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Bion, W.R. (1970). Attention and Interpretation: A Scientific Approach to Insight in Psycho-Analysis and Groups. London: Tavistock.

Bion, W.R. (1970). Attention and Interpretation. , 1-130. London: Tavistock.

Attention and Interpretation: A Scientific Approach to Insight in Psycho-Analysis and Groups

W. R. Bion, D.S.O., B.A, M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P.


1. Introduction 1
2. Medicine as a Model 6
3. Reality Sensuous and Psychic 26
4. Opacity of Memory and Desire 41
5. Theories: Particular Instance or General Configuration 55
6. The Mystic and the Group 62
7. Container and Contained 72
8. Vertices: Evolution 83
9. Ultimate Reality 87
10. Visual Images and Invariants 92
11. Lies and the Thinker 97
12. Container and Contained Transformed 106
13. Prelude to or Substitute for Achievement 125
References 130

1. Introduction

I doubt if anyone but a practising psycho-analyst can understand this book although I have done my best to make it simple. Any psycho-analyst who is practising can grasp my meaning because he, unlike those who only read or hear about psycho-analysis, has the opportunity to experience for himself what I in this book can only represent by words and verbal formulations designed for a different task. They were developed from a background of sensuous experience. Reason is emotion's slave and exists to rationalize emotional experience. Sometimes the function of speech is to communicate experience to another; sometimes it is to miscommunicate experience to another. Sometimes the object is to achieve access to, and permit access from, a good spirit; conversely, to deny access to a bad spirit. The vocabulary forged from such material serves, though inadequately, when, as in psycho-analytic practice, the object being studied is present. In mathematics, calculations can be made without the presence of the objects about which calculation is necessary, but in psycho-analytic practice it is essential for the psycho-analyst to be able to demonstrate as he formulates. This is not possible the moment the conditions for psycho-analysis, in the narrow technical sense, do not exist. Some of us have sought to extend psycho-analytic method so that it can be employed in a group setting. Such a development, if it can be done without mutilation of the fundamental character of psycho-analytic method, would initiate the change from private to public communication. Language does just that in the domain of sensible experience. Poetic and religious expressions have made possible a degree of ‘public-ation’ in that formulations exist which have achieved durability and extensibility.

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