"The Bi-personal Field" is the first book of Antonino Ferro available to the English-speaking psychoanalytic community. He is nevertheless already well known not only to the Italian public of psychoanalysts, but also to the international one thanks to his articles published in various years on the International Journal of Psychoanalysis. Formally, this book appears as a handbook on the technique of child psychoanalysis. In fact what makes it a particularly valuable text is rather that it soon becomes a book on how the mind of the analyst operates at work. Ferro's theory is located at a very interesting and original crossroad between the ideas of Bion and those of Willy and Madeleine Baranger. He holds the concept of bi-personal field - that is to say the clinical situation in the here and now of the session as it gets shaped by both participants to it, patient and psychoanalyst - as central for his theory. Ferro tends to move his interest away from external reality or considerations solely related to inner relations of the patient. This in order to follow the "fil rouge" of understanding what is going on in the bi-personal field. The development of the patient's tale is regarded as continuosly depicting the state of the art of the relationship between himself and his analyst. As Ferro puts it the characters of the tales become in this way an expression of the "quality which comes alive in the consulting room, probably generated by the patient and myself and which is my job to transform". A series of consequences derives: Ferro dislikes saturated interpretations, explicative, revealing or decoding ones, particularly those which emphasize the cleverness of the analyst and imply a blame on the patient. On the contrary -interestingly enough- he seems to prefer a style where discoveries are written together, in a duet. Ferro provides abundant clinical material which proves very useful to show his way of working. I find this richness of material is rather unusual in many contemporary psychoanalytic texts. Not only. Ferro - in addition to his theoretical positions - shows an amazing ability to creatively deal with his patients' material. His fresh clinical imagination conveys new thoughts to both the patient and to himself. And to the reader of his book as well.
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