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Guasto, G. (2014). Trauma and the loss of basic trust. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 23(1):44-49.

(2014). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 23(1):44-49

Trauma and the loss of basic trust

Gianni Guasto

Ferenczi's discovery of trauma was labelled by Freud as a return “to errors” that he himself upheld he had committed before 1897. During the dramatic period running from the Wiesbaden Congress (September 1932) to Ferenczi's death (May 1933), Freud wrote to numerous correspondents (among them Jones, Eitingon, and his daughter Anna) complaining that Ferenczi's latest theoretical elaboration corresponded to a simple return to the origin of psychoanalysis and was also a symptom of a serious psychosis. The theme of this paper is that Freud's opinion concerning Ferenczi's concept of trauma is a result of misunderstanding: the trauma as described by Ferenczi is not the one that preceded (in Freud's theory) the desertion of the seduction theory, but is something that is much deeper and mortifying, where the sexuality role is less central. The author pauses to ponder and reflect on the importance of the concept of Erschütterung as a cause in losing basic trust, a perspective that moves far from Freudian sex-centrism that puts psychoanalysis face to face with the sufferings of the victims of extreme trauma.

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