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Abelin, G.E. (1979). Histoire De La Psychanalyse En France: By Ilse and Robert Barande. Toulouse: Privat, 1975, 177 pp., 15.40f.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 27:681-687.
(1979). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 27:681-687
Histoire De La Psychanalyse En France: By Ilse and Robert Barande. Toulouse: Privat, 1975, 177 pp., 15.40f.
Review by: Graciela E. Abelin, M.D.
This book is meant to introduce French psychoanalysis to the newcomer. Such a summary can give only glimpses into 60 years of development and the work of many important authors. Nevertheless, the Barandes' book does provide a ground for understanding the context in which French psychoanalysis grew and can also serve as a valuable guide for further reading.
Analysis arrived late in France, and literary groups were interested and supportive of it throughout its development. Very early, the surrealist writer André Breton established contact with Freud. Mme. E. Sokolnicka, who became the first training analyst in France (she had been analyzed by Freud and had been a student of Freud's and Ferenczi's), was welcomed to Paris by the writers André Gide and Pierre Bourget, who introduced her to psychiatric groups. It was thanks to their help that despite the hostilities of organized medicine she was able to carry out her work in a hospital setting.
By 1914 there were already psychoanalytic societies in Vienna, Zurich, Budapest, Berlin, London, and the United States. The "Société Psychanalytique de Paris" was founded only in 1926. Princess Marie Bonaparte (although still in Vienna) was active in organizing this group, which included R. Laforgue, R. de Saussure, E. Pichon, R.M. Loewenstein, and others—Loewenstein was the training analyst for most candidates between 1926 and 1939. R. Spitz and H. Hartmann, who came to Paris periodically, were also part of the training staff.
It was only after the Second World War that a new stage set in and analysts could abandon a defensive and polemical stance, a reaction to intense psychiatric opposition. Many of the earliest publications, in an attempt to demonstrate the validity of Freud's thinking, had dealt with the analysis of literary works. From 1945, S. Nacht, M. Bouvet, D. Lagache, J. Lacan, and others elaborated their own theories, widening the clinical applications of psychoanalysis and its techniques, experimenting with the treatment of children, psychosomatic disorders, psychotics, and group analysis.
But psychoanalysis had to contend with other pressures in France. Marxist thinkers accused it of being an instrument of ideological manipulation, serving American policy in Europe. From 1949, the Communist party seriously prejudiced the public against psychoanalysis.
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