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Zeavin, L. (2011). Which Bion? Bion Today General Editor: Dana Birkstead-Breen Edited by Chris Mawson, The New Library of Psychoanalysis; 464 pp., $36.95, 2010. DIVISION/Rev., 3:7-9.

(2011). DIVISION/Review, 3:7-9

Which Bion? Bion Today General Editor: Dana Birkstead-Breen Edited by Chris Mawson, The New Library of Psychoanalysis; 464 pp., $36.95, 2010

Review by:
Lynne Zeavin

As Chris Mawson points out in his excellent introduction to this valuable new volume, Wilfred Bion was part of a triumvirate of pioneering analysts that included Hanna Segal and Herbert Rosenfeld. Each extended Melanie Klein's understanding of archaic defenses such as splitting and projective identification and developed new clinical and technical understandings for the treatment of psychotic and severely disturbed patients-during the 1950s. Mawson writes that for Bion, the goal remains “insightful understanding of psychic reality through a disciplined experiencing of the transference-countertransference, the setting and the method, and to remain rigorously psychoanalytic.” (p. 3) In the last years, Bion has become so popular in the United States that often it seems that psychoanalytic rigor is under threat, if not altogether lost. Bion's radical formulations have become catch phrases in some circles, their meaning diluted and their specificity lost. This volume goes a long way toward restoring the particularity and originality of Bion's ideas and reminding us of the value of rigorous thought, particularly in relation to concepts that now verge on the cliché: container/contained, reverie, projective identification, countertransference, and thinking.

Psychoanalytic models of the mind, developed by Freud, Klein, and Bion, can be loosely linked with one another to form what Donald Meltzer called, “the Kleinian expansion of Freud's metapsychology” (1979, p.

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