05 Nov 2016 10:00 : Being and Becoming

The Irish Forum for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy


Being and Becoming: The profound impact of the latter work of Winnicott and Bion on psychoanalytic work.

Both Winnicott and Bion, in their later work, came to think of psychoanalytic therapy as a process of being and becoming as a consequence of a radical ontological experience of patient-with-therapist. Our presenters, Dr Margaret Boyle Spelman and Dr Wayne Featherstone, will explore this territory through theory and clinical example.

Dr Boyle Spelman will explore in her paper Winnicott’s idea that the aim of psychotherapy is… ‘by and large giving back what the patient brings….if I do it well enough the patient will find his or her own self, and will be able to exist and feel real’ (Playing and Reality, 1971: 117).

Dr Featherstone will explore in his paper how, for Bion, the concept of ‘O’ is intimately connected to the emergence of something truly new and creative within, and between the analytic couple, even if it is accompanied by the terrors of change and the unfamiliar, known as “catastrophic dread”.

The papers will be followed by a discussion with the two presenters about convergences and differences between the ideas of these two seminal psychoanalysts, and how this may impact our clinical thinking and practice.


Dr. Wayne Featherstone and Dr. Margaret Boyle Spelman

(the former will be joining us live via Zoom or Skype from Melbourne)

Dr. Wayne Featherstone is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist who teaches Field Theory and the work of Bion in the Victorian Association of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapists (VAPP) training course in Melbourne, Australia. He worked for 27 years in adult psychiatry services alongside his private practice. He is Chair of the Training Committee of the VAPP. He teaches and coordinates courses related to applied psychoanalytic theory and practice at the Melbourne and Australian Catholic Universities.

Dr. Margaret Boyle Spelman is a …read more

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