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Levine, H.B. (2015). Epilogue: Responses to the Work of Antonino Ferro: Ferro’s Bion, Our Ferro. Psychoanal. Inq., 35(5):555-558.

(2015). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 35(5):555-558


Epilogue: Responses to the Work of Antonino Ferro: Ferro’s Bion, Our Ferro

Howard B. Levine, M.D.

In 2005, the International Journal of Psycho-Analysis published an exchange between three prominent authors, each of whose work has been significantly influenced by the ideas of Wilfred Bion. A central point of their debate revolved around their estimation, understanding, and use of Bion’s later writings—a period that we might cite as beginning with Learning From Experience (Bion, 1962), but became increasingly defined by Attention and Interpretation (Bion, 1970), the works-in-progress diary, Cogitations (Bion, 1992), and the lectures, seminars, small papers, and post-modern autobiographical writings of Bion’s last years. The title given to their exchange, “Whose Bion?,” reflects the radical subjectivity that inheres in psychoanalytic knowledge and that has become increasingly evident to analysts, as our field has expanded beyond a description of facts—e.g., dynamics, complexes and hidden memories, wishes, fantasies and feelings—to a study of thinking, dreaming, and mental functioning that emphasizes the work of the psyche and the psychoanalytic couple—dreamwork, waking dream thoughts, alpha function, container/contained, etc.

When viewed with this perspective in mind, the function of psychoanalytic writing is to prepare the mind of the analyst for his or her encounter with the patient—e.g., increasing reverie and receptivity to projective identification, strengthening negative capability and making room for wild thoughts.

[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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