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Rickman, Bion, and the clinical applications of field theory

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Conci's exploration of the relationship between John Rickman and Wilfred Bion yields a wealth of valuable information that touches on some seminal ideas in psychoanalysis. Their creative collaboration in the Northfield Experiments represented, in part, the clinical application of Kurt Lewin's field theory. This discussion addresses how their work established the framework for what would later be called the analytic field, as well as developed principles that evolved into the notion of the therapeutic community. The author traces the origin of field theory from Gestalt psychology, how it became a central theoretical background at the Northfield Hospital, and its eventual adoption as a central component of inpatient treatment by Karl Menninger.
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Keywords: John Rickman; Karl Menninger; Wilfred Bion; analytic field; field theory; therapeutic community

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2011

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