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Gyimesi, J. (2016). The Legacy of Sándor Ferenczi: From Ghost to Ancestor, edited by Adrienne Harris and Steven Kuchuck (London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2015; 300 pp.). Psychoanal. Hist., 18(2):274-277.
    

(2016). Psychoanalysis and History, 18(2):274-277

The Legacy of Sándor Ferenczi: From Ghost to Ancestor, edited by Adrienne Harris and Steven Kuchuck (London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2015; 300 pp.)

Review by:
Júlia Gyimesi

Since the English publication of the Clinical Diary in 1988 there has been a new interest in the historical, theoretical and therapeutic significance of the lifework of Sándor Ferenczi. Today the figure of Ferenczi implies a series of outstanding and far-reaching innovations that designate new directions in the theory and practice of psychoanalysis. Furthermore, Ferenczi's ingenious ideas represent a successful revolt against psychoanalytic orthodoxy. Despite the reactions of Freud and the psychoanalytic community of his time, Ferenczi's theoretical and practical innovations established a fundamental shift in psychoanalysis.

It was Ferenczi who put the significance of the mother-child relationship and early object-relations into a radically new light, compared with Freud's patriarchal narrative concerning the origins and evolution of the human psyche. It was also Ferenczi who drew attention to the need for empathy and love in the psychoanalytic treatment of patients. He created a new concept of trauma that reflects on the disintegration of the self and the different voices of the broken personality's various layers. Finally, he foregrounded the problems of countertransference in psychoanalysis, and through this, the dangers of professional hypocrisy. Indeed, it is remarkable that Ferenczi's theories of trauma, countertransference and mutual analysis were associated for so long, in the context of Freudian theory, primarily with opposition to the views of his master, rather than as constructive developments.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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