While the use of the analyst’s own reveries in work with patients has increased in recent times, there has been little critical inquiry into its value, and the problems it may lead to. A new book by our member Fred Busch The Analyst’s Reveries: Explorations in Bion’s Enigmatic Concept (Routledge, 2019) finds increasing veneration for the analyst’s use of their reveries, while revealing important differences amongst post-Bionians in how reverie is defined and used clinically. Fred Busch ponders if it has been fully recognized that some post-Bionions suggest a new, radical paradigm for what is curative in psychoanalysis.
After searching for the roots of the analyst’s use of reverie in Bion’s work and questioning whether in this regard Bion was a Bionian, Busch carefully examines the work of some post-Bionians and finds both convincing ways to think about the usefulness and limitations of the analyst’s use of reverie. He explores questions including:
- From what part of the mind does a reverie emerge?
- How does its provenance inform its transformative possibilities?
- Do we over-generalize in conceptualizing what is unrepresented, with the corresponding problem of false positives?
- Do dreams equal understanding and what about the generalizability of the co-created reverie?
Busch concludes that it is primarily through the analyst’s own associations that the reverie’s potential is revealed, which further helps the analyst distinguish it from many other possibilities, including the analyst’s countertransference. He believes in the importance of converting reveries into verbal interpretations, a controversial point amongst post-Bionians. Busch ends with the difficult task of classifying the analyst’s reveries based on their degree of representation.
About the Author: Fred Busch, PhD, is a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, USA. He is the author of Creating a Psychoanalytic Mind (Routledge, 2013).