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Vida, J.E. Molad, G.J. (2004). The Ferenczian Dialogue: Psychoanalysis as a Way of Life. Free Associations, 11(3):338-352.

(2004). Free Associations, 11(3):338-352

The Ferenczian Dialogue: Psychoanalysis as a Way of Life1

Judith E. Vida, M.D. and Gershon J. Molad, M.A.


Psychoanalysis and Life, the way psychoanalysis and life relate to one another, is a deep, real issue in a Ferenczian conference, where we always enter a two-fold personal and historical field, a field that is at the same time a fierce and bloody battleground and a lovers' lustful meadow. In such a field, ‘life’ and ‘psychoanalysis’ nurse and bite each other in a mutual, ever-unresolved dependence, right in our face, but, being in conference, we will act as though we maintain a comfortable distance: after all, we are in conference, listening to lectures and ‘case-presentations’. But, you know what? This distance is only an illusion. We are a participant audience here, and listening is actually personal for all of us. It touches on how each of us presents our own autobiography, how we create and guard our identities (the personal and the professional), and it touches on the pride and fear of what we sometimes call ‘countertransference’, which is the core of participant listening, not only of clinical work, but also of conference work.

Making this kind of participant visit yields a variety of personal reactions and impressions. For instance, Jacobs, a veteran visitor, in a recent review of‘the major trends and developments in the evolution of the concept of countertransference’, begins with Freud's view of countertransference as an interference with ‘the work’ that must be mastered by the analyst.

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