Containing States of Mind: Exploring Bion's 'Container Model' in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy
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Wilfred Bion's insights into the analytic process have had a profound influence on how psychoanalysts and psychotherapists understand emotional change and pathological mental states. One of his most influential ideas concerns the notion that we need the minds of others to develop our own emotional and cognitive capacities. In "Containing States of Mind" Duncan Cartwright explores and develops some of the implications Bion's container model has on clinical practice. He argues that the analyst or therapist best fulfils a containing function by negotiating irreconcilable internal tensions between his role as dream object and proper object. The container model is also used to illustrate different modes of interaction in the analytic field, the nature of particular pathological states and some of the keys dilemmas faced in attempting to make unbearable mental states more bearable. As well as addressing key theoretical problems, "Containing States of Mind" is a clinical text that renders complex ideas accessible and useful for psychotherapeutic and analytic practice and as such will be essential reading for all those involved in the fields of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy.
Reviews and Endorsements:
'Bion's concept of the "container and the contained" has become one of his most well-known and used ideas - to the point that it has become taken for granted ("saturated," in Bion's terms). Duncan Cartwright has given this concept new life, expands upon it, and integrates it with much of Bion's other works in innovative ways. The results are exciting. The author has expertly balanced profound and extensive scholarship with sound reasoning and with a reader-friendly style. A number of works on Bion have been published recently, this one is in my opinion one of the finest and most useful.'
- James Grotstein, Author, "A Beam of Intense Darkness: Wilfred Bion's Legacy to Psychoanalysis"
Table of Contents
Preface. Acknowledgements. Encountering Unbearable States Of Mind. Projective Identification, Countertransference And The Containing Function. The Analyst's Containing Mind. Polarities Of The Containing Connection. Notes On Interpretation. Speculations About Proto-Containing Experiences. Modes Of Interaction. Idealizing The Container. Some Aspects Of Beta-Mentality On Mimicry And Thinking In A Technological Age. Beta-Mentality In Violent Men. The Autistic Mode In Agoraphobic Syndrome. The Dead Alive Self In Borderline States. References.
About the Author
Duncan Cartwright is head of the Centre for Applied Psychology, University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. He is in part-time private practice and is the author of "Psychoanalysis, Violence and Rage-Type Murder: Murdering Minds", Routledge, 2002.