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Berman, E. (2007). Call of the Wild. Am. J. Psychoanal., 67(3):211-220.

(2007). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 67(3):211-220

Call of the Wild

Emanuel Berman, M.D.

Freud described “wild analysis” as an undisciplined version of psychoanalysis; but the new Penguin series of Freud's writings collects many of his papers under the title Wild Analysis, challenging the differentiation. This paper traces wild elements at the core of psychoanalytic thought, crediting Groddeck, Ferenczi, and Winnicott for bringing them to the open. The image of the wild analyst can serve us as the image of the deeply involved, personally motivated analyst, whose work is intense and emotionally risky. This is the opposite of the “civilized” analyst who uses well-defined existing paths, takes no personal risks, and therefore stays at an emotional distance from his/her patients. Every analyst's capacity to develop a unique analytic self, based on his/her genuine life experience and worldview, is endangered if stepping out of line is slandered as “wild analysis” or as insanity. The relevance of these issues for contemporary psychoanalytic thought and education is demonstrated.

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