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Ferenczi, S. (1949). Psycho-Analysis and Education. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 30:220-224.

(1949). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 30:220-224

Psycho-Analysis and Education

Sandor Ferenczi

A close study of Freud's work together with psycho-analyses conducted by ourselves, teaches us that faulty education is not only the source of faulty character development, but is also the source of serious illnesses; moreover, we find that present-day education is literally a forcing house for various neuroses.

While analysing our patients and therefore—willy-nilly—subjecting ourselves and our own development to revision, we become convinced that even an education inspired by the noblest intentions and carried out under the most favourable conditions has, through being based on faulty but generally accepted principles now prevalent, a harmful influence in many respects upon the development of the child. If we have succeeded in remaining healthy despite these adverse factors, then it is due to our robust, resistant mental make-up. Further, we learn that even he who by good luck has not become ill has, nevertheless, endured much unnecessary mental pain and suffering because of inappropriate pedagogical methods and theories, and we discover that most people are almost wholly unable to find unselfconscious pleasure in the natural joys of life.

What then are the practical advantages education can derive from these experiences? This is not a purely scientific question; it is to psychology (the subject of main interest to us) as horticulture is to botany. Freud, starting from a practical discipline—the pathology of the neuroses—has subsequently been able to gain surprising psychological insight.

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