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陈明 译 2017-9-09

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陈明 译


Wilfred R. Bion’s concept of Container-Contained was meant to analogize the situation of the analytic couple in terms of the mother-infant nursing situation. It designates the mother not only as the donor of soothing and fulfilling milk, but also it is a receptive organ which receives the infant’s emotional pain and is able to sooth that pain for the infant and restore it to life-size management. In Bion’s terms, most generally, it represents the transformation of pain from O (in its meaning of nameless dread) to K (knowledge), as in “now I can think about the unthinkable!”


From the evolution of theory point of view, the concept presents an extension of the theory of Projective Identification (see the separate entry PROJECTIVE IDENTIFICATION), from being a theory of primitive fantasy and defense into a theory of an archaic form of communication necessary for the development of thinking.


As a relational model of mental functioning, the Containment process extends a linear reciprocal interplay between the pair of Container-Contained, with the following steps: a mental state (‘content’) is communicated from a sender to a receiver; the receiver potentially ‘contains’ and transforms it through psychic work; the transformed content, together with the ‘function of containing’ itself may be then re-introjected by the sender.


While the developmental prototype of this model is the mother-infant relationship, the concept is also applicable as a special kind of unconscious communication that takes place in both dyadic relationships and in groups as well as in the psychoanalytic process. It is also applied for understanding the intrapsychic process where the individual tries to contain, convert/transform and convey his/her emotions in words.


In a clinical situation, the process of Containment has a special significance for understanding psychoanalytic processes and the development of thinking/symbolizing. Technically, it means more than silently bearing the infant/patient’s screams, or other displays of pain. Containment involves identification, transformation and interpretation in dealing with the pain when possible.


The above multidimensional definition reflects, extrapolates from, and expands on the regional dictionaries and encyclopedias across the three continents (Lopez-Corvo, 2003; Skelton, 2006; Auchincloss and Samberg, 2012).

上述涵盖了诸多方面的定义反映、推断、扩展了三大洲地区的词典和百科全书。(Lopez-Corvo, 2003; Skelton, 2006; Auchincloss and Samberg, 2012).


The concept has its roots in the 1940’s England with the clinical research on schizophrenia (psychotic thought disorder), studied by Melanie Klein and her followers Herbert Rosenfeld, Hanna Segal and Wilfred R. Bion. (The term may also link to WR Bion’s experience as a war time tank commander. Containment as a military term implies restricting and minimizing conflict on the battlefield without necessarily eradicating it, thus making it more manageable.)


Klein’s “Notes on Schizoid Mechanisms” (1946) elucidated her view on the pathological fixation point of schizophrenia in the primitive early phase of infant life, from birth to 3 months, what she called the “paranoid-schizoid” position. In this position part object relations, persecutory and annihilation anxiety, and primitive defense mechanisms such as splitting, projective identification, denial and omnipotence are active. Rosenfeld (1959, 1969) particularly deepened the understanding of projective identification in his clinical studies (1950-1970). He revealed the process in the patient’s infantile, primitive world: patients project the inner objects, part objects and conflictual parts of self into the object – the mother’s breast and body/the therapist – to handle them through the object, subsequently making them part of the self by introjecting them back, and identifying with them. This projection and re-introjection process became a fundamental part of Bion’s research on container-contained.

克莱茵在《对分裂机制的若干评论》(1946)中阐明了她关于精神分裂症患者从出生到3个月的婴儿早期之病理性固着的观点,她称之为”偏执-分裂“位。在这个位置的部分客体关系中,活跃着迫害和毁灭焦虑,以及诸如分裂、投射性认同、否认和理想化这些原始的防御机制。Rosenfeld (1959, 1969) 在他的临床研究(1950-1970)中详细深入地解释(understanding)了投射性认同。他在病人婴儿期的原始世界中揭示了这一过程:病人将内部客体,部分客体以及具有冲突的自我投射入了——母亲的乳房和身体/治疗师——通过客体控制他们,随后,通过将他们内摄回来,让他们成为自我的一部分,并且认同他们。这种投射和内摄过程成为了拜昂关于涵容者-被涵容者研究的一个基础部分。

The first incipient references to the Container-Contained theory appeared in Bion’s 1950’s writings, particularly in The Development of Schizophrenic Thought (1956, in: Bion, 1984); Differentiation between psychotic and non-psychotic personality (1957, in: Bion, 1984); On Hallucinosis (1958, in: Bion, 1984), and Attacks on Linking (1959). Making a reference to the baby’s relationship to the breast, within Melanie Klein’s theory on projective identification (Klein, 1946), he highlights the importance of the adaptation between the mother/her breast and the baby, in confronting the disintegration and death anxiety that the newborn experiences. The satisfactory presence of the container breast is the key when it comes to facing emotions and modifying them, allowing for emotional learning. Thus, Bion’s formulations of the projective identification concept as a primitive defense of the ego evolve into a description of a normative developmental realistic projective identification, implicit in the container – contained model.

涵容者-被涵容者理论最初是在拜昂1950年的论文中出现的,尤其是在《关于精神分裂症患者思想的发展》(1956, in: Bion, 1984);《区分精神病性和非精神病性人格》(1957, in: Bion, 1984);在《幻觉》 (1958, in: Bion, 1984),《对联结的攻击》之中。借鉴于婴儿与乳房的关系,在梅兰妮·克莱茵关于投射性认同理论中(Klein, 1946),他强调了新生儿面对体验到的失整合和死亡焦虑时,母亲/她的乳房和婴儿之间的适应性改变的重要性。着令满意的容器乳房之存在是面对情绪和改变情绪、以及允许情绪学习的关键。因此,比昂的投射性认同的概念,作为一种原始的防御机制逐渐发展成为一个规范成熟的、栩栩如生的投射性认同之描述,隐含在涵容者-被涵容者的模型之中。


In his 1959 paper “Attacks on Linking” (Bion, 1959), Bion described his experience with a psychotic patient who relied on projective identification to evacuate parts of his personality into the analyst, where, from the patient’s perspective, if they were allowed to repose long enough, they would undergo modification by the analyst’s psyche and then could safely be re-introjected. Bion describes how when the patient was left feeling that the analyst had evacuated the patient’s projections too quickly, that is that the feelings were not modified, the patient responded by attempting to (re)project them into the analyst with increased desperation and violence. Bion links this clinical process to the patient’s experience with his mother who could not tolerate taking in the infant’s projections and who did not contain the infant’s projected fears. Bion suggests that “an understanding mother is able to experience the feeling of dread that this baby was striving to deal with by projective identification and yet retain a balanced outlook” (Bion, 1959, p. 103-104).

拜昂在1959年的《对联接的攻击》中描述了他与一个精神病患者的体验,这个患者借助于投射性认同,将他的部分人格排除进入了分析师之内。在那里,病人的看法是,如果允许他们(在分析师那里)长时间的休息,他们能承受得起分析师心灵对其的改良,并且随后可以被安全的内摄。拜昂描述了当分析师过快的排除了病人的投射物之时,病人不舒服的情绪感受是怎样的,这种情绪感受是未被改良的,病人试图以增强了绝望和暴力将他们(再次)投射进入分析师来回应。拜昂将这一过程相关于病人和病人妈妈的体验,这个妈妈无法接纳(taking in)婴儿投射物,而且没有遏制(contain)婴儿投射的恐惧。拜昂认为“一个通情达理的妈妈有能力体验这种婴儿正在用投射性认同努力对付的恐惧情绪感受,并且还保有了平衡的前景”。

In 1962, in his publication “Learning from Experience” and in a paper “A Theory of Thinking”, Bion (1962 a,b) develops these ideas further, describing the mother’s receptive state of mind when she can take in and contain the infant’s projected terror as reverie. By adding the idea of maternal reverie to the idea of projective identification, Bion includes how the environment, through primary relations, affects intrapsychic developments. Reverie refers to a receptive mental state where the mother unconsciously identifies and responds to what is projected by the child. Through maternal reverie the mother creates a new understanding of what the child tries to communicate. The mother transforms what Bion calls the beta elements into alpha elements, which can then be communicated back to the child. This becomes the first definition of the model Container-Contained. Specifically, the process involves the following steps: First, the mother, in a state of reverie receives and takes in those unbearable aspects of self, objects, affects and unprocessed sensory experiences (beta elements) of her infant that have been projected into her in phantasy. Second, she must bear the full effects of these projections upon her mind and body as long as need be in order to think about and to understand them, a process Bion refers to as transformation. Next, having thus transformed her baby’s experience in her own mind, she must gradually return them to the infant in detoxified and digestible form and (at such time as these may be of use to him) as demonstrated in her attitude and the way in which she handles him. In analysis, Bion refers to this last segment of the process as publication, what we commonly refer to as interpretation. The ability to ‘contain’ assumes a mother who has boundaries and sufficient internal space to accommodate her own anxieties as well as those acquired in relation to her infant; a mother who has a well-developed capacity to bear pain, to contemplate, to think and to convey what she thinks in a way that is meaningful to her infant. A mother who is herself separate, intact, receptive, capable of reverie and appropriately giving is thus suitable for introjection as a ‘containing’ object and little by little, over time, the infant’s identification with and assimilation of such an object leads to increasing mental space, the development of a capacity to make meaning, and the on-going evolution of a mind that can think for itself. This is what Bion came to call alpha function.


In his 1963 “Elements of Psychoanalysis”, Bion considers the dynamic relationship between the Container and Contained, marked by abstract signs of ♂ and ♀, to be the first element of psychoanalysis.The ♂ (Contained) here has a penetrating quality and the ♀ (Container) a receptive/receiving quality.In this context, ♀and ♂ are not restricted to the specific sexual meaning, but are without any specific sexual connotation.They represent variables or unknowns: the ♀ and ♂ functions present in all relationships, independently of gender.The ♂ (Contained) penetrates the ♀ (Container), who receives it and interacts with it, leading to a creation of a new product.The use of the ♂-♀ symbols highlights the biological nature of the mind, and also includes Freud’s and Klein’s concepts on sexuality and oedipal configuration.In his later writings, Bion emphasizes the reciprocity between the two parts, and the potential towards growth and interchange between them.The paradox of the dynamic relationship of Container-Contained lies in its reciprocal mutuality: Something that contains and something that is contained also perform the functions of mutually containing and being contained.Developmentally, this means that the breast as a container for the baby's anxieties can also be the reverse: the baby as a container for some aspects of mother′s personality.


Later, in the clinical context, this reciprocity is highlighted: “The clue lies in the observation of the fluctuations which make the analyst at one moment ♀ and the analysand ♂, and at the next reverse the roles…” (Bion, 1970, p.108).

拜昂后来强调了临床背景中的这种互惠关系:“线索位于一瞬间分析师的♀角色和分析者的♂角色的变幻,并在下一秒角色发生了反转…”(Bion, 1970, p.108)。

Throughout, Bion stresses that “to Contain” implies an activity and a process that allows for the formation of thought and its transformation into words; this is in opposition to the trivialized, constricted use of containing and receiving as merely passive receptivity. The full exposition of complexity and many facets and processes of transformation are at the center of his 1965 publication “Transformations: Change from learning to growth.” Here, Bion introduces a meta-theoretical concept of ‘O’, as the beginning but also potentially the end point of multidirectional transformative processes. It encompasses the unthinkable ‘nameless dread’, ‘beta elements’, ‘things in themselves’; but also the ‘Ultimate Reality’, ‘reverence’ and ‘awe’ (Bion, 1965; Grotstein, 2011a, p. 506).

拜昂自始至终强调,“涵容”意味着允许思想形成并转化为话语的一种活动和过程;这是作为被动感受性地、轻视地、收缩地接受利用涵容和接纳的对立面。充分阐述的复杂性以及转化的诸多方面与过程,是他在1965出版的《转化:从学习到成长的变化》之中的中心思想。在这本书里,拜昂介绍了“O”的元理论概念,以此作为开始,O也可能是多方面转化过程的终点。O包括无法思考的“无名的恐惧”,“β元素”,“物自身”;也包括了“终极现实”、“尊重”和“敬畏”(Bion, 1965; Grotstein, 2011a, p. 506)。

As the Container-Contained is a part of Bion’s deductive scientific system, the theory of thought and thinking (Bion, 1962a, 1962b, 1963, 1965, 1970), it is important to place it in this context. According to this broad theory, “thoughts” and “thinking apparatus” have distinct origins, with “thoughts” existing independently of its thinking apparatus: “thoughts” are not generated by the thinking apparatus. In both, the Container-Contained relationship is seminal. Accordingly, Container-Contained relationship could be viewed as the embryo of mental life.

由于涵容者-被涵容者是拜昂的演绎科学体系、思想和思考理论的一部分 (Bion, 1962a, 1962b, 1963, 1965, 1970),因此,重要的是要将其置入情景之中。根据这个概念的广义理论,“思想(thoughts)”和“思考装置”有着不同的起源,“思想”独立于它的思维装置而存在。“思想”不是由思维装置产生的。在这两者之中,涵容者-被涵容者的关系是种子(seminal)。因此,可以将涵容者-被涵容者的关系视为心智生活的胚胎(embryo)。

According to this theory, the genesis of a “thought” is a process in which the Container-Contained relationship is the initial step. The condition for the psychic content (emotion, sensorial perception) to achieve mental quality (representation, thought) is the existence of the container capable of containing it. The prototypical object of this function (“Container”, with ♀ sign) is the mother’s breast, an innate preconception waiting to be realized.


Sensorial and emotional stimuli (“contents”), conjugated with this adequate “container” transforms into a “Contained” (with ♂ sign), thus creating the “Container- Contained” relationship, an initial developmental moment of a thought by the thinker. This Container-Contained relationship (♀-♂) allows for the occurrence of an Emotional Experience, which will be characterized by the bond that qualifies it, L (love), H (hate), or K (knowledge, thought). Obtaining attention from Consciousness, this Emotional Experience can be transformed into alpha element, the monad of mental life, through the operation of the alpha function.

感官和情感刺激(“内容”),结合着这个胜任的“涵容者”(以 ♂符号)转化成“被涵容者”,从而创造了“涵容者-被涵容者”的关系,以及思想者思想的原初演化时刻。这个涵容者-被涵容者关系(♀-♂) 允许产生L(爱)、H(恨)和K(知识、思想)的结合为特点的情绪体验。为了从意识中获得关注,这种情感体验可以通过阿尔法功能的运作,转化为α元素,心智生活和单孢体。

The appearance of “thoughts” forces the creation of an apparatus to deal with them. Two foundational mechanisms conjugate for such, namely the Container-Contained (♀ ♂) and the dynamic relationship between the paranoid-schizoid and depressive position ((PS ↔ D)).

“思想”的出现迫使建立一个装置来处理它们。这两种机制的配合是这样的,即涵容者-被涵容者(♀-♂) 以及偏执分裂和抑郁位之间的动力关系 (PS ↔ D)。


旧一篇:IPA区域间精神分析百科辞典:Enactment 扮演

标签: Bion BION bion 被涵容者 涵容 涵容者 容器

  • 拜昂的容纳功能理论及其对精神病的理解
  • 对联结的攻击
  • 《思想等待思想者》導讀