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Lable, I. (1992). Meeting of the Psychoanalytic Institute of New England, East. Psychoanal Q., 61:159-160.

(1992). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 61:159-160

Meeting of the Psychoanalytic Institute of New England, East

Ira Lable

DISCUSSION: Dr. Samuel Silverman asked about the clinical usefulness of Ferenczi's and Rank's ideas. Dr. Falzeder responded that their emphasis on the "here and now" of the transference and resistance was very useful. Dr. Arthur Valenstein noted that Rank's "will therapy" involved an actualization in the analysis—that of forcing a crisis, a choice, and a resolution. Dr. Evelyne Schwaber wondered about Ferenczi's "classical analysis." A discussion ensued about insight versus reliving and reexperiencing in analysis. Dr. Robert Pyles asked about the negative transference in Rank's technique. Dr. Valenstein responded that the negative transference is mobilized, but the patient emerges into the independence of his or her own self through a "battle of wills." This was clearly a birth trauma metaphor for Rank. The patient is forced to "take a stand." Dr. Schwaber wondered whether a "secret" committee was necessary to protect psychoanalysis. DR. Falzeder revealed that Freud did not finish reading Rank's book on the birth trauma, about which he commented so strongly. Dr. Sanford Gifford noted that a manuscript exists which describes an actual study of newborn infants in a Vienna hospital at that time. Freud, who was rarely interested in statistics, was reputed to have asked Rank for "data" to prove his theories. Dr. Ana-Maria Rizzuto proposed that the struggle, the conflict, was over an unconscious search for "the mother," for there was no female in this male society. The maternal may be represented by Ferenczi and Rank in their emphasis on feelings, especially on warmth and love. Dr. Ira Lable asked about the "legend" of Rank's and Ferenczi's mental illness. Was Ferenczi mentally ill? If so, was it a neurological manifestation of his pernicious anemia? Or was the suggestion of mental illness a way to silence disagreement? These questions were discussed at length. Finally, Dr. Axel Hoffer asked the group members whether they had found clinical evidence of birth trauma. There were numerous clinical examples presented of birth fantasies, especially at termination but also after nine months of treatment.

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