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Containing states of mind: exploring Bion's 'container by Duncan Cartwright

By Duncan Cartwright

Wilfred Bion’s insights into the analytic approach have had a profound impression on how psychoanalysts and psychotherapists comprehend emotional switch and pathological psychological states. one in all his such a lot influential principles issues the concept that we want the minds of others to improve our personal emotional and cognitive capacities. In Containing States of brain Duncan Cartwright explores and develops a few of the implications that Bion’s box version has on medical perform. He argues that the analyst or therapist most sensible fulfils a containing functionality by way of negotiating irreconcilable inner tensions among his position as ‘dream item’ and ‘proper object’. The box version can be used to demonstrate diversified ‘modes of interplay’ within the analytic box, the character of specific pathological states and a few of the major dilemmas confronted in trying to make insufferable psychological states extra bearable. in addition to addressing key theoretical difficulties, Containing States of brain is a medical textual content that renders complicated rules available and beneficial for psychotherapeutic and analytic perform and as such could be crucial interpreting for all these enthusiastic about the fields of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy.

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This separates the container function from interpersonal processes aimed at regulating affect or frustration. Following Bion, through this process the emergence of thought 'bridges the gulf of frustration between the moment when a want is felt and the moment when action appropriate to satisfying the want culminates in its satisfaction' (1962a). With a focus on psychic experience, current thinking about 'mentalizing' has much in common with Bion's containing function. , 2008; Bateman and Fonagy, 2004, 2006).

This point best clarifies the differences between these two terms: the containing function is dependent on the mother's mind, her imaginative speculations, whereas 'holding' is dependent on accommodating to the needs ofthe infant or patient. Here, differences between minds are diminished as much as possible and the mother's mind is seen as a potential impingement. Recognizing the differences between these two concepts, some analysts have particular ways in which they put them to clinical use. Grotstein (1991, 2000), for instance, sees 'holding' as more directly related to affect regulation, whereas container-contained interaction is seen as a dynamic 'meaning-making agent', ultimately giving us symbolic language to understand our lives.

G. Bollas, 1983; Cartwright, 1997; Coltart, 1992; Ehrenberg, 1995; Symington, 1983). It should be said, however, that such claims do not advocate disclosure on a continuous basis and warn against its abuse. What is meant by 'countertransference disclosure' also varies a great deal. It might involve directly enacting the countertransference, consciously revealing personal details about one's self, disclosing one's feeling about the patient, or simply making evident to the patient the way the analyst is thinking about a matter.

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