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Dupont, J. (2012). Are Innovators Trouble?. Am. J. Psychoanal., 72(4):315-319.
(2012). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 72(4):315-319
In These Pages…
Are Innovators Trouble?
This issue of the American Journal of Psychoanalysis is dedicated to Otto Rank, an innovator in the field of psychoanalysis, who paid for that with a quite high price. Rank was one of Freud's closest collaborators, a kind of adopted son, as was Ferenczi. They were two very different characters, but it is difficult to talk about one without evoking the other. These two close collaborators of Freud suffered the same rejection by the psychoanalytic community, even if it was probably not always for the same reasons. Although the direction taken by their research was criticized and disapproved of by Freud, he never rejected his two old companions. However, the analytic community banished their work for many decades. One could encounter their names everywhere, in every correspondence, and every history of psychoanalysis, but no psychoanalytic institute has thought it necessary to study their work.
Ferenczi had an indefatigable and obstinate champion, who advocated for his cause, Michael Balint (see Dupont and Moreau Ricaud, 2002a, b, 2003), his patient, pupil, friend and in many ways his successor. As a result, Ferenczi's work is well known and has been published in several languages; an International Society bears his name and studies his work, and seminars and conferences about his work are organized everywhere in the world.
Rank was not so lucky. Those who knew him did love him and appreciated his ideas, but they were not in a position to be able to play such a role. Fifty years were necessary to bring Ferenczi back to the foreground; but it remains our on-going challenge to give Rank the full credit he deserves.
Things do not happen without reason. The history of many innovators and inventors shows that every invention, every innovation can be a challenge to an established balance, a coherent corpus of ideas, often under the care and protection of an institution created for that purpose. This was also the case for the pioneers of psychoanalysis, and for Freud himself. And it may certainly be the same for all those who try to work on its evolution.
In 1910, to meet the demands of Freud, Ferenczi presented a remarkable proposal, the foundation of an International Psychoanalytical Association.
[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]