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Aguayo, J. (2014). Bion's Notes on Memory and Desire - Its Initial Clinical Reception in the United States: A Note on Archival Material. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 95(5):889-910.

(2014). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 95(5):889-910

History of Psychoanalysis

Bion's Notes on Memory and Desire - Its Initial Clinical Reception in the United States: A Note on Archival Material Language Translation

Joseph Aguayo

(Accepted for publication 12 May 2014)

While Bion's 1967 memory and desire paper reflected a crucial episode in his clinical thinking during his epistemological period, it was also central to his evolution as a Kleinian psychoanalyst who worked with seriously disturbed adult patients. The author explicates and contextualizes these claims with a new archival document, the Los Angeles Seminars delivered by Bion in April 1967, and the full-length version of Notes on memory and desire. Bion here instigated a radical departure from years of theory-laden work when he made his clinical work and ideas accessible to a new audience of American Freudian analysts. While this new group was keenly interested to hear about Bion's clinical technique with both borderline and psychotic patients, there were varied reactions to Bion's ideas on the technical implications of the analyst's abandonment of memory and desire. Both the Los Angeles Seminars and Notes elicited responses ranging from bewilderment, admiration to skepticism amongst his audience of listeners and readers.

These materials also however allow for a more complete and systematic presentation of important ideas about analytic technique - and while his ideas in this domain have been long valued and known by many psychoanalysts, this contribution stresses the crucial aspect of the reception of his ideas about technique in a particular American context. American analysts gained a much more explicit idea of how Bion worked analytically, how he listened, formulated interpretations and factored in the analyst's listening receptivity in the here-and-now. The author concludes with a consideration of the importance of Bion's American reception in 1967.

[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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