The American Journal of Psychoanalysis

, Volume 78, Issue 2, pp 201–204 | Cite as

Bion in Brazil: Supervisions and Commentaries, edited by Jose Americo Junqueria de Mattos, Gisele de Mattos Brito, and Howard B. Levine, Karnac, London, 2017, 262pp.

  • Ian S. MillerEmail author
Book Reviews

“Where now, who now, when now?” These are fundamental questions of psychological orientation, interpreted through the words of Samuel Beckett (Beckett, 2006, p. 285). Wilfred Bion goes a step beyond and leans upon the doggerel of Rudyard Kipling in discerning seven such signposts, useful for thinking oneself into the aliveness of the human condition: what, why, when, how, where, who and the “I” that integrates them all (Bion, 1978).

Often, today, W.R. Bion is read as a “mystical,” somewhat oracular clinician/writer. Indeed, Bion’s approach to the questions framing the psychoanalyst’s worldview might suggest to us the Delphic presence he explicitly names (pp. 15–16). Bion’s descriptive prose often confounds the reader’s imagination, but it fundamentally also extends a task-driven perspective that melds methodological rigor with profoundly sensitive pliability, or what Ferenczi long before, located in compassionate provision toward understanding patients, seeking what ailed them, no...


  1. Beckett, S. (2006). Samuel Beckett. The Grove Centenary Edition, Volume II, Novels. Grove Press: New York.Google Scholar
  2. Bion, W.R. (1978). Seven servants: Four works. Jason Aronson: Montvale, NJ.Google Scholar
  3. Bion, W.R. (1990). Brazilian lectures. 1973 Sao Paulo, 1974 Rio de Janeiro/Sao Paulo. Karnac: London.Google Scholar
  4. Biran, H. (2015). The courage of simplicity: Essential ideas in the work of W. R. Bion. Karnac: London.Google Scholar
  5. Ferenczi, S. (1928). The elasticity of psycho-analytic technique. In Final contributions to the problems and methods of psycho-analysis. (pp. 87–102) Bruner/Mazel: New York. 1994.Google Scholar
  6. Ferenczi, S. & Rank, O. (1924). The development of psychoanalysis. G.H. Pollock (Ed.) International Universities Press: Madison, CT.Google Scholar
  7. Grotstein, J. (2007). A beam of intense darkness. Wilfred Bion’s legacy to psychoanalysis. Karnac: London.Google Scholar
  8. Grotstein, J. (2009a). But at the same time and on another level, (Vol. 1) Karnac: London.Google Scholar
  9. Grotstein, J. (2009b). But at the same time and on another level, (Vol. 2) Karnac: London.Google Scholar
  10. Kafka, F. (1949). In the penal settlement. Secker and Warburg: London.Google Scholar
  11. Pistiner De Cortinas, L. (2017). On mental growth: Bion’s ideas that transform psychoanalytical clinical practice. Karnac: London.Google Scholar
  12. Rachman, A.W. (1998). Ferenczi’s relaxation principle and the issue of therapeutic responsiveness. The American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 58: 63–81.Google Scholar
  13. Sullivan, H. (1954). The psychiatric interview. Tavistock Publications Limited: London.Google Scholar
  14. Symington, J. & Symington, N. (1996). The clinical thinking of Wilfred Bion. Routledge: Hove.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kilmainham Congregational ChurchDublin 8Ireland

Personalised recommendations