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Træsdal, T. (2017). Sarah Nettleton, The metapsychology of Christopher Bollas, an introduction. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 40(1):74-75.

(2017). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 40(1):74-75

Sarah Nettleton, The metapsychology of Christopher Bollas, an introduction

Tove Træsdal

The British psychoanalyst Sarah Nettleton approaches her presentation of Christopher Bollas’s metapsychology from the vantage point of someone who knows his work exceptionally well. Bollas used to be her supervisor for a couple of years during her training, she has edited several of his books, and she teaches seminars on his work extensively in Britain, and also in Norway, Israel, France, the USA and Turkey.

Christopher Bollas is one of most prolific psychoanalytic writers of our time. In the foreword to Nettleton’s book, Vincenzo Bonaminio characterizes Bollas’s thinking as at the same time very complex, and transparent and clear. Bollas’s way of approaching the complexity of the human psyche resembles that of Freud in several respects: Both develop their thinking in the form of work in progress, revising theories whenever new knowledge requires that ideas are rethought. They both cover a great many topics, including reflections on societal and artistic themes. They are different in some important ways, though: Freud was unwilling to appreciate contributions that were not his own or in accordance with his own ideas, whereas Bollas anchors his thinking in the contributions of predecessors in the psychoanalytic field, advocating absence of dogmatism, upholding the value of pluralism. Born in the USA, where among other influences were studies in history and a PhD in English literature, he moved to London in the early 1970s to train as a psychoanalyst. Most of the sources of inspiration for his own psychoanalytic thinking are European.

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