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Chasseguet-Smirgel, J. (1987). An encounter between the ‘wise baby’ and one of his grandsons: (Ferenczi and Bion). Free Associations, 1(10):57-62.

(1987). Free Associations, 1(10):57-62

An encounter between the ‘wise baby’ and one of his grandsons: (Ferenczi and Bion)

J. Chasseguet-Smirgel

As I was running through certain of the texts written by Ferenczi on trauma in preparation for a seminar on ‘Analysis Terminable and Interminable’ (1937) which Sylvie Faure and I were to direct at the Institute of the Paris Psychoanalytical Society, it struck me that some of his themes prefigured Bion. It is not unusual to recognize a filiation between Ferenczi and Winnicott in view of the importance attributed to the mother's caretaking function and the mother in general in child development (although, to my knowledge, no parallel has yet been drawn between the concept of the true and the false self and the ideas of Ferenczi). True, Winnicott's ideas have not permeated the French psychoanalytical scene to the extent they have in Great Britain, and this could therefore be an oversight on my part. Here is the passage (except where otherwise indicated, the following extracts are taken from Ferenczi, 1955):

In one of my cases it came, in later years, to a repeated trauma which, for the most part, destroyed also this nursing outer shell (atomization). Out of this as it were pulverized mass there developed a superficial, visible, even partly conscious personality, behind which the analysis was able to reveal not only the existence of all previous layers, but was also able to revive these layers.

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