Here and Now
Conversations with innovators in psychotherapy
Conducted by Aner Govrin & Sharon Ziv-Beiman
Cooking Psychotherapy with Antonino Ferro
We invite you to join the first Zoom event in our series Here and Now – Conversations with innovators in psychotherapy. Italian psychoanalyst Antonino Ferro will discuss with Aner Govrin and Sharon Ziv-Beiman his psychotherapeutic technique, the influence of Bion and Field theory on his clinical thought, and his opinions on contemporary psychoanalysis. Don't miss this outstanding event!
For the past 30 years, Ferro shares with his readers his psychoanalytic insights. These are based on a unique vision that combines two psychoanalytic traditions: the intersubjective-relational approach and the Bion-Klein tradition. This is not a simple task given the fact that both traditions are often presented as excluding each other. The effect of Bion on Ferro is apparent. According to Ferro, the role of the analyst is to transform elements of Beta into Alpha particles through pictograms, narratives, signs, and dream-thoughts. His intersubjective approach originates not from North America's relational tradition but the field theory of Madeleine and Willie Baranger. Influenced by Gestalt theory, the couple developed the theory of the analytical situation as B-field consisting of a whole that is more than the sum of the individual psychologies of the analyst and the patient. Ferro faithfully maintains the Kleinian's view according to which any communication between the analyst and the patient, even if it is based on reality, is linked to the inter-personal field that is created between them. It is the only knowledge that is available to the analyst to understand and interpret. But in his way of interpreting, Ferro differs from Klein. He believes that saturated-theory interpretation can have a traumatic effect on the patient because the patient cannot make use of it and remains estranged.
Ferro is not a methodical and ordered writer. He uses stories, paintings, glasses, pencils, toys to clarify his ideas. He often speaks in figurative and metaphorical language. He especially loves food-related metaphors, usually Italian sauces, to explain the purpose of psychoanalytic therapy.. The patient comes to treatment with many raw materials and a small pan. The role of the analyst is to create a larger pan so that it can contain the raw materials,) elements of Beta) and to cook them for meaningful thoughts (elements of Alpha).
Excerpts from an interview with Ferro:
"We are not rigid as in the past. The work is more elastic and creative. We are like artisans, like Renaissance workers. We are artists during the session; outside we are scientists. There is more creativity and more flexibility in contemporary work".
"My reading is more of a post-Bion, not a strict Kleinian, model. In the way we work with Bion, there is more sun, more affect, more reveries, more affective emotions, like the isles of Capri or Sicily, more flavor".
Ferro, A. and Donna, L. (2005). Conversations with Clinicians. Fort Da, 11(1):92-98
Seeds of illness, Seeds of Recovery The New Library of Psychoanalysis Avoiding Emotions,
Living Emotions – The New Library of Psychoanalysis
The New Analyst's Guide to the Galaxy: Questions about Contemporary Psychoanalysis Contemporary Bionian Theory and Technique in Psychoanalysis