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Containing states of mind : exploring Bion’s ’container by Bion, Wilfred Ruprecht; Cartwright, Duncan; Bion, Wilfred

By Bion, Wilfred Ruprecht; Cartwright, Duncan; Bion, Wilfred Ruprecht

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Extra resources for Containing states of mind : exploring Bion’s ’container model’ in psychoanalytic psychotherapy

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My understanding of non-symbolic processes is influenced by Bucci’s multiple (1997a, 1997b) code theory. Bucci makes use of cognitive and developmental research to account for various psychoanalytic processes and concepts. Non-symbolic activity involves the processing of sensory patterns, continuous gradients of experience (through perceptual, affective and motoric channels). At this level there are no specified categories of experience. This would include the analyst’s abilities to make fine non-conscious distinctions on sensory and bodily levels without being able to express this in any clear way.

Key features of the container model Some introduction is required to the way I conceptualize the container model throughout the book and some of the key dilemmas and issues this presents. I consider the container to be part of an analytic field where it finds representation at different levels of psychic experience. In exploring what constitutes ‘containing’ in the analytic relationship I also want to make some introductory comments about the relationship between the container and psychic space, the emotions, internalization and pathology.

The container-contained configuration Bion uses the container and contained at different levels of abstraction. At a more local level he uses the model to refer to a mental function involved in making psychic states more bearable and thinkable, as discussed above. But it is also a model that can be applied to any relationship between objects. For my purposes I will use the terms ‘container function’ and ‘container-container configuration’ to represent these different levels of abstraction respectively.

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