Recognising, Understanding and Treating Nameless States: A Psychoanalytic Exploration

Author(s) : Bernd Nissen

Part of The Routledge Wilfred R. Bion Studies series - more in this series

Recognising, Understanding and Treating Nameless States: A Psychoanalytic Exploration

Book Details

  • Publisher : Routledge
  • Published : December 2023
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 152
  • Category :
  • Catalogue No : 97370
  • ISBN 13 : 9781032561660
  • ISBN 10 : 1032561661
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In this captivating volume, Bernd Nissen considers the multiplicity of nameless states, and the impact of their discovery on psychoanalytic theory and practice.

The nameless is considered through a variety of lenses: trauma, unrepresented states, autistoid/autistic states, breakdown, non-existence, and unrepressed/unstructured consciousness. Nissen draws upon the work of Freud and Bion to inform his exploration of nameless states and the ways in which they might be located, understood and conceptualised. He illuminates the processes of transformation into the psychic and asks how nameless states can be psychically anchored. Clinical vignettes are used throughout to illustrate the consequences for treatment, as well as interpretations of complex holding situations.

This book will be of interest to analysts both in practice and in training, as well as psychotherapists and mental health practitioners wishing to understand nameless states more deeply.

Reviews and Endorsements

Times and culture changed mightly over the century, and so did patients: ego-dystonic neurotic patients, collaborating in the work of the analysis, have been largely replaced by severe pathologies raising the need to expand our capacities while putting our stamina to the test. Dr. Bernd Nissen's book, Recognising, Understanding and Treating Nameless States: A Psychoanalytic Exploration is a brilliant step in that direction bringing enlightening, detailed clinical accounts of his valiant struggles at the very limits of analyzability, including a promising clinical concept, 'holding interpretation'.
Dr. Jorge L. Ahumada, Distinguished Fellow, British Psychoanalytical Society; Supervising and Training Analyst, Argentine Psychoanalytic Association

Bernd Nissen encircles the nameless, forging new paths into theoretical complexity. From a clinical position, we grasp the nameless intuitively and begin to sense the tectonic shifts in treatment technique he suggests. No sooner have we used his ladder to climb to some understanding, he, following Wittgenstein, intends to snatch it from us and throw it away. But we will need it for some time to approach the nameless as a new unknown psychoanalytic continent.
Dr. Uta Zeitzschel, medical doctor for psychosomatics, psychoanalyst in Hamburg, Germany; training analyst and supervisor of the German Psychoanalytical Association and IPA. Co-Editor of the Jahrbuch der Psychoanalyse

Bernd Nissen provides a critical review of psychoanalytic approaches to 'nameless' (unrepresented, asymbolic) states, in which Bion occupies a central place. Beginning with Freud, and proceeding by way of André Green, the Paris psychosomaticians, the Botellas, and Frances Tustin to contemporary authors, Nissen discusses innovations, convergences and contradictions as well as technical implications, ending with a section on which of Bion’s formulations remain lastingly relevant. He brings to the task a philosopher’s capacity for conceptual analysis as well as his own contribution over decades to the understanding of ‘nameless’ states in hypochondriasis, and the text ist richly illustrated with case material. The book will be indispensable to clinicians working with these states and to anyone seeking a deeper understanding of psychoanalytic theory: A tour de force, and a book to read and re-read.
Maria Rhode, Professor Emeritus of Child Psychotherapy, Tavistock Clinic, London

Table of Contents

1. Psychoanalytical considerations on nameless states
2. Attempt at a conceptualisation of the nameless
3. Methodical and technical issues
4. Basic and practical-technical issues
5. Critical conclusion

About the Author(s)

Bernd Nissen is a training and control analyst, and a psychoanalyst (DPV/IPV) in private practice in Germany. His main areas of work are autistoid disorders, psychoanalytic technique, and scientific and theoretical questions on psychoanalysis. He has edited and published several journal articles and books in various languages.

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