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Special Section: IN THE TIME OF WAR

Virtual Conference sponsored by the American Journal of Psychoanalysis and the Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis, April 10, 2022

Rendón, M. (2022). Towards a Psychoanalytic Understanding of War. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 82(2), 177–188.

Abstract: Inspired by the Horneyan concept of a morality of evolution and applying the psychoanalytic method, I researched a body of scientific literature to understand the status of our society today. History, linked to natural history, is the narrative of my patient, the human species. I endeavored to find if there was a repressed trauma in the history of humanity that could explain the symptomatic, recurrent phenomenon of war. In Einstein’s terms, we all condemn war and yet, paradoxically, we engage in it again and again allowing might to supersede right. I found, first, that war is not a natural but a purely historical phenomenon; second, that psychoanalysis is a qualified method to understand the phenomenon of war; and third, that, in the history of subjectivity, the slavery of women who had led the species for two-hundred-thousand years before and were then deprived of their transcendence in civil society, offered an answer to the puzzle. Most remarkable is the fact that academia has repeatedly ignored the issue when evidence is presented. I arrived at the conclusion that true gender parity in any society offers a model for substantive equality and space for peaceful expression of our inevitable differences.

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Volkan, V. & Javakhishvili, J. D. (2022). Invasion of Ukraine: Observations on Leader-Followers Relationships. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 82(2), 189–209.

Abstract: This paper illustrates how and when the personality characteristics of a political leader can initiate and/or become intertwined with societal and political processes. We are not suggesting that “real world” issues and secondary process calculations are not important or should be discarded in favor of psychological considerations. Instead, we suggest that psychoanalysts and psychodynamically informed mental health professionals can contribute to a more complete analysis of political or societal processes and the personalities of leaders who play major roles in them. Only through such interdisciplinary work can we fully understand the complex and intertwined nature of the crucial events that shape political leaders’ internal and external worlds.

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Ferenczi in Our Time and a Renaissance of Psychoanalysis
Florence International Sándor Ferenczi Conference


Koritar, E. (2022). Ferenczi’s Researches in Technique. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 82(2), 210–221.

This third special issue of papers presented and discussed at the Ferenczi in Firenze Conference in 2018 (Koritar, 20182019) will focus on psychoanalytic research. Both Freud and Ferenczi were interested in studying the mind and the process of thinking. In a sense they can be considered as psychoanalytic conquistadors exploring the hidden reaches of a dark continent: the Unconscious. Their discoveries would guide generations of psychoanalytic researchers and clinicians in their praxis.

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Martín Cabré, L. J. (2022). The Freud–Ferenczi Dialogue After the Formulation of the Second Topic. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 82(2), 222–233.

Abstract: The author proposes to examine the scientific dialogue established by Freud and Ferenczi between 1920 and 1933 after Freud’s formulation of the Second Topic, the Pleasure Principle. It is very informative to explore the closeness of some formulations of Freud with the more important clinical and metapsychological intuitions of Ferenczi. The role of repetition, the value of affects, the second theory of anxiety, the elasticity of the psychoanalytical technique and the problem of traumatism are some of aspects developed in this paper.

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Koritar, E. (2022). The Unwelcome Child as a Dynamic Construct of the Terrorist Mind. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 82(2), 234–255 (2022).

Abstract: Psychoanalytic discourse on the dynamics of the terrorist mindset has been challenged by the absence of clinical work with terrorists in the literature. This paper proposes Ferenczi’s concept of the unwelcome child as a dynamic construct of the terrorist mind. Unwelcome children have weak life instincts and correspondingly high death instincts. Clinical material from the analysis of an unwelcome child is presented which suggests that a sense of anomie and alienation from social ties may lead to a fundamentalist mind set which may potentially lead to a search for meaning in terrorist acts. The struggle between life and death instincts is demonstrated in the clinical material, with life instinct tipping the scales in this instance. Self-preservative survival instinct is proposed as the theoretical construct for life instinct in contrast to Freud’s libido theory. The unwelcome child represents an object relations theory of the death instinct. Unwelcome children are likely a widespread phenomenon with significant social consequences.

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Eekhoff, J. K. (2022). The Unwelcome Child and a Lack of Acceptance of New Ideas. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 82(2), 256–267.

Abstract: Ferenczi’s idea of the unwelcome child and his death instinct is used as a background for discussing the treatment of adult patients who do not expect to be received and understood and who turn their aggression back upon themselves, destroying their will to live. When these patients enter analysis, they are very difficult to reach because they have internalized an obstructive object (Bion, 1958). Further, I have linked the unwelcoming of a child to the hatred of the new idea. The paper highlights the deadening defenses that arise in response to awareness of premature separateness between mother and baby, inevitably experienced by an unwelcome child. Coming alive involves suffering the pain of the original loss. To avoid this pain, patients reject anything new, and become stuck in monotonous, seemingly lifeless, patterns where new ideas and new ways of being threaten the static order. This includes the threat that relationship with the analyst brings.

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Kupermann, D. (2022). Social Trauma and Testimony: A Reading of Maryan S. Maryan’s Notebooks Inspired by Sándor Ferenczi. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 82(3), 268–280.

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to present the relational dimension of trauma according to Sándor Ferenczi, illustrating it by using the testimonial material produced during the analysis of Maryan S. Maryan, a visual artist, survivor of Auschwitz. Furthermore, a few formulations are proposed on being witness to traumatic experiences in psychoanalytic practice, as well as what can be considered as ethics and politics in psychoanalysis when facing situations of social trauma and violence.

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Dal Molin, E. C. (2022). The Tailor-Made Analysis: The Analyst’s Adaptation to the Patient and the Question of Time. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 82(2), 281–294.

Abstract: This paper considers Ferenczi’s views about the need for an adaptation of the analyst to the patient through a flexible management of time during some periods of the treatment and compares his ideas to the ones put forward by Bollas regarding day-long sessions that provide a new experience of care to the patient. The author argues that changes regarding the expansion of the analytic hour, adapting it to patients’ needs, is an old but still valuable theme for experiencing the boundaries of clinical practice that also brings countertransference aspects into play. Clinical material is used to illustrate the discussion in a contemporary encounter with Ferenczi.

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França, C. P. (2022). Ferenczian Elasticity in the Analysis of an Adolescent. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 82(2), 295–304.

Abstract: Psychoanalytic work with adolescents poses a challenge for analysts who adhere to standard analytic technique as many adolescents who need analytic intervention resist such a structured approach to analysis. The author finds that elasticity of technique is currently widely used by analysts when working with this difficult age group even though they may be unaware that this is, in fact, a Ferenczian technique. Clinical examples are presented to illustrate how frequently the technique is used in cases of resistant, troubled youth. The author outlines an approach that is sensitive to these resistances and makes compromises in technique based on the principle that engaging a troubled youth in a therapeutic venture is preferable to refusing treatment based on the patient’s not being able to adhere to standard analytic technique. In this sense, Ferenczi was an early herald of the type of contemporary analytic work that is practiced currently especially with a difficult population of patients.

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Lijtmaer, R. M. (2022). Social Trauma, Nostalgia and Mourning in the Immigration Experience. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 82(2), 305–319.

Abstract: Immigration and exile can qualify as social traumas. The individual is deprived of a holding, secure environment in which to continue their life. The process of mourning is a necessary step to connect with “going on being.” Another psychic experience in migration is nostalgia; it helps the immigrant defend against the aggression resulting from current frustrations. The feeling of nostalgia can also be used to protect the ego from inadequacy. The complex components of nostalgia come from positive ones such as joy and gratitude connected with sadness about the associated loss of security, familiarity, and historical continuity. At other times, nostalgia cannot evolve, particularly in forced migration or exile. In this case, the individual enters a depressed state with accompanying feelings of self-pity, resentment, envy, and guilt, which prevents the mourning process from developing. To deal with these painful experiences, the person resorts to linking objects or linking phenomena that help them continue having contact with the past, while adjusting to their new environment.

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Book Reviews:

Amid, B. (2022). Book Review: The Cure for Psychoanalysis, by Adam Phillips, Confer Books, London, 2021, 184 pp. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 82(2), 320–323.

This book records a day-long conference with Adam Phillips, at the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis (ICP) in New York (as far as such a live event may be recorded). It contains one paper that Phillips gave that day—”Winnicott’s Magic: Playing and Reality and Reality” (pp. 9–38)—as well as another paper—”The Cure for Psychoanalysis” (pp. 145–173)—that he wrote following this conference. In addition, the book includes questions and commentaries by various members of the ICP regarding these papers and a lovely interview, which is more of a conversation between Phillips and his old friend Ed Corrigan, a faculty member at the ICP.

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Covitz, H. (2022). Book Review: Credo?: Religion and Psychoanalysis, by Patrick Casement, Aeon Books Ltd, London, 2020, 84 pp. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 82(2), 324–327.

Disclosure: A pamphlet, written by a psychoanalyst who early in life studied for the priesthood is being reviewed by another analyst who spent his early life studying Rabbinics. One might well query: What tragedy, pray tell, has arisen in the traditionally atheistic World of psychoanalysis to allow this confluence of oddities?

The antipathy between Psychoanalysis and Religion is ever-so-present in Freud’s writings. With a nod to Romaine Rolland at the very beginning of Civilization and Its Discontents (Freud, 1930)…

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Sarnat, J. (2022). Book Review: Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Intense Involvement in Sports, edited by Irwin Hirsch, Phillip Blumberg, and Robert I. Watson, Jr., Routledge, Abingdon and New York, 2021, 193 pp. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 82(2), 328–332.

In his introduction to Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Intense Involvement in Sports, a collection of essays co-edited with Phillip Blumberg and Robert I. Watson Jr., Irwin Hirsch provides a candid and vulnerable welcome to the sports-involved psychoanalytic reader. Hirsch acknowledges struggling with shameful feelings about his preoccupation, confiding how much his mood is affected by whether his team wins or loses, and worrying that it is a possible “sign of immaturity” (p. 3). He tells us how “silly” he feels “writing about this in a scholarly venue” (pp. 2–3). Three pages into this book, drawn by a desire to understand more about my own fascination with the Golden State Warriors, I was hooked. Here was a comrade who shared my passions and anxieties and dared to speak them.

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Zaidel Aboody, A. (2022). Book Review: The Contemporary Freudian Tradition: Past and Present, edited by Ken Robinson and Joan Schächter, Routledge, Abingdon and New York, 2021, 370 pp. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 82(2), 333–338.

If we close our eyes and imagine philosophers Alasdair Maclntyre and John Dewey sitting together by the fire and reading this anthology, we would probably assume that Maclntyre, who lay strong emphasis on communitarianism and tradition, would react with satisfaction, while Dewey might shift uneasily in his armchair—maybe wondering why psychoanalysis and its institutions had become so segregated, or even “sectarian and seminarian,” as Douglas Kirsner described (McDougall, 1995; Kirsner, 2000, p. 5).

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