A Theory of Thinking: A Theory of Desiring

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This article focuses on aspects of what is broadly known as countertransference in centering on the psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion’s explicit theory of thinking as constituting an implicit theory of desiring. I make a distinction between the discursive terms “thoughts,” “thinking,” “desires,” “desiring,” “wants,” and “craving” and tease out their relationship to one another for clinical practice. I explore how thinking and desiring operate in and around frustration and suggest that the thinking apparatus is not just a mechanism for dealing with thoughts but also is a way of transforming wants into desires. I separate out desires and the desiring apparatus, as Bion does with thoughts and thinking, and argue that thinking is inextricably linked to desiring and thoughts to desires. The interpretative act, moreover, constitutes the analyst’s acting on desire, whereas acts of projective identification are bound up with craving. I demonstrate the potential uses of this theory by discussing it with reference to two published clinical examples.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-164
JournalStudies in Gender and Sexuality
Issue number3
Early online date25 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished online - 25 Aug 2016


  • Psychoanalysis
  • Psychosocial Studies
  • Wilfred Bion
  • thinking
  • desiring
  • clinical practice


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