READING WILFRED BION: Theory, Function and Clinical Practice

- Certificate Course with 12,5 hrs of post-graduate/ CE credits in psychoanalytic education

with Stefanie Teitelbaum, LCSW, NPsyA

When: Saturdays, 3/29; 4/12; 4/26; 5/17; 5/31 2014 - 9:45 am - 12:20 pm

Where: 99 University Place, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10003

OR VIRTUALLY (with minimal technical requirements for in real time participation and/ or via use of video-taped sessions)

Tuition: $450/ 10-week course/ 5 double-sessions. Ask for our need-based scholarships and payment arrangements (call the administrator at 646-522-1056).

“Psycho-analysis itself is just a stripe on the coat of the tiger. Ultimately it may meet the Tiger - The Thing Itself - O.” (W. R. Bion, A Memoir of the Future, 1975)

This course will provide a space for students to meet their own Bion through close readings of key topics in the notes he called “COGITATIONS”.  Such topics Positive and Negative Object Links, Bizarre Objects, No-Objects, the Container and Contained, the Pre-natal Part of the Personality, Psychic Suffering, Catastrophe, Faith as a psychoanalytic attitude, Transformations, and O, Thing Itself.  

Segments from Bion’s clinical seminars and student’s clinical material will be used to bring theoretical concepts to life in the psychoanalytic setting.    

The thought-residue of thinkers that influenced Bion – psychoanalysts, philosophers, mathematicians, artists, and mystics – are palpable stripes among the infinite stripes of the Tiger that is Bion.  

Bion would like us to conceptualize those stripes for ourselves as well as find our own.  However, the influences of Freud and Klein are inescapable. Most prominent residue in Bion’s work can be traced to Freud’s “Formulation of two principles of mental functioning”, the caesura quote in “Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety,” and the papers on technique; and Klein’s “Notes on Some Schizoid Mechanisms” and “A Contribution to the Psychogenesis of Manic-Depressive States”.   The dialectic between Bion and those seminal works and his transformative transcendence of them will be discussed throughout the course. 

READ more about BION HERE

Course Syllabus:

Class 1 – March 29, 2014

Readings: TWO PAPERS; GRID AND CAESURA, Karnac, London, 1989.

*The Grid, 1977, pp1-33;

*Caesura: 1976 35-56p (Also called “On a Quotation from Freud”).

Written towards the end of Bion’s life, these papers may be viewed as two vertexes of his work.  The Grid thought of as an evolving worksheet to note session experience, contains brief descriptions of Bion’s elements of psychoanalysis and their transformations.  The Elements of the Grid are to be used outside the analytic session, and forgotten during the session.  Caesura may be thought of as a reverie stimulated by the day’s residue of a quote by Freud in Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety, expresses the O – ultimate truth, of analyst and patient in session being joined and separate at the same time.

Both papers contain elements of Bion’s dialectical relationship with Freud and Klein.  The Grid particularly highlights three-way dialectic; Bion’s addition to Freud’s Two Principles of Mental Functioning to accommodate his modification of a quote by Melanie Klein (a personal communication) and psychoanalysis of lies and falsehoods.

The two vertexes, seen joined and separate at the same time through binocular vision, peek at the unknowable ‘O’ of Bion.

The definitions in the Grid will be referred to throughout the course.

For Classes 2-4 - Readings:

 Wilfred Bion Los Angeles Seminars and Supervision, Aguary & Malin (Eds.), Karnac, London, 2013.

Cogitations relevant to the seminar from Bion’s COGITATIONS, Bion, F. (Ed.), Karnac London, 1992.

The ‘relevant’ Cogitations can only be relevant to me at the time of this writing.  Please read these without memory, desire or understanding.   I fully expect, as our class takes on group identity, your interests and our interactions with change the relevancy.  Their groupings in the seminars are the best efforts to subject the fragments to secondary process.  Their O truth is primary.   

Class 2 – April 12, 2014

Los Angeles First Seminar 4/12/67, pp 1-31.

“O and the problem of language-memory and desire-clinical examples – the analyst’s paranoid-schizoid and depressive positions – audience questions.”         

Suggested Cogitations:

An Interpretation, pp. 210-211;

Probability, (patient’s use of beta elements, and more.), pp 212-215;

The Attack on the Analysts Alpha-Function, pp. 216-221;           

Memory and Desire, pp. 293-296;

Untitled Cogitation on Memory/Desire and Psychotic Patient, p.312;

Notes on Memory and Desire, pp 380-385.               

Class 3 –April 26, 2014

Los Angeles Seminars, Second Seminar 4/14/67, pp.33-54

“Projective Identification, container/contained – the problem of language – clinical example – audience questions – the mystic and the establishment.

Suggested Cogitations:

Commentary on the scientific deductive system, pp.157-165;

The Problem of Perception: common sense and group polarity of instincts, p.189;

Tower of Babel: Possibility of Using a Racial Myth, pp.226-241;

Determination of a Direction in a Group, pp.308-310;

Untitled Cogitation on Container and Contained Object, pp. 355-357.

Class 4 – May 17, 2014

Los Angeles Third Seminar – Bion’s Treatment of a Psychotic Patient – Bion’s comments on a case presented by a member of the audience, pp.55-79.

Psychoanalysis of Falsehood.

Suggested Cogitations:

Common Sense, (including survival in a group, psychotic super-ego and more), pp. 23-32;

Truth – need for, and need to keep maladjustment in repair, pp. 99-101;

Untitled Cogitation on the Splitting of the Breast, p.188;

Untitled Cogitation on Perception, Hatred of Emotion, and more pp. 222-224;

The Cause and the Selected Fact pp. 275-277;

Untitled Cogitation on Language, Artifice and Truth, pp. 366-367.                  

Class 5 – May 31, 2014

Los Angeles Fourth Seminar – Bion’s Treatment of a Borderline Psychotic patient – audience questions – visual and auditory hallucinations in disturbed patients, and Christian mystics – pp.81-105.

Suggested Cogitations:

Psychotic Mechanisms, p1;

Cogitations on Dreamwork, Hallucinations, Super-ego, and more - pp.62-72;

Cogitations on Superego and Splitting  – pp.102-106;

Untitled Cogitation On Links, Oedipus, and more - pp.198-202;

Untitled Cogitation On Thoughts with a Thinker, and more, pp.317.


These are are partial and highly subjective list of thinkers whose thoughts about Bion influenced my own Bion thoughts and the organization of this course. Your influences and your Bion will be different than mine, as mine are already different since writing the syllabus.  If you have some thoughts and/or influences of your own, please bring them to class.  References marked with an asterisk (*) are available on PEP WEB.

Eaton, J.L. (2005). The Obstructive Object. Psychoanalytic Review, 92, 355-372. 

Eigen, M. *(1985). Toward Bion's Starting Point: Between Catastrophe and Faith. Int. J. Psycho-Analysis,

66, 321-330.

Eigen, M. (1996). PSYCHIC DEADNESS; Jason Aronson, NJ. (Reprinted Karnac, London 2004.)

Ch 4, Bion’s No-Thing.

Ch 5, Moral Violence.

Ch 6, Two Kinds of No-Thing.

Eigen, M.  (2001). DAMAGED BONDS, Karnac, London

Ch3, Damaged Dream-Work.

Ch4, The Undreamable Object.

Eigen, M. *(2001) Mysticism and Psychoanalysis, Psychoanalytic Review, 88; 455-481.

Eigen, M. *(2002) Half and Half, Fort Da, 8A 7-17.

Eigen, M. *(2002) A Basic Rhythm, Psychoanalytic Rev., 89; 721-740

Eigen, M. *(2008). Hallucination and Psychopathy. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 17, 4-15. 

Green, A. (1998). The Primordial Mind and the Work of the Negative. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 79, 649-665.


Meltzer, D. *(1981). The Kleinian Expansion of Freud's Metapsychology. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 62, 177-185.

Meltzer, D. *(1981a). The Relation of Splitting of Attention to Splitting of Self and Objects.

Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 17, 232-238


Sandler, P.C. (2005)   THE LANGUAGE OF BION; A DICTIONARY OF CONCEPTS. Karnac, London,

Sandler, P.C. *(2006) The Origins of Bion’s Work; International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 87, 179-201.

*Tabak De Bianchedi, E.T. (2005). Whose Bion? Who is Bion? Int. J. Psycho-Analysis, 86, 1529-1534.

Tabak de Biancheti, E. et al. PRE-NATALS/POST-NATALS: THE TOTAL PERSONALITY, retrieved 4/3/2013.

*Tustin, F. (1981). A Modern Pilgrim's Progress: Reminiscences of Personal Analysis with Dr. Bion. J. Child Psychotherapy, 7, 175-179. 


Bio of the Course Instructor:  

Stefanie Teitelbaum, LCSW, NPsyA, B. Music - is the Supervisor, Training Analyst, Faculty of NPAP and IEA;  Dean of Students, IEA;  Instructor, ORI. She is the former staff psychotherapist at the Lower East Side Service Center’s Drug-Free Outpatient Program.   Stefanie Teitelbaum is in private psychoanalytic practice in New York City. Contact info: 212 255-3284; 917 279-3414; stef.teitelbaum@gmail.com.

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2009 Annual Conference on Eroticized Demonic Object

Visit ORI's YouTube Channel, ObjectRelations2009, to view NEW mini-video series "The Object Relations View"

Intro to the Object Relations Thinking and Clinical Technique - with Dr. Kavaler-Adler (part 1).

Projective Identification (part 2)

Time as an Object (part 3)

Self Sabotage - (part 4)

          Fear of Success (part 5)

          Mourning, Developmental vs. Pathological  (part 6)

          Bad Objects and Loyalty to Bad Objects (part 7)

          Demon-lover Complex  (part 8)

          Psychic Regret (part 9)

          Klein-Winnicott Dialectic  (part 10)

          Depression: The Object Relations View (part 11)

         Anxiety: The Object Relations View (part 12)

          Eating Disorders: The Object Relations View (part 13)

         Narcissism: The Object Relations View (part 14)

          Female Creativity and the Internal Father (part 15)

          Psychic Dialectic: The Object Relations View (part 16)

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