Sandor Ferenczi, a reference in psychoanalysis

Sandor Ferenczi, a reference in psychoanalysis

Sandor Ferenczi passed on to posterityas "theterrible child " of psychoanalysis. This wonderful man of science was born on July 7, 1873 in Hungary. His original name was Alexander Fränkel. His father however adopted the name of Ferenczi in 1880 and he, for its part, retained the diminutive of Alexander, "Sandor".

Ferenczi had 11 brothers and lost his father prematurely. The mother took care of the family, taking care of a family bookstore. It is said that a good part of the thesis of this psychoanalyst derives precisely from this singular family nucleus.Freud, who was later his teacher, even came to talk about the "complex brotherly of Ferenczi ".

"Psychoanalysis has the task of exhuming the problems caused by sexuality that languished for centuries in the poisons that science has in the closet."

-Sandor Ferenczi-

As he himself said,his childhood was unfolded in the middle of an important lack of affection. His mother was very strict and expressions of affection were almost forbidden in the family. In addition, the bookstore allowed him to immerse himself in reading at an early age and become a poet very early. At a young age, he moved to Vienna and went to university to study medicine.

Ferenczi and his encounter with psychoanalysis

Sandor Ferenczi graduated from medicine at the age of 21. He then specialized in neurology and psychiatry. He published, between 1899 and 1907, a large number of articles in a Hungarian journal specialized in medicine. This production is known asBudapest Writings. He makes a first approach to psychoanalysis.

Ferenczi was first impressed by the work and ideas of Carl Gustav Jung. They had the opportunity to meet when he visited Hungary.Jung managed to get Ferenczi and Sigmund Freud meetbecause he thought that they could have a very enriching exchange of ideas.

A deep friendship was born thenbetween Ferenczi and Freud. Much of the biography of both of them and of the history of psychoanalysis is clear from the abundant correspondence they exchanged for many years.

The passionate dramas of Ferenczi

Sandor Ferenczi had a love life full of storms and contradictions. Many assert that this life has largely illustrated various concepts of psychoanalysis, such as the Oedipus complex and the repetition compulsion. At the age of 31, he falls in love with Gizella, a married woman 8 years older than him. She wanted to divorce, but her husband refused. So the relationship with Ferenczi remained clandestine.

Elma, Gizella's daughter, feeling deeply depressed is advised by her mother to do a psychoanalysis with Ferenczi.The latter receives it in consultation and soon begins to feel that he can not maintain his analytic neutrality. He falls in love with his lover's daughter. He gives up carrying out psychoanalysis with her and sends her back to Freud. The latter treats her for three months and then sends her back to Ferenczi.

Meanwhile, the relationship between Ferenczi and Gizella had revived. In consultation, Ferenczi managed to convince Elma, Gizella's daughter, to go far away. He will eventually marry the girl's mother, but this relationship will never overcome the marks left by those years. What is the influence of this sentimental drama on psychoanalysis?The love triangle reveals Ferenczi's own neurosis. Many of his conclusions come from these experiences .

The theses of Ferenczi

One of Sandor Ferenczi's most memorable works is entitledPsychoanalysis and pedagogy. He analyzes the effect of so-called education on trauma and neuroses of human beings.He goes on to say that pedagogy seeks to deny the emotions and ideas of individuals. So that leads the child to learn to deceive himself, to deny what he knows, what he feels and what he thinks.

He argues that psychoanalysis must be a process that allows the individual to break with the prejudices that prevent him from really knowing himself. It also introduces valuable contributions to what should be the technique to carry out the psychoanalytic process. One of them is what was eventually called "didactic psychoanalysis". In other words,the principle that any psychoanalyst must proceed to his own psychoanalysis before taking care of patients.

He also designed the "active technique". The latter involved great flexibility in the psychoanalytic setting, which depends on the characteristics of the patient and the specific circumstances of the problem.The concept has been widely questioned, but today it still has its followers. He further developed the concept of "identification with the aggressor", although it is generally attributed to Anna Freud.

One of his biographers describes Ferenczi as "a particular psychoanalyst, dreamy and sensitive ". Many people claim that his work was not valued enough. It may be so. His love vicissitudes have earned him the antipathy and rejection of many of his colleagues. This may be the reason why his name was not written in golden letters at this school.


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