The Italian Seminars by Wilfred R. Bion

By Wilfred R. Bion

The Italian Seminars, formerly unpublished in English, contains lectures W.R. Bion gave in Rome in 1977. the quantity includes questions from the ground and Bion’s attention-grabbing, and occasionally debatable, solutions. The lectures are divided in ; the 1st half was once equipped by way of the Italian Psychoanalytical Society and the second one through the crowd learn of through Polliolo. Bion’s replies research topics as various as problems within the interplay among the therapist and the sufferer; tune and psychoanalysis; non-verbal conversation within the consulting room; and technique in psychoanalysis.

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BION: They are different views of the same thing—it is a sort of diaphragm, a caesura, the “impressive caesura of birth”. There are plenty of impressive caesuras of the birth of ideas, and each time somebody has a new idea—for example, psychoanalysis—it at once becomes a barrier, something which is difficult to penetrate. Instead of being liberating, it becomes imprisoning. So even while we try to formulate an idea which would be liberating, we formulate yet another caesura which is liable to become impenetrable.

I suspect that sometimes a physical pain—say, below the diaphragm—can seep its way up to the mind so that the symptom, the sign, which is not so obvious in the body can be observed in the mind. Then the analyst may be able to make an interpretation which a physician cannot make because he hasn’t learnt how to observe the mind. As I have said, the occupation of psychoanalysis is a dangerous one, but the analyst cannot deal with that dangerous situation by running away from it. We all know that; we all know it would be no good getting up and leaving the room.

Where is this smell located? Anatomically and physiologically we can produce all sorts of theories based on our knowledge of embryology and so forth, but, ignoring that for the moment, where is it cropping up with these apparently two people in the room? I say “apparently two people” because of the dominance of what one could call a rational point of view—there are only two anatomical structures in the room. But it is difficult to know how many minds 20 THE ITALIAN SEMINARS or personalities there are there, and which one is the source of that smell.

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