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Bokanowski, T. (1996). Freud And Ferenczi: Trauma And Transference Depression. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 77:519-536.

(1996). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 77:519-536

Freud And Ferenczi: Trauma And Transference Depression

Thierry Bokanowski

The author recounts how Ferenczi's original technical and theoretical advances in the treatment of ‘difficult’ cases have become part of the stock-in-trade of psychoanalysis and its metapsychology despite the fact that Freud took issue in particular with Ferenczi's re-evaluation of the concept of trauma. Drawing liberally on the published correspondence, the author contends that these advances stemmed from Ferenczi's own need to work through his mother complex, which had not been adequately tackled in his analysis with Freud and led to his reproaches to Freud for not having analysed his negative transference and his reactivated primary depression, which later became transference depression. These difficulties drove him to distress, confusion and hate. The author considers that Ferenczi introduced new concepts in the hope of extracting himself from this transference impasse. His helplessness led to the ‘wise baby’; his confusion yielded the ‘confusion of tongues’; and, lastly, his hate produced the ‘introjection of the adult's guilt’, arousing in the child the ‘terrorism of suffering’, ‘splitting’ and ‘fragmentation’.

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