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The facilitation of genius: Rickman's mentoring of Bion

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Marco Conci's paper gives new information on the relationship between two giants of early object relations: Rickman and Bion. First as Bion's analyst, and later as his mentor, colleague, and friend, Rickman inspired and facilitated the development of one of our treasured analytic geniuses. Although we only have Bion's letters, and so not the full correspondence, the portrait of a genuinely facilitating relationship develops, one that began before Bion knew where he was going and therefore drew heavily on Rickman's ideas and experience. As Bion matures, so Rickman gives him more room to differentiate, credits the originality of Bion's ideas, and becomes a friend and colleague rather than mentor. The resulting portrait is an object lesson in growth and maturation. The author of this discussion found a good deal of resonance with his relationships with his own early interests and formative development.
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Keywords: Bion; Northfield experiment; Rickman; development; group dynamics; mentor; officer selection; social psychology

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2011

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