Bion in Contemporary Practice

Bion in Contemporary Practice

BPA Scientific Meeting

Bion in Contemporary Practice
Saturday 11th March
9.15am – 5.30pm  

SPEAKERS & TITLE OF PAPERS (in order of presentation): 
Rudi Vermote: On Bion’s Language of Achievement
David Simpson: The Mothering Instinct and Bion
Nicola Abel-Hirsch: Bion on “Suffering”


Language of Achievement - Rudi Vermote, M.D., Ph.D.
In his work with psychotics ‘early’ Bion developed a model and a technique for enhancing the thinking of perceptions and experiences’ and changed the focus of treatment from understanding the meaning to psychic functioning itself or Transformations in K. The so-called ‘late’ Bion made a shift and saw profound psychic change or Transformations in O happening at an undifferentiated level that is beyond verbal thought.
It was clear to the ‘early’ and ‘late’ Bion that an approach by Reason and rational language is of no value for facilitating psychic change in psychoanalysis. But when and what kind of language should we use then for facilitating T(K) and T(O)?
The ‘late’ Bion referred to a ‘language of Achievement’ without clearly defining it. In the lecture we go to the roots of this concept which is linked with poetry, philosophy and the mystics. We try to see how language articulates with the different levels of psychic functioning and psychic change.
Finally we discuss the implication of these insights for psychoanalytic technique in different pathologies going from neurosis to trauma , psychosomatic disorders and psychosis.
Rudi Vermote is a Training Analyst and Past President of the Belgian Psychoanalytical Society and a full member of the International Psychoanalytical Association. He is emeritus professor of the University of Leuven and a psychoanalyst in private practice. He is the author of numerous papers and of Reading Bion in the New Library of Psychoanalysis Series.

Bion on ‘Suffering’ - Nicola Abel-Hirsch
Through the 1960s Bion addresses the question of how we come into being psychically. He uses a number of terms as his explorations go deeper, in particular: modification; alpha-function; transformations in ‘O’ and at the end of his formal explorations - “suffering”. The paper will look at his specialist use of “suffering” and its significance clinically in a shift of focus from the patient’s relationship with the analyst to the patient’s relation to him or herself.
Nicola Abel-Hirsch is a Training and Supervising Analyst of the British Psychoanalytical Society and works in full-time psychoanalytical practice. She has given theoretical and clinical papers on Bion in the UK; Taiwan (annually 2005-2012); the USA, and Europe. She is the author of Bion 365 Quotes (2019), editor of Hanna Segal's last book Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (2007), and has a new book coming out in the spring: Bion: An Introduction (2023).

‘The mothering instinct’ and Bion. The importance of the link between curiosity and love in mothers’ ability to nurture emotional growth - David Simpson
David Simpson explores the model of maternal care which Bion uses to understand analytic function and attitude. He suggests that both curiosity and love are important for mothering capacity both in childcare and in analytic work. He considers that in his early work Bion overemphasised knowledge, and curiosity, over love and he suggests that Bion’s later change towards a focus on the growth of Being (O) and his recommendations regarding the analyst’s attitude in sessions addressed this bringing Bion in line with Klein and Freud.
David Simpson is a Training and Supervising Analyst and Past President of the British Psychoanalytic Association. He a Fellow of the British Psychoanalytic Society. He trained in psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital and was a Consultant at the Tavistock Clinic where he was the Director of child and adolescent psychiatric training, Honorary Senior Lecturer at University College London Medical School, and led a service for patients with autism and learning disabilities. He works in private practice in London. He has written, and published, on a wide range of psychoanalytic topics, and has presented internationally including at EPF and IPA congresses. He has extensive involvement in providing teaching and training for psychoanalysis in Eastern Europe.

Hybrid meeting:

89 Prince of Wales Road
London NW5 3NT
& Online via Zoom