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Ferenczi, S. (1993). My Friendship with Miksa Schachter. Brit. J. Psychother., 9(4):430-433.

(1993). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 9(4):430-433

My Friendship with Miksa Schachter

Sandor Ferenczi

I first met Miksa Schachter in 1898 under unusual circumstances. I was a junior physician at the Rokus Hospital. While I wanted to become a neurologist, Kalman Muller's malice chained me to the VD (‘prostitutes’) department for more than a year. I had requested many times to be liberated from duties that were so alien to me. All in vain - the hospital director, who was so strict with his subordinates, turned down all my requests. As I had no chance to perform psychological experiments, I had begun to experiment on myself. I had tried to explore the so-called ‘occult’ phenomena, amongst others. It happened once that, following a dinner with friends, I walked through the permanently locked gates of the ‘Little Rokus’1 well after midnight. I went to the junior physicians' room and engaged in ‘automatic writing’, frequently discussed by the spiritualists of the time; Janet had already published interesting observations on this phenomenon. It occurred to me that it was already very late; I was tired and somewhat aroused emotionally. All these circumstances favoured the exploration. So I picked up a pencil and, holding it loosely in my hand, I pressed it against a piece of blank paper. I decided to let the pencil move ‘on its own’, letting it write whatever it wished. Senseless scribbles came first, then letters, words (some of them strange to me), and finally whole sentences. Soon I was having a real dialogue with my pencil - I asked questions and got quite unexpected answers.

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