In psychoanalysis the container-contained notion, as introduced by Wilfred Bion, holds a neutral position, without judgement, that can be used as an approach to the analysis process. Reading texts through this position, from within the paradigm of motherhood, seems to be illuminating. It provides numerous ways of probing the question: ‘who is the container and who is the contained?’. How does the relationship between mother and child, mother and son, mother and daughter stand at any one discrete moment? What is the basis of the container at that moment? What is the emotion of the contained? The container can be actual, practical, or explicit. It can be metaphoric, emotional or implicit.
The complexity and variability of container-contained could, potentially, provide a framework to better understand and accommodate the complex and variable ‘emotional storm’ of minds (mother and child) that both ‘crave and resist’ each other.