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Billow, R.M. (2000). From Countertransference to “Passion”. Psychoanal Q., 69(1):93-119.

(2000). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 69(1):93-119

From Countertransference to “Passion”

Richard M. Billow, Ph.D.

Bion's ideas may be extended to describe an emotional phenomenology of the analyst's subjectivity and a methodology which helps differentiate countertransference enactments from fuller emotional participation. Bion called the process of integrating and utilizing one's most basic and important emotions to make meaning, “ passion.” The analyst's primal feelings— of love, hate, and curiosity— serve as a central organizer of meaning in the analytic interaction. These feelings involve pain, and to the extent the analyst unconsciously decides to evade or foreclose the evolution of the feelings, such that they remain unintegrated in the thinking process, the analyst is liable to become mired in repetitive transference-countertransference experiences without establishing fresh meaning. A case example illustrates the relevance of “ passion” to contemporary relational theory and practice.

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