number of theoretical elements in mind. Hence the dictum ‘To listen without memory and desire’, which will be commented upon here in parallel with the process of abstraction, a process serving in Bion's writings the purpose of dealing both with the epistemological problem of communication among analysts and with the clinical problem of receptiveness to the unknown.

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