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Pugh, K. (2020). Attacks on Linking revisited: a new look at Bion’s classic work: edited by Catalina Bronstein and Edna O’Shaughnessy, London, Karnac Books Ltd., 2017, 118 pp., £26.67.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 101(2):402-406.
(2020). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 101(2):402-406
Attacks on Linking revisited: a new look at Bion’s classic work: edited by Catalina Bronstein and Edna O’Shaughnessy, London, Karnac Books Ltd., 2017, 118 pp., £26.67.
Review by: Kate Pugh
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned.
W.B. Yeats, “The Second Coming” (1919)
This poem came from the experience of the chaos of the First World War. It was this traumatic experience that taught Bion, the young tank commander, barely out of adolescence, the importance of containment and the basis for his future theory of thinking (Souter 2009).
Projective identification makes it possible for (the infant/patient) to investigate his own feelings in a personality powerful enough to contain them.
Denial of the use of this mechanism, either by the refusal of the mother to serve as a repository for the infant’s feelings, or by the hatred and envy of the patient who cannot allow the mother to exercise this function, leads to a destruction of the link between infant and breast and consequently to a severe disorder of the impulse to be curious, on which all learning depends … the conduct of emotional life … becomes intolerable. Feelings of hatred are thereupon directed against all emotions … and against external reality which stimulates them. (Bion 1959, 106)
“Attacks on Linking” is a key paper in psychoanalytic literature, one that is groundbreaking and paves the way for future psychoanalysts to develop Bion’s thinking.
[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.]