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Ferenczi, S. (1931). Child-Analysis in the Analysis of Adults. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 12:468-482.

(1931). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 12:468-482

Child-Analysis in the Analysis of Adults

S. Ferenczi

I feel that I ought to say a few words in explanation or excuse of the fact that I, a stranger, have been chosen to speak at this celebration of a society that includes so many who are worthy—more worthy than myself—to fulfil this honourable task. It cannot be merely the precedence accorded to those twenty-five years during which I have had the privilege of being in close contact with Professor Freud and under his leadership—for there are amongst you some of our colleagues who have been his faithful disciples even longer than I. Let me therefore look for some other reason! Perhaps you wanted to take this opportunity of giving the lie to a certain statement which is widely current and much favoured by the uninitiated and the opponents of psycho-analysis. Over and over again one hears irresponsible remarks about the intolerance, the 'orthodoxy' of our master. It is said that he will not suffer his associates to make any criticism of his theories and that he drives all independent talent out of his circle in order tyrannically to impose his own will in matters scientific. People talk of his 'Old Testament' severity and even account for it racially. Now it is a sad truth that, in the course of time, certain men of conspicuous talent and many lesser lights have turned their backs on Freud, after following him for a longer or shorter period. Were they really actuated by purely scientific motives in leaving him? It seems to me that their sterility in scientific work, since then, does not testify in their favour.

I should like to throw into the scales your kind invitation to me as an argument against this notion of the 'orthodoxy' of the International Association and its spiritual leader, Professor Freud. I have no wish to measure my own standing against that of the colleagues to whom I have alluded; but it is a fact that I am fairly generally regarded as a restless spirit, or, as someone recently said to me at Oxford, the enfant terrible of psycho-analysis.


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