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Glouberman, S. (2005). Building on Bion: Roots, Origins and Context of Bion's Contributions to Theory and Practice, and Building on Bion: Branches, Contemporary Developments and Applications of Bion's Contributions to Theory and Practice edited by Robert M. Lipgar and Malcolm Pines London, New York: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, International Library of Group Analysis (Vols. 20, 21), 2003, 272 pp; 320 pp.. Canadian J. Psychoanal., 13(1):131-134.
   

(2005). Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis, 13(1):131-134

Building on Bion: Roots, Origins and Context of Bion's Contributions to Theory and Practice, and Building on Bion: Branches, Contemporary Developments and Applications of Bion's Contributions to Theory and Practice edited by Robert M. Lipgar and Malcolm Pines London, New York: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, International Library of Group Analysis (Vols. 20, 21), 2003, 272 pp; 320 pp.

Review by:
Susan Glouberman

In Psychic Retreats Steiner (1993) writes, “[I]t is better to have a conscious theory than an unconscious prejudice.” I would like to draw upon Steiner's words, and also leap from them, to add, “It is better to have a conscious preference than an unconscious prejudice.”

My conscious preference in psychoanalytic writing in general is for clinical writing, or for linking the clinical to the theoretical, and my preference, more specifically in the work of Bion, is in the child and adult analytic/therapeutic relationship, and not necessarily in the group process.

And so although I found the titles of these two volumes to be somewhat misleading in their omission of “the group,” I, and I hope the reader, can accommodate to that.

What I found somewhat more difficult to accommodate to, albeit with some good exceptions, is that there are not enough clinical examples of the workings of the groups described here, that there is more of a “telling” than a “showing,” and that there is not enough “learning from experience,” which was central to Bion's work, and which has, by now, become the expected and familiar hallmark of both new and classic writings on Bion (e.g., Bott-Spillius, 1988; Meltzer & Williams, 1988; O'Shaughnessy, 1992; Waddell, 1999).

That said, these are dense, serious, and scholarly books, and the contributions from authors from various parts of the world—Italy, France, Argentina, Brazil, the United States, and Great Britain—attest to Bion's broad influence.

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