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Tip: To sort articles by year…

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After you perform a search, you can sort the articles by Year. This will rearrange the results of your search chronologically, displaying the earliest published articles first. This feature is useful to trace the development of a specific psychoanalytic concept through time.

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Fransman, T. (1998). Joan and Neville Symington The Clinical Thinking of Wilfred Bion, London and New York: Routledge, 1996, 198 pp., £14.99.. J. Child Psychother., 24(2):331-334.

(1998). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 24(2):331-334

Joan and Neville Symington The Clinical Thinking of Wilfred Bion, London and New York: Routledge, 1996, 198 pp., £14.99.

Reviewed by
Tamar Fransman

In this book Joan and Neville Symington have two aims: to reach the ‘psychoanalytically educated’ reader who wants to understand the main tenets of Bion's thinking and to encourage and inform the clinician who wishes to apply Bion's thinking to his or her work. In doing so (the latter in particular) they are filling a gap in the literature on Bion. In the preface they assert that Bion's thinking differs radically from that of previous psychoanalytical thinkers and that he is ‘the deepest thinker within psychoanalysis’ (p. xii). The authors explain how Bion shifted the emphasis of psychoanalysis from a study of the emotional and the pathological aspects of mental life to mental life involved with thinking and thought processes. This change of emphasis applies to the clinician as well as his patient so that the mind of the clinician is as much a subject of study as that of his patient and the relationship between the patient and clinician. Furthermore, the Symingtons hope to inspire clinicians in another crucial area of Bion's thinking, namely to tolerate not knowing or understanding. They feel the success of their book is dependent on the extent to which they can persuade their readers to leave the sides of the known and jump into the ‘terror’ (p. 184) of the unknown.

Unlike many other books which explore Bion's work biographically or through the development of his theories (for example, Bleandonu, 1994; Grinberg et al., 1975; Meltzer, 1978), the Symingtons structure their book around Bion's grid.

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