Jenna Labbe-Watson, Psy.D., is a 2020 graduate of the Psy.D. Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee:

  • Theodore Ellenhorn, PhD, Committee Chair
  • Vincent Pignatiello, PsyD, Committee Member
  • E. Porter Eagan, PsyD, Committee Member


Ayurveda, Bion, intersubjective projective identification, Absolute Truth, O, doshas, mental gunas, container-contained, waking dreaming, alpha-function

Document Type


Publication Date



This theoretical paper integrates Ayurvedic and Bionian psychoanalytic theories of thinking into a new, integrative understanding of how individuals learn from experience. The relationship between knowledge, emotional experience, and the truth instinct is explored. Ayurvedic and Bionian theories describe the complexity involved in transforming raw sensory and emotional experiences into thoughts that nourish our intelligence and permit us to continually dream ourselves into being. Ayurvedic theories of intrapsychic processes and the anatomy and physiology of the mind will be explicated alongside Bionian concepts of intersubjective projective identification. For the promotion and maintenance of psychological growth, Bionian psychoanalytic thinkers describe the prerequisites of possessing a set of mental functions that transform raw sense impressions into usable elements for thinking and a functional mental apparatus that can make meaning from them. In addition, Bionians assert that the presence of a caring other in infancy and beyond aids in the metabolism of our most difficult experiences. Ayurveda describes the prerequisite of sufficient mental digestive capacity, which is supported or remediated by physical, social, psychological, and spiritual factors. These adjunctive therapeutic interventions are useful to therapists working with patients who fail to heal despite immersive psychotherapy. Both traditions hold the paradoxical view that one’s ability to tolerate not-knowing is also essential to psychological growth. In this paper, a dialogic approach between these two schools of thought results in an integrative theory of intrapsychic and intersubjective processes for coherent thinking and illuminates the conditions that support the evolution of self/personality.


Jenna Labbe-Watson

ORCID Scholar ID# 0000-0001-6444-9083