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Miller, L. (1986). Donald Meltzer Studies in Extended Metapsychology. Published by Clunie Press, 1986. Hardback, £12.50.. J. Child Psychother., 12(2):125-126.

(1986). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 12(2):125-126

Donald Meltzer Studies in Extended Metapsychology. Published by Clunie Press, 1986. Hardback, £12.50.

Review by:
Lisa Miller

Meltzer has not settled down at his desk to write a book called “Clinical Applications of Bion's Ideas”, as the sub-title has it. The integration of this book springs from something different. In one sense it is a record of continuing work: we are offered a bunch of loosely-gathered papers composed over a number of years, a period of time straddling the publication of Meltzer's last book, Dream-Life, reviewed here in 1985. The level of these collected studies is uneven and they were produced for varying purposes and audiences.

One thing unifies them. They are a record of the effect which Bion's ideas have had upon Meltzer's way of thinking and working: they form an account of what Meltzer has made of Bion. So we are given an impression of one of the very processes to which Bion and Meltzer are always drawing our attention, the process whereby we assimilate a new experience and make it into a part of ourselves. Meltzer has literally worked on Bion's ideas: they have fuelled him and he has processed them. The “studies” of the title have their origins in the different aspects of his working life. They come from supervising, leading seminars, delivering papers, analysing patients and, clearly though implicitly, from a constant working process of self-scrutiny. Meltzer is delighted to recognise illumination wherever it occurs, and he displays other workers' clinical material with enthusiasm and generosity.

This in itself may be encouraging to those of us who feel we need all the help we can find to aid our digestion of Bion's ideas.

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