Substantive unconscious and adjective unconscious: the contribution of Wilfred Bion

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Abstract:

The author first provides her readers with a brief summary of some of Freud's ideas, as found throughout his work, on the notion of ‘unconscious’.

The notion of unconscious as noun is contrasted to the idea of unconscious as adjective, this latter being proposed as a quality, or a state, ever temporary, dynamic, and subject to the constant changes going on in the individual's internal psychic world, as well as to external conditions.

After presenting some considerations, the author then contrasts the Kleinian model of the mind to the Freudian, and Wilfred Bion's contribution is discussed at some length. Within Bion's conception of psychic functioning, the model of ‘dream’ is highlighted and, in this regard, clarifications are sought regarding Bion's view of the unconscious.

To conclude, a brief and superficial approximation to the work of Carl Jung is touched upon, although the author admits to knowing little of Jung's positions.

Keywords: dream psychic dynamics; psychic model of the mind; unconscious as adjective; unconscious as noun; waking dream thought

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1465-5922.00138

Affiliations: São Paulo, Brazil

Publication date: January 1, 2000

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