Chris Mawson

Chris Mawson

Chris Mawson is a Training and Supervising Analyst of the British Psychoanalytical Society. He trained in psychoanalytic psychotherapy with children and adolescents at the Tavistock Clinic, and in psychoanalysis at the British Psychoanalytical Society and Institute of Psychoanalysis.

Training and career

Before training as a clinical psychologist Mawson worked for three years researching the attention and dreaming of patients whose manic depressive cycles were very short – 48 hours in fact, synchronised with their circadian rhythms. It was the work on their dreaming, and the detail of their anxiety, that led him to psychoanalysis, becoming a patient and later undertaking analytic training and analytic work with children.

He worked for nine years in St Marys Hospital Department of Child Psychiatry, Paddington Green, in the days (long since passed) when children at that clinic were offered intensive psychoanalytic treatment within the care of the NHS. He now works as a psychoanalyst in private practice and teaches extensively in England and overseas.

An authority on Bion

Mawson has a special interest in the work of Wilfred Bion and is the editor of The Complete Works of W. R. Bion (2014, Karnac, now published by Routledge). It is an impressive and full account of Bion’s work and has made Mawson an expert in the field. It is the first time that Bions work has been brought together in a systematic and complete way. It was a major enterprise that took Mawson 11 years of detailed commitment and devotion.

He has lectured on theoretical and methodological aspects of Bion in Taiwan, Berlin, Hamburg and Los Angeles.

Psychoanalysis and anxiety

Mawson’s latest book, Psychoanalysis and Anxiety: From Knowing to Being combines psychoanalytic, existential and dramaturgical perspectives on the study of anxiety.

The book explores the implications for psychoanalysis of including a consideration of the being of the patient, and of the analyst. The central principle throughout is that the psychoanalytic and the existential belong together since it is the irreducible fact of anxiety that unifies them. It is in relation to anxiety that we are helped by other human beings to bear what is, and what we are.

Other interests

Mawson has a longstanding interest in theatre and film, was an early member of the European Psychoanalytic Film Festival, serving on the organising committee for this popular event for two years running. He has explored his interest in theatre, and its relationship to psychoanalysis, in his recent book.

He was an early pioneer of the Institute of Psychoanalysis website, providing invaluable advice to colleagues and helping to realise its potential.

He brings an honest and forthright approach to thinking about his patients and those of his supervisees. He is unassuming and humorous, with a generous loyalty to his colleagues and friends.

Hannah Solemani, 2020

Key publications

1986 Mawson, C. ‘The use of play technique in understanding disturbed behaviour in school. Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 2(1): 53-61.

1994 Mawson, C. ‘Containing anxiety in work with damaged childrenin Anton Obholzer and Vega Zagier Roberts (eds.) The Unconscious at Work: Individual and Organisational Stress in the Human Services (1994, Routledge, new edition 2019).

2010 Mawson, C (ed). Bion Today. Routledge.

2014 Mawson, C (ed). The Complete Works of W. R. Bion. Karnac, now published by Routledge.

2017 Mawson, C. Review: Between Mind and Brain: Models of the Mind and Models in the Mind by Ronald Britton’. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 98(6):1826-1830.

2017 Mawson, C. Interpretation as Freuds specific action, and Bion’s containercontained’. International Journal of Psychoanalysis. 98(6):1519-1532.

2018 Mawson, C (ed). Three Papers of W. R. Bion. Routledge.

2019 Mawson, C. Psychoanalysis and Anxiety: From Knowing to Being. Routledge.