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Second Special Issue: Sincerity and Freedom London Conference Inspired by Ferenczi's Clinical Diary


Galdi, G. (2015). Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the American Journal of Psychoanalysis. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(1), pp. 1–2.

With this issue we begin celebrating 75 years of continuous publication of this journal, founded by Karen Horney and her pioneering colleagues. We are proud of our history and we are launching a yearlong commemoration with the present issue, which honors Sándor Ferenczi (Szekacs-Weisz, 2015), who did not accept that in the new field of psychoanalysis anything was settled once and for all. Ferenczi constantly looked for new perspectives, new connections, examining them courageously and generously sharing his findings with others. His experimentations came in opposition to most of the psychoanalytic community’s attempt to codify and restrict analytic theory and technique. Ferenczi reconsidered the theory of pathology and the theory of mind and examined the complex impact of early external trauma on the development of the self, and its impact on future relationships, including the analytic relationship. His works anticipated later works of psychoanalytic theorists, including Karen Horney’s…

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Szekacs-Weisz, J. (2015) (Guest Editor). In these pages…. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(1), pp.3–4.

Looking back at the turn of the last century, the time when psychoanalysis was born, from the very first decades of this millennium is an intellectual and emotional challenge, but it makes developmental tendencies visible. It also helps to ask questions and think about connections that are essential in making sense of our present and future. Perceiving these linkages also provide a chance of understanding what has been lost through the dramatic and traumatic experiences of the 20th century. We can see how new ideas became an integral part of the formative changes. They altered the face of the city, the interiors of public and private spaces, and the view of the world…

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Brennan, B. W. (2015). Decoding Ferenczi’s Clinical Diary: Biographical Notes. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(1), pp.5–18.

Abstract: In the Clinical Diary of Sándor Ferenczi, certain codes and abbreviations are used to refer to the eight patients Ferenczi was treating in 1932. The identities of two patients are known to us. Notably, Dm. (Clara Thompson), and R.N. (Elizabeth Severn), but the others have remained a mystery. This paper uncovers the identities of the other patients in the Diary, and, for the first time, reveals their identities and life stories. Biographical notes on these patients are provided to expand and contextualize our understanding of their lives—Who were they? What kind of families did they come from? And what happened to them after their analyses? The process of uncovering their identities and the ethics of writing about historical patients will also be addressed.

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Fortune, C. (2015). Thwarting the Psychoanalytical Detectives: Defending the Severn Legacy. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(1), pp.19–28.

Abstract: In 1993, The Legacy of Sandor Ferenczi (Aron & Harris) was published. This groundbreaking volume contained the chapter, The Case of “RN”: Sandor Ferenczi’s Radical Experiment in Psychoanalysis (Fortune, 1993), which told the story of “RN”—Ferenczi’s code-name in his Clinical Diary for his critically important patient, Elizabeth Severn. The chapter presented biographical details and original research supporting the rich clinical material revealed in Ferenczi’s Clinical Diary. Now, two decades later, RN has continued to affirm her place as one of the most important patients in the history of psychoanalysis. On this twentieth anniversary, just past, of the recognition of her story, I would like to reflect back and recount the beginnings of my “detective” work on the Case of RN, particularly my encounter with Severn’s daughter, Margaret.

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Berman, E. (2015). On “Polygamous Analysis”. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(1), pp.29–36.

Abstract: The close relationships among Ferenczi’s analysands at the time the Clinical Diary was written are explored, and their potential influences on their analyses are discussed. It is suggested that the fact that “a virtual group” emerged in this context may have sabotaged to some extent Ferenczi’s clinical work, because this setting did not allow the open joint exploration possible in an actual analytic group, and at the same time stood in the way of achieving “a background of safety” fostered by the privacy and confidentiality of a fully individual analysis. Several examples are given of situations that may have made analysands feel betrayed or abandoned by the divided loyalties of their analyst and may have created painful splits in Ferenczi’s own countertransferences.

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Bar-Haim, S. (2015). Becoming a Peter Pan: Omnipotence, Dependency and the Ferenczian Child. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(1), pp.37–45.

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to provide a short history of the changes in Ferenczi’s concept of early childhood, during the two-decade period, 1913–1932. Initially, Ferenczi mainly emphasized children’s feelings of omnipotence, which enable them to perceive themselves as strong, independent and capable human beings. By the mid-1920s, however, he felt that his earlier work did not give a good account of what comes after the stage of omnipotence, and that it did not adequately describe the difficulties in the transition from pleasure to reality principles. However, in his Clinical Diary, Ferenczi became fully aware of how fragile and insecure children are, and therefore how dangerous—yet necessary—it is for them to abandon the “stage of omnipotence” and to gain a “sense of reality”. For Ferenczi, traumatized children are children who had not been loved in their early childhood, and therefore could not develop the capacity to make the journey from pleasure principle to that of reality. It will be suggested that a paradigmatic example for this kind of child is Peter Pan.

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Bókay, A. (2015). The Child as a Traumatic Self-Component in Ferenczi’s Later Psychoanalysis. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(1), pp.46–56.

Abstract: In the Ferenczi renaissance of the last few decades it has become more and more important to elaborate and reconstruct the general shape, the “Weltanschauung”, of his psychoanalysis. The construct of his “psychoanalytic anthropology” is based on the relational nature of individual existence. Relationality pervades the life narrative through the concept and role of the trauma and is crucial to the understanding of Ferenczi’s self-concept. He understood the human individual as essentially fragmented in a “preprimal” way, in which the split self contains the child, as an active, always present infantile component. Through powerful allegories like the “Orpha” or the “wise baby,” Ferenczi suggested an essentially post-modern idea of self that can be connected and differentiated from Winnicott’s True and False Self.

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Kelley-Lainé, K. (2015). “Freedom to Grow”. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(1), pp.57–64.

Abstract: Writing is a dangerous activity, especially as it is seemingly harmless: we rarely know what we are getting into at the start. Continuing her work on the writings of J.M. Barrie, especially on the question of the “lost child” who never grows up, the author invites the reader to listen to Sándor Ferenczi’s “lost childhood” between the lines of his Clinical Diary. He begins the Diary on January 7, 1932 and the last entry is October 2 of the same year; Ferenczi died on May 22, 1933. The exceptional text of the diary is the fruit of his incisive clinical insights, his disappointment and anger with Freud and his ruthless self-analysis. The author pinpoints her reading of Ferenczi, the “wise baby—lost child”.

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Vamos, J. (2015). Free to Move, Free to Be. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(1), pp.65-75.

Abstract: The Hungarian Pikler-Lóczy Institute for Infants’ Well-being and Healthy Development could not have been created without the fundamental contribution of the Budapest School’s approach to Object Relations. For historical reasons, very little is known in psychoanalytical circles about this extraordinary experience and work. Pikler created an original model with a space for partnership, reciprocity, and the baby’s “true” autonomy, which focuses on the baby’s self-initiated motor development: “freedom to move”. The atmosphere of this world around babies can be related to the “rêveries” of Ferenczi about the necessity for an early, caring environment provided through adult tenderness as it appears in his Clinical Diary.

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Hernandez-Halton, I. (2015). Klein, Ferenczi and the Clinical Diary. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(1), pp.76–85.

Abstract: The aim of this article is to revisit Ferenczi’s Clinical Diary (1932) to investigate the influence he had on Melanie Klein’s work. It starts from the position that insufficient recognition has been given to Ferenczi’s contribution to Klein’s body of work and her professional development. Her analysis with Ferenczi lasted 5 years, a relatively long analysis for the period. It explores his influence in three specific areas: the importance of raw and early emotion in the maternal bond, the importance of freedom and authenticity in the analytic relationship, and finally the use of transference and countertransference feelings. Ferenczi’s ill-fated experiment with mutual analysis will be discussed as it opened up a route to explore the analytic relationship, with important consequences for the future development of psychoanalysis.

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Lugrin, Y. (2015). Lacan and Ferenczi: Paradoxical Kinship? American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(1), pp.86–93.

Abstract: The kinship between Ferenczi and Lacan can be compared with the phases of an eclipse. Throughout the first period of his teaching, Lacan presents Ferenczi as the most relevant analyst among the first pioneers. It is clear that he hopes to develop Ferenczi’s subversive reflections about clinical practice. Surprisingly, in the second period references to Ferenczi seem to disappear, even when he takes on the question of trauma in light of what he calls the register of the Real; he does not cite Ferenczi at all. In a third period, after Lacan’s death, certain Lacanians are very critical about Ferenczi, often excessively. Today, analysts open to Lacan’s teaching are discovering Ferenczi and the richness of his work, in which Lacan found numerous springheads for his own work.

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Keve, T. (2015). The Jung-Ferenczi Dossier. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(1), pp.94–109.

Abstract: The acquaintance between Sándor Ferenczi and C G Jung pre-dates their first encounter with Sigmund Freud. Later, a triangular relationship developed when the three men crossed the Atlantic together and spent an extended period in one another’s company. Ferenczi’s friendship with Jung could not survive the latter’s break with Freud, but its development between 1907 and 1913 is evidenced by unpublished letters from Jung to Ferenczi, found in the Ferenczi Archive, now at the Freud Museum.

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Book Reviews:

Summers, F. (2015). Book Review. Mended by the Muse: Creative Transformations of Trauma by Sophia Richman. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(1), pp.110–112.

This volume by Sophia Richman adds immeasurably to the knowledge and theory of the illusive relationship between trauma and artistic creation. Dr. Richman’s compelling volume explores in depth the experiences of trauma victims who employed the creative process to overcome traumatic assaults on their psyches. This rich volume includes the stories of victims of many different forms of trauma, such as death, loss of loved ones, sexual, physical, and emotional violence, political persecution, concentration camp incarceration, persecution of previous generations, and physical injury and illness. For this reason alone the book would be valuable reading, but it serves two more ambitious purposes. Richman’s book sheds a great deal of light on the process by which traumatic experiences are integrated and mastered by artistic creation, and, in this process, debunks much conventional wisdom about the effects of trauma…

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Geltner, P. (2015). Book Review. Transference and Countertransference Today by Robert Oelsner. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(1), pp.113–115.

Although the idea that aspects of the countertransference can be conceptualized as a dimension of the transference had been consistently explored in the oeuvre of Sándor Ferenczi, and by his pupils, such as Hann-Kende, it burst forth with new vigor in the late 1940s when Winnicott, Spotnitz, Heimann, and Racker (with Searles soon to follow) converged on the same idea (Geltner, 2013). Thanks to Robert Oelsner’s new collection, Transference and Countertransference Today—we can see that in this early period, Heinrich Racker had by far the most fully developed conception of what Winnicott called objective countertransference (not Racker’s terminology)…

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Zuckerman, J. R. (2015). Book Review. The Therapeutic Situation in the 21st Century by Mark Leffert. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(1), pp.116–118.

Mark Leffert has given us much to reflect upon and respond to with his new text The Therapeutic Situation in the 21st Century. He aims to offer “… a rudimentary textbook of clinical psychoanalysis in a different language” (p. xi), one that is cleansed of metapsychology. There is much of value in Leffert’s new work, owing principally to his erudition, interdisciplinary approach and thoroughness. I appreciate his determination to push beyond his orthodox background and, as he likes to say, the hagiography that still surrounds Freud in certain circles…

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