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If we want to understand Bion’s psychoanalysis and analytic field theory, its most creative development, there is one point we must always bear in mind. Bion conceives individual therapy as group therapy. Consequently, he invites the analyst to put the patient’s past and related causal theories in the background. Rather she should focus on the emotional transformations that occur in the here and now. This is very different from observing the Freudian principles of oneiric and transference distortion, on the one hand, and the (re)construction of the patient’s past history, on the other. It is also different from paying attention to so-called deep unconscious fantasies or enactments. Such a crucial aspect, though, is often misunderstood. Here the concepts of the grid and of the regression or “in search of existence” graph are employed as a way of clarifying it. Trying at any given moment to grasp the direction of the vector that represents the sum of the emotional turbulences affecting the field, whether regressive or progressive (in other words, whether reflecting the growth of the mind or its destruction), implies using a radical technique to achieve receptiveness to the unconscious. The analyst treats all narratives in the session as if they were the recounting of a dream dreamt by the analytic dyad or group of two. A few clinical vignettes are presented by way of illustration.

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Correspondence to Giuseppe Civitarese.

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Civitarese, G. BION’S GRAPH OF “IN SEARCH OF EXISTENCE”. Am J Psychoanal 81, 326–350 (2021).

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  • Regression
  • Progress
  • Bion
  • Analytic field
  • Grid
  • Transformation into hallucinosis
  • Reverie
  • Action reverie