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Goldberg, S.H. (2015). Transference, the Interpersonal Field, and Psychological Transformation in the Work of Antonino Ferro. Psychoanal. Inq., 35(5):494-511.

(2015). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 35(5):494-511

Transference, the Interpersonal Field, and Psychological Transformation in the Work of Antonino Ferro

Steven H. Goldberg, M.D.

In his prolific writing and in his spirited and charismatic teaching at major psychoanalytic centers and congresses, Antonino Ferro has emerged as one of the most important interpreters and exponents of the seminal, and often enigmatic, work of Wilfred Bion. Like Bion, it is difficult to place Ferro in any of the traditional schools of psychoanalytic thought and, also like Bion, his work has generated broad interest and appeal among psychoanalysts of many theoretical traditions and personal interests. In Ferro’s reading, every period of Bion’s thinking and each of the several genres of his writing become a source of fresh ideas and inspiration. In each new contribution, Ferro returns to his ongoing and creative elaboration of some of the possible implications of Bion’s original and revolutionary ideas concerning clinical work. Also significantly influenced by Klein, Winnicott, and the Barangers, Ferro arrives at a compelling personal synthesis and at his own unique vision of the psychoanalytic relationship and of its healing potential.

In this article, I use Ferro’s thinking about transference as a point of entry into his many important recommendations regarding psychoanalytic listening and technique. On a more theoretical plane, I also use transference as a lens from which to examine some of Ferro’s (re)conceptualization of the purposes of psychoanalytic treatment and of the means by which it effects its unique transformations. Finally, I discuss some of the ways in which Ferro’s views have impacted my own clinical work and teaching, as well as certain reservations and areas of question about Ferro’s work that I find problematic.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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