‘…any Psychoanalyst must find his own way and come upon well-known and well-established theories through experiences of his own realisations.’ So says W. R. Bion in his Commentary in Second Thoughts. In First Thoughts, Jayne Hankinson does just this. She presents a personal account of her own ‘realisations’ and discoveries during an attempt to give thought to ‘beginnings’. She explores the meaning and relevance of creation myths, leading to a deep realisation of how they unconsciously represent and shape much of our lives, even today. This exploration meanders through the Garden of Eden, leaving with a realisation that there is an ‘Adam’ and ‘Eve’ aspect in dynamic tension within each of our minds.
This serpentine journey becomes a ‘hermeneutic loop’ in which dissatisfaction with parts of psychoanalytic theory leads to an engagement in the phenomena of beginnings and a consequent reappraisal and reinterpretation, via a closer look at Sigmund Freud, Melanie Klein, Donald Winnicott, and Wilfred Bion to formulate an understanding of what their ‘first thoughts’ may be. The book ends with the author’s own creation myth reshaped and a deeper awareness of how important ‘beginnings’ are.