Wilfred Bion always emphasised that he had no desire to implant his thoughts in others but hoped instead to inspire their own process of self-knowledge or ‘becoming’, which can only take place in the conviction that the mind ‘exists’ and is not merely a figure of speech. He spoke of ‘intercessors’ and cited one of his own teachers, Socrates, on the need to distinguish phantoms from real thoughts, intelligence from wisdom.
Like psychoanalysis itself, teaching is a form of learning from experience, conducted in the context of a joint search with students or colleagues, or indeed patients. A good teacher is essentially a student, and ‘What are you when you cease to be a student of psychoanalysis?” as Bion said. Teaching the work of one’s teachers can be an especially fruitful means of internalising them, and an invitation to others.
The contributions in this book are international and varied in their approach, and have been worked out over time, so offer an opportunity for current and future teachers to experiment and analyse their own methods. Style, cultural context, personal bias and interests are all important in making the teaching situation a live and authentic one from which the participants, and likewise the reader, can select what speaks to them.