The 6th Annual James Grotstein Memorial Lecture Series Part II: Revisiting Bion's Classic Papers from his London and Los Angeles Periods

March 20, 2021, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

 This meeting will take place online via Zoom. Once you register, you will receive an email with the link and more information.

*** Registration will close at 4:00 PM the day before the event. No registrations are possible after this time.

All times listed are in Pacific Standard Time (PST)

The New Center for Psychoanalysis and the Regional Bion Symposium proudly present: 

 The 6th Annual James Grotstein Memorial Lecture Series

As part of its Annual James Grotstein Memorial Lectures, this series honors Grotstein’s work and the work of generations of other analysts who have followed up Bion’s leads in clinical psychoanalysis.  After examining some of these ‘post-Bionian’ developments last year through presentations on intersubjectivity and Italian Field Theory, we return to Wilfred Bion’s two analytic homelands in London and Los Angeles, having another look at some of his foundational papers during and after the time was a member of the Melanie Klein group in London.  


Revisiting Bion's Work from his London and Los Angeles Periods

Part 2: W. R. Bion, ‘On Arrogance’ (1958), and ‘Clinical Seminars in Brasilia’ (1975) with Sira Dermen and Nicola Abel-Hirsch

There is one overarching question Bion addressed in both his papers and clinical presentations, such as:  'On Arrogance,’ and work from his late Los Angeles period, the clinical seminars given by Bion in Brazil in the 1970s.  Can Bion's psychoanalytic technique in dealing with both psychotic and other difficult-to-treat patients be explained and made explicit?  Our two presenters are Training and Supervising Analysts of the British Psychoanalytical Society in London.  Each, in turn, will examine the paper and clinical seminars, attempting to distill what his method of clinical inquiry was in the consulting room.  During this time, Bion both actively participated in delineating what was emerging in the 1950s and 1960s as a "Kleinian point of view" in understanding and treating psychotic states of mind, all before emigrating to Los Angeles in 1968, where he lived and practiced for the next decade. 

In the first presentation on March 20th 2021 (9 a.m.-9:50 a.m., Pacific Standard Time) Sira Dermen examines Bion's (1958) paper, 'On Arrogance’.  She argues that in this paper Bion’s Method of Clinical Enquiry bears fruit not only in a new understanding of his patient, but in a new clinical generalization, and finally in his groundbreaking theoretical speculation that projective identification is a “primitive mode of communication that provides a foundation on which, ultimately, verbal communication depends”. She emphasizes that this thesis is by now so familiar that we might not recognize it as Bion’s clinical discovery.

There will be ample opportunity for a Q and A following the presentation (9:50 a.m. to 10:25 a.m.).

Coffee break (10:25 a.m. to 10:35 a.m.)

In the second half of the presentation (10:40 a.m. to 11:25 a.m.), Nicola Abel-Hirsch examines Bion's clinical seminars given in Brasilia in 1975.  Covering a broad sweep of clinical seminars and supervisions given during that time, Abel-Hirsch abstracts what appear to her to be Bion’s enduring methods of inquiry in the analytic situation.  What are the patterns of inquiry that emerge across a range of cases?  She takes note of Bion’s general tendency to ask open-ended questions, meant either to provoke thought in the presenter and/or the audience, so that the patient’s underlying state of mind might be made more explicit.  She also takes up the nature of the psychoanalytic formulations that attempted to articulate the patient’s relationship to both his internal and external object relational world.

From 11:25 a.m. to 12 Noon, there will be a brief interaction between Dermen and Abel-Hirsch moderated by Joseph Aguayo, which precedes a general discussion with online colleagues about various points involved in both presentations.

The program moderators are: Joseph Aguayo, PhD, and Agnes Regeczkey, PhD 

When you register for this event, you will receive copies of the Bion papers that will be discussed in your Notification of Registration email. 

This event will be recorded and shared with participants who have registered for the event. The video may also be used for educational purposes. If you do not wish to be recorded, please turn your camera off. By registering for this event, you grant permission to THE NEW CENTER FOR PSYCHOANALYSIS to the rights of your images, in video or still, and of the likeness and sound of your voice as recorded on audio or video. 

Learning Objectives:

As a result of attending this session, participants should be able to:

  • Explain what projective identification as a mode of communications is.
  • Explain how curiosity, arrogance, and stupidity are clinically interrelated with difficult to treat patients.
  • Describe how Bion deployed questions in his psychoanalytic formulations in his supervision work with colleagues.


images/Sira_Derman.pngSira Dermen is a Training and Supervising Analyst of the British Psychoanalytical Society.  She originally trained as a child psychotherapist at the Tavistock Clinic.  She is an Honorary Senior Consultant at the Portman Clinic, London, a public-sector outpatient clinic specializing in the psychoanalytic treatment of patients suffering from perversion and violence, where she worked for 20 years.  She has lectured and published on violence and perversion.  ‘Endings and Beginnings’ was published in 2010, in Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 79:  665-685.  She is co-editor, along with Paul Williams and John Keane of Independent Psychoanalysis Today, (Karnac, 2012).  She is in full-time private practice in London. 



images/Nicola_Abel-Hirsch.pngNicola Abel-Hirsch is a Training and Supervising Analyst of the British Psychoanalytical Society and works in private practice in London. She has given clinical and theoretical papers and seminars on Bion in the UK; Taiwan (annually 2005-2012); the USA, and Europe. From 2013–2015 she was the visiting professor at the Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex. Her publications include Eros (2001); ’The Life Instinct’  Int. J. Psycho-Anal., (2010); ‘A Note and a Short Story’ in The Bion Tradition (2015); ‘Bion, Alpha-Function and the Unconscious Mind.’  Brit. J. Psychother. (2016),‘The Devil is in the Detail’ in The Melanie Klein Tradition (2017), and ‘How Bion’s work on thinking throws light on the development of sexuality,’ Psychoanalytic Inquiry (2018). She is the editor of Hanna Segal’s last book Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (2007). Nicola's book, Bion: 365 Quotes is in publication with Routledge appeared in 2019.



Photo of Joseph AguayoJoseph Aguayo, PhD, is a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Psychoanalytic Center of California, a Member of the New Center for Psychoanalysis, and in private practice in West Los Angeles. He is also a Guest Member of the British Psychoanalytical Society in London. Forthcoming publications: Introducing the Clinical Work of W.R. Bion. This book is based on a series of 16 video lectures given to Chinese students of psychoanalysis in Shanghai—and the main focus on the book is a close examination of how Bion went about his work both in the consulting room—and how he theorized his findings in a revision of the Kleinian and Freudian traditions. Recent presentations include participation on two Bion panels at the July, 2019 International Psychoanalytic Congress in London. In February, 2020, he presented a paper on ‘Bion’s approach to group dynamics’ as part of the Oral History Workshop at the Winter Meetings of the American Psychoanalytic Association in New York City.      

images/Agnes_Regeczkey.jpgAgnes Regeczkey, LMFT, PhD, is in private practice in Palos Verdes, California. She continues her research and training as a Clinical Associate for Child and Adolescent Psychoanalysis at the New Center for Psychoanalysis, Los Angeles. She teaches research and dissertation development and is a research coordinator at Reiss-Davis Graduate Center, Los Angeles. Current academic research includes how psychoanalysis may be used as preventative and therapeutic treatment modality for young children and their families. Publications: with Joseph Aguayo, she published, “Small Group Collaborators and Adversaries in the London Kleinian Development,” Psychoanalytic Quarterly, July 2016. She is a co-editor with Joseph Aguayo and Lia Pistiner de Cortinas of Bion in Buenos Aires: Seminars, Case Presentation and Supervision, (Karnac, 2017). Presented at both the IPA 50th Congress in Buenos Aires, July 2015 and the IPA 51st Congress in London, (The Feminine, July 21, 2019) she presented an individual paper, “Rethinking the Ladies’ Agreement in Light of a Child Session Evaluation.


Program Coordinators:  Joseph Aguayo, Ph.D. and Agnes Regeczkey, Ph.D.


Target audience: Experienced mental health professionals

3 CE/CME Credits

General Registration: $110 for members, $75 for candidates and students


Part I of this series on February 6th from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. (PST).  It features Joseph Aguayo and Robert Hinshelwood.

Click here to register for Part I 


 "How do I get my CE/CME Credit?"

  1. Pre-Register below
    • If you are registering for the first time you will receive a welcome email. You must follow the directions in this email to complete your registration in order to access your certificates. 
  2. You will receive an email with an evaluation 2 days after the event
  3. Complete the evaluation
  4. Wait 2 business days
  5. Download your Certificate on the NCP website



IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION FOR ALL LEARNERS: None of the planners and presenters of this CME/CE program have any relevant financial relationships to disclose. 

PHYSICIANS: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the American Psychoanalytic Association and the New Center for Psychoanalysis. The American Psychoanalytic Association is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. 

The American Psychoanalytic Association designates this Live Activity for the maximum of 3 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.  

PSYCHOLOGISTS: The New Center for Psychoanalysis is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. New Center for Psychoanalysis maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Full attendance is required for psychologists to receive credit; partial credit may not be awarded based on APA guidelines. For the psychologists’ records, certificates of attendance are provided at the completion of the course.  

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