Explorations of Bion’s O: Mysteries and Misconceptions of the Transcendent Mind
Presenter: Annie Reiner, Ph.D. Psy.D., LCSW
Wilfred Bion’s concept of O is his most mysterious idea, representing absolute truth and the mind necessary to apprehend it. Not surprisingly, it is also his most controversial idea, for it reflects infinite, unknowable, ultimate reality – all ideas that, like O, cannot be defined in logical terms. However, Bion views this esoteric O as central to clinical work, calling it “the central psychoanalytic perspective”. In a way O is a more transcendent version of the Unconscious, and Dr. Reiner will examine similarities and differences from Freud’s view of the Unconscious as a receptacle for repressed and unwanted feelings and thoughts.
Bion associates O with mysticism, and skepticism about O is often based on the idea of mysticism as traditionally religious and so antithetical to science. It is therefore important to examine Bion’s particular use of the word, “mystical”, for as he states quite clearly, “Mystics appear in any religion, science, time, or place”. The mystic, for Bion, is a “genius” or “exceptional person” in any field, who is capable of creative vision and new ideas.
Dr. Reiner will present and discuss several papers from her book, Bion and Being: Passion and the Creative Mind, using poetry, art, literature, and religion to help provide different perspectives on what Bion means by O. She will also present a clinical chapter from her book, Of Things Invisible To Mortal Sight: Celebrating the Work of James S. Grotstein (Karnac, 2016), that reveals how early emotional trauma sometimes leads to profoundly intuitive states in patients. and how to deal with these clinically. While these early traumatic states may give access to creative intuitive states reflective of O, we will look at how these differ from the evolved states of mind described by Bion.
O: Bion’s Truth Instinct
Sept 11, 2021
This session addresses:
- Introduction to O, drawing on experiences of philosophers, poets, and artists like Matisse who said, “In art, the truth, the real, begins when one no longer understands anything…”
- Bion’s idea that O must be reached by “suspending memory, desire, and understanding”.
The Spiritual Aspect of Being
October 9, 2021
This session addresses:
- God as a reified object versus God as metaphysical experience (O).
- Freud’s idea of religion as neurosis
- Religious traditions through the lens of science.
- The infant as mystic.
Bion’s introduction of a spiritual perspective to psychoanalysis was not to bring religion to psychoanalysis, but to clarify the ways in which psychoanalysis, as a science of the mind, is a science of spiritual proportions.
Ferenczi’s ‘astra’ and Bion’s ‘O’: A Clinical Perspective
November 13, 2021
This session addresses:
- Ferenczi’s idea of how early trauma can lead a child to a kind of wisdom and psychic intuition.
- The clinical need to differentiate a patient’s dissociative states from his or her creative, intuitive gifts.
- Working with patients’ intuitions about the analyst.
|3 Saturdays, 9:30am – 11am||Sept. 11, Oct. 9, and Nov. 13, 2021|
Online via Zoom
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|Member||$125/month for 2 months|
|Non-Member||$162.50/month for 2 months|
1.5 for each attended class, 4.5 total
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Annie Reiner is a senior faculty member and training analyst at The Psychoanalytic Center of California (PCC) in Los Angeles. Her work was greatly influenced by Wilfred Bion, with whom she studied in the 1970’s. She is widely published in journals and the author of two books – The Quest for Conscience & The Birth of the Mind (Karnac 2009), and Bion and Being: Passion and the Creative Mind (Karnac 2012), and Editor of Of Things Invisible To Mortal Sight: Celebrating the Work of James S. Grotstein (Karnac, 2016), a collection of articles by esteemed Bion scholars throughout the world.
Dr. Reiner writes and lectures extensively throughout the world. About her book, Bion and Being, James Grotstein (2012) wrote, “This…incredibly convincing work…places [Reiner] high among Bion scholars.” About The Quest for Conscience, Judith Mitrani (2009) wrote, “Reiner’s is a unique and poetic voice that both echoes and extends those who ventured ahead of her.”
In addition to being a psychoanalyst, Dr. Reiner is a poet, playwright and painter, the author of a book of short stories, four books of poems, and six children’s books which she also illustrated. She maintains a psychoanalytic practice in Beverly Hills, California.
Webinar CEU Test and Evaluation
As as a part of Washington State requirements, each student who is wanting to claim class credits toward their license CEUs is required to complete a quiz, with a passing grade of 70%. You can take the quiz as many times as needed. Once the class is completed the final quiz will also have a course evaluation, which is also required, but can be completed anonymously.
|First Session||Take Quiz|
|Second Session||Take Quiz|
|Third Session||Evaluation and Quiz|
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