Desktop version

Home arrow Psychology

  • Increase font
  • Decrease font

<<   CONTENTS   >>

An unparalleled nomination

A year later, as if echoing this declaration, Freud would praise, not so much Ferenczi himself, but his exemplary analytic journey. In the space of about 20 years, this journey tinned a young neurologist and psychiatrist - who one day casually picked up The Interpretation of Dreams - into a convinced and even more convincing analyst. Indeed, Freud now calls Ferenczi “a master and teacher of psycho-analysis.”

In 1923, Freud wrote the foreword for a special issue of the Zeitschrift, in which Ferenczi received tribute on the occasion of his 50th birthday. Freud points out the exemplary nature of this journey in which - according to our hypothesis - the personal analysis played the major and most decisive role: “These were the beginnings of Ferenczi, who has since himself become a master and teacher of psychoanalysis.” From this point on, there are two masters in psychoanalysis: Freud, its inventor, and Ferenczi, who became a master through analysis. We should point out that Freud does not use the terms “didactic analysis” or “training analyst,” although they had been in use since the recent foundation of the Berlin Institute.

This designation Freud bestows on Ferenczi alone presents the latter as an analyst more capable than the others to transmit psychoanalysis to his young colleagues. Such a nomination goes beyond the esteem he earned following the success of the Budapest Congress in 1918, an occasion on which Freud recognised him as one who would set new directions in psychoanalytic therapy, and would occupy a central place in the activities of the movement. In 1923, receiving this distinction grants Ferenczi renewed legitimacy not on the basis of his qualifications - which others possess as well - but thanks to the exceptional fact that he underwent personal analysis, which produced a more clear-sighted and self-assured analyst: “Ferenczi, who, as a middle child in a large family, had to straggle with a powerful brother complex [has] under the influence of analysis [!] become an irreproachable elder brother, a kindly teacher and promoter of young talent.”

In our view, in 1923, Freud praised an analyst with determined vision and unshakeable faith in the benefits of in-depth personal analysis for the training of analysts. But in Budapest there was still no training institute. Under unfavourable political conditions, Ferenczi promotes the transmission of psychoanalysis relying neither on the theoretical teaching of Freudism, nor on didactic analysis as it has recently been introduced in Berlin. In contrast to what is done in Berlin, he teaches unaided, and conducts long and difficult analyses whose value - or lack of value - as didactic analyses remains to be determined later, based on their deferred effects. Freud is understandable happy with developments in Berlin, but he is just as pleased with the vitality of the Hungarian Freudian circle: “As for the local group he founded in 1913, it overcame all obstacles and became, under his direction, a centre of intense and productive work.” Freud went on to praise Ferenczi’s numerous outstanding talents and contributions. And yet [...]

Troubled or untroubled?

In the last paragraph of his homage to Ferenczi, after listing his major contributions, Freud addresses Ferenczi one last compliment. The greatest contribution of this master and teacher is not to be found in his 138 scientific publications, but in his work yet to come: “Ferenczi has held back even more than he has made up his mind to communicate.” Is it the case that Freud, like Lou Andreas-Salome ten years earlier, thinks that Ferenczi’s time is yet to come? Yes and no. Freud knows that Ferenczi will pursue the path he proudly claims as uniquely his. But Freud worries, because he also knows that what Ferenczi will “[make] up his mind to communicate” will be presented in his own style: lively, forceful, sometimes provocative, adventurous and unconventional. This is the slight shadow in Freud’s praise. A remark made in passing in the first paragraph might be revealing as well: “Starting with this first visit (1908) we enjoyed a long, intimate and hitherto untroubled friendship [...]” Why did Freud need to say “hitherto untroubled,” if not because he is beset by a double fear? Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, senses that Ferenczi’s proclaimed desire to “round off” and, above all, to “enlarge old experiences and accomplishments” will upset the analytic community. In addition, Freud the analyst knows that his former analysand has reservations about the way in which his tumultuous analysis was conducted. Freud is right on both counts. Indeed, at the dawn of the 1930s heavy clouds threaten to dampen his relations with Ferenczi. In 1932, the weather is stormy.

<<   CONTENTS   >>

Related topics