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Dupont, J. (1994). Freud's Analysis of Ferenczi as Revealed by their Correspondence. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 75:301-320.

(1994). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 75:301-320

Freud's Analysis of Ferenczi as Revealed by their Correspondence

Judith Dupont


The relationship between Freud and Ferenczi was a very intimate one. Nevertheless—or consequently—when Ferenczi decided to undergo his own analysis, he couldn't imagine anyone other then Freud as his analyst. This remained true in spite of Freud's clearly expressed reluctance to analyse Ferenczi. The analysis stimulated very intense and passionate transference feelings in Ferenczi. In response, Freud desperately tried to cool down the situation, apparently by trying to keep things on an intellectual level. This analysis, carried out in three brief sections, was interrupted the first time by the beginning of World War I, the second time because the time planned for the analysis was over, and the final time because Freud obviously felt that it could not go further and considered it 'finished', even if not 'terminated'. It left unresolved a great part of the father–son relationship in both the transference and in the countertransference (Nemes, 1988). According to Ferenczi, Freud failed to analyse his negative transference. I would add the supposition that Freud also ignored his negative countertransference. This analytic experience certainly added to the complexity of their subsequent relationship, in spite of the warm feelings between them and the permanence of their friendship. Indications of that complexity can be found in the writings of both men.

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