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Cooper, P.C. (2015). Wilfred Bion: Los Angeles Seminars and Supervision, edited by Joseph Aguayo & Barnet D. Malin, Karnac, London, (2013) 156 pp.. Am. J. Psychoanal., 75(2):231-232.

(2015). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(2):231-232

Book Reviews

Wilfred Bion: Los Angeles Seminars and Supervision, edited by Joseph Aguayo & Barnet D. Malin, Karnac, London, (2013) 156 pp.

Review by:
Paul C. Cooper, Ph.D.

As noted in the Acknowledgments, this book is based on transcripts of audio tape recordings during four seminars and a group supervision in Los Angeles during April 1967 and recorded by Arthur Malin. As Barnet Malin notes in the Acknowledgments: “In addition to their value as archival Bion material, these recordings register part of the history of psychoanalysis in Los Angeles” (p. vii).

The seminars were particularly valuable as most psychoanalysts at the time were medically trained psychiatrists with extensive contact with psychotics. Bion's ideas, which extended psychoanalysis to work with psychosis and other conditions, refuted the earlier Freudian view that psychoanalysis was only useful with neurotic patients. The relevance here is underscored by the fact that all of Bion's clinical examples during these seminars are with psychotic and borderline patients and thus are as fresh and relevant today as they were in 1967. These seminars were given during what Bleandonu (1994) describes as Bion's “epistemological period” and thus as the editors of the present text note are “works in progress” (p. xv).

The first seminar addresses Bion's conceptualizations that form the content of his work “Notes on Memory and Desire(1967). An appendix includes the complete text of the original publication, much of which is missing from reprinted versions. Although these ideas have become increasingly familiar to the contemporary reader in the ensuing years since its first publication, the editors remind the reader that “… these were radical propositions, and they evoked quizzical and at times deeply skeptical responses from the audience” (p.

[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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