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Fisher, D.J. (2005). Rudolf Ekstein (1912-2005). Am. Imago, 62(2):225-233.

(2005). American Imago, 62(2):225-233

In Memoriam

Rudolf Ekstein (1912-2005)

David James Fisher

For me, he was Dr. Ekstein. I was his analysand from early 1979 through April 1989. I recall with pleasure his expansive face, his Viennese accent, his Central European syntax, his slight bow when you first encountered him. I immediately experienced his charm. He radiated feeling, possessing a childlike quality and playfulness that I now associate with child analysts who are naturally comfortable in interacting with the young. Warm, spontaneous, compassionate, he embodied a special form of kindness. I was taken by his poise, his naturalness of being, and his exuberance. Along with an authentic joie de vivre, I sensed in him a profound passion for and commitment to doing psychoanalysis, to thinking psychoanalytically. From him I learned how to listen, how to construct and sustain the analytic situation, how to respect formal boundaries, gradually identifying with and valuing a broad spectrum of the analytic attitude and ethics.

He began seeing me for a fee of $35.00 an hour, which was one half or one third of what most analysts charged in the community, despite his international reputation. This signaled to me that his self-regard did not turn on having a wealthy or celebrity clientele. During the second year of my analysis, when I lived in Tucson, Arizona, he accommodated my schedule, often seeing me late Friday afternoon, twice on Saturday, and again on Sunday.

I recall a session in the mid-1980s. Ekstein had moved his practice to his home on Westgate.

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