Wilfred Bion's unpublished lectures at the Los Angeles Psychoanalytic Society and Institute in April in 1967 represent a unique opportunity for students either new to or continuing in the study of Bion's unique psychoanalytic vertex. Here one can both read - and hear - Bion's clear exposition of his clinical and theoretical thinking to an audience of primarily Freudian trained American analysts, most of whom were new to his ideas. Thfirst lecture sets out Bion's ideas on 'memory and desire' in a paper that set the benchmark in the origins of contemporary Kleinian clinical technique. Bion discusses the various factors that facilitate optimal listening receptivity in the analyst, for example how one differentiates the 'K' link vis-a-vis 'transformations in O.' In the second lecture, Bion defined projective identification, container/contained and 'beta elements'- and how these ideas serve as an orienting template for the analyst's understanding of 'proto-mental' states of mind, either in psychotic, borderline or neurotic patients. He clarifies these ideas while engaging with the queries of rewned American analysts, such as Ralph Greenson. In ththird lecture, Bion gives extensive case illustrations of primarily borderline and psychotic patients primarily in terms of work that ushered in a new era of understanding of both borderline and narcissistic pathological organizations. In the final lecture, Bion takes up hallucinatory forms of experience and intersperses his more recent thoughts about the mystic and the Establishment, understanding something of the problematic tensions introduced by the London Kleinians who had in recent years questioned Freud's assumptions about the n-analyzability of the so-called 'narcissistic neuroses.'
Wilfred R. Bion (1897 -1979) was born in India and first came to England at the age of eight to receive his schooling. During the First World War he served in France as a tank commander and was awarded the DSO and the Legion of Honour. After reading history at Queen's College, Oxford, he studied medicine at University College London, before a growing interest in psychoanalysis led him to undergo training analysis with John Rickman and, later, Melanie Klein. During the 1940s his attention was directed to the study of group processes. Abandoning his work in this field in favor of psychoanalytic practice, he subsequently rose to the position of Director of the London Clinic of Psychoanalysis (1956-62) and President of the British Psychoanalytical Society (1962-65). From 1968 he worked in Los Angeles, returning to England two months before his death in 1979. A pioneer in group dynamics, he was associated with the 'Tavistock group', the group of pioneering psychologists that founded the Tavistock Institute in 1946 on the basis of their shared wartime experiences. He later wrote the influential 'Experiences in Groups', an important guide for the group psychotherapy and encounter group movements beginning in the 1960s, and which quickly became a touchstone work for applications of group theory in a wide variety of fields. Bion's training included an analysis with Melanie Klein following World War II. He was a leading member in the Kleinian school while in London, but his theories, which were always based in the phenomena of the analytic encounter, eventually revealed radical departures from both Kleinian and Freudian theory. While Bion is most well known outside of the psychoanalytic community for his work on group dynamics, the psychoanalytic conversation that explores his work is concerned with his theory of thinking and his model of the development of a capacity for thought. Joseph Aguayo is a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Psychoanalytic Center of California in West Los Angeles. He is a Guest Member of the British Psychoanalytical Society in London, and holds UCLA doctorates in both Clinical Psychology and European History. His most recent projects are co-edited publications, including 'Wilfred Bion: Los Angeles Seminars and Supervision', (Karnac Books, 2013). He has a forthcoming full-length book review on Bion's' Complete Works' in the 'International Journal of Psychoanalysis'. Barnet D. Malin is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in Santa Monica, California. He is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the UCLA-NPI Geffen School of Medicine, and a training and supervising analyst at the Psychoanalytic Center of California and the New Center for Psychoanalysis in Los Angeles. He has authored several papers on topics including shame envy and rage, Kohut and Lacan, and others.