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Brown, L.J. (2010). Klein, Bion, and Intersubjectivity: Becoming, Transforming, and Dreaming. Psychoanal. Dial., 20(6):669-682.

(2010). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 20(6):669-682

Klein, Bion, and Intersubjectivity: Becoming, Transforming, and Dreaming

Lawrence J. Brown, Ph.D.

Kleinian theory and practice has not typically been associated with an intersubjective approach, and the author argues that a close reading of the Kleinian literature reveals an implicit intersubjectivity. The concept of projective identification, originally intended by Klein (1946/1975d) to refer only to a change in the patient's mind in his or her perception of the analyst, has been greatly expanded to include the actual subjective experiences of the analyst in response to the analysand's projections. This has led to an emphasis on the necessity of the analyst becoming the patient's projected phantasy, a process that has been systematically explored by Bion. His writings underscore the role of a kind of dreaming process that is required on the part of both analyst and analysand to transform mutual unconscious communications. The author also addresses the further development of the Kleinian/Bionian view of intersubjectivity by the River Plate Group in Argentina and Uruguay, beginning in the early 1960s, whose contributions include the notion of a shared unconscious phantasy of the analytic couple. The paper concludes with a clinical discussion of two interlinking dreams—one by the author and the other by a female patient—that illustrate these points.

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