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Ferenczi, S. (1925). Psycho-Analysis of Sexual Habits. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 6:372-404.

(1925). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 6:372-404

Psycho-Analysis of Sexual Habits

S. Ferenczi

Some recent papers of mine have dealt with the amplification of our therapeutic technique by means of certain 'active' procedures. These articles were on the whole couched in general terms; no details were given as to the manner in which this psychotherapeutic expedient should be employed, with the result that too wide a field for misconception was left open. I feel myself therefore in duty bound to publish a more detailed account of my experiences in this matter. Needless to say, owing to the complexity and wide ramifications of the material, I am not yet in a position to give a systematic account of the subject. I trust, however, that, by adducing certain characteristic examples from my practice, I may be able to show how this so-called activity may be employed with success; further, in what light the results have to be regarded theoretically and how the methods can be correlated with other analytic knowledge. I shall of course avail myself of such opportunities as arise to indicate the limits within which the active method can be employed and shall not neglect to point out occasions on which application of them, instead of producing the anticipated result, may give rise to fresh difficulties. In common with all other detailed investigations, the present attempt is bound to give an impression of one-sidedness. The mere fact that one is supporting a thesis in the face of every conceivable criticism is of itself calculated to give the impression that the new proposals are being advanced to the detriment of what has previously been regarded as correct procedure: it is an easy step from defence to special pleading. To avoid producing this assuredly false impression the author can only reiterate that his so-called activity is in no way intended to displace previous analytic methods, but rather in certain contingencies and at certain points to amplify them. Any attempt to substitute for the previous technique a series of active measures and abreactions would only end in disappointment and stultification. The aim and end of psycho-analytic therapy now, as always, is to bring about a mobilization of the repressed in the pre-conscious system by means of re-awakened memories and of reconstructions arrived at by necessity. Activity is nothing more than an expedient which, skilfully applied, will advance analytic work.

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