In this pioneering work, Bion’s revolutionary modification of the psychoanalytic model of the mind: his theories of thinking, affects, and groups find applications which illuminate and integrate the author’s previous study of Bion in The Kleinian Development. In these studies, which range from protomental states and reversal of alpha-function, through family patterns, to problems in nursery and early childhood, Meltzer develops Bion’s concept of a nonthinking ‘basic assumption’ mentality, setting it against the individual mind, which grows through the digestion of emotional and passionate experiences. This distinction is crucial for the comprehension of some of the darkest areas of psychoanalytic practice: infantile disturbances, the functioning of adolescent groups, and somatizations.
Meg Harris Williams
1. Field or phase – a debate on psychoanalytical modes of thought
2. What is an emotional experience?
3. A Klein-Bion model for evaluating psychosomatic states
4. The protomental apparatus and soma-psychotic phenomena
5. The conceptual distinction between projective identification (Klein) and container-contained (Bion)
6. Clinical use of the concept of vertices: multiplication of vertices as a method reality of testing; shifting of vertices as a mode of defence
7. The limits of language
8. Facts and fictions
9. An enquiry into lies, their genesis and relation to hallucination
10. Clinical application of Bion’s concept ‘transformations in hallucinosis’
11. Clinical application of Bion’s concept ‘reversal of alpha-function’
12. Psychotic illness in early childhood: ten years on from Explorations in Autism
13. A one-year-old goes to day nursery – a parable of confusing times
14. Family patterns and cultural educability
15. Concerning the perception of one’s own attributes and its relation to language development
16. On turbulence
17. A Swiftean diatribe
About the Author:
Donald Meltzer (1923-2004) was born in New York and studied medicine at Yale. After practising as a psychiatrist specialising in children and families, he moved to England to have analysis with Melanie Klein in the 1950s, and for some years was a training analyst with the British Society. He worked with both adults and children, and was innovative in the treatment of autistic children; in the treatment of children he worked closely with Esther Bick and Martha Harris whom he later married. He taught child psychiatry and psychoanalytic history at the Tavistock Clinic. He also took a special scholarly interest in art and aesthetics, based on a lifelong love of art. Meltzer taught widely and regularly in many countries, in Europe, Scandinavia, and North and South America, and his books have been published in many languages and continue to be increasingly influential in the teaching of psychoanalysis.
His first book, The Psychoanalytical Process, was published by Heinemann in 1967 and was received with some suspicion (like all his books) by the psychoanalytic establishment. Subsequent books were published by Clunie Press for the Roland Harris Educational Trust which he set up together with Martha Harris (now the Harris Meltzer Trust). The Process was followed by Sexual States of Mind in 1973, Explorations in Autism in 1975; The Kleinian Development in 1978 (his lectures on Freud, Klein and Bion given to students at the Tavistock); Dream Life in 1984; The Apprehension of Beauty in 1988 (with Meg Harris Williams); and The Claustrum in 1992.