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Aron, L. Frankel, J.B. (1995). Response to Tabin. Psychoanal. Psychol., 12(2):317-319.

(1995). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 12(2):317-319

Response to Tabin

Lewis Aron, Ph.D. and Jay B. Frankel, Ph.D.

We appreciate both the tone and the scholarship of Tabin's response (this issue) to our critique of her article. We plead guilty to writing a “lawyerly brief” on Ferenczi's behalf—an appropriate approach, we believe, when accusations are made. Now, however, out of considerations of time and space, we refrain from writing another brief. Instead, we highlight just a few key points—briefly!

As to the question of priority regarding the splitting of the ego as a result of sexual abuse: We did not dispute Freud's priority in using the idea of splitting, and we certainly never suggested that Freud denied that children really were sexually abused. Indeed, we think the evidence is quite clear that Freud continued to recognize the actualities of childhood sexual abuse. (The passage quoted by Tabin from “The Question of Lay Analysis” [Freud, 1926] is a good example of Freud's awareness of childhood abuse, but it offers nothing in the way of connecting this abuse to the processes of splitting and dissociation.) Our point was that it was Ferenczi who clearly spelled out the clinical consequences and implications of the splitting of the mind, its fragmentation, atomization, dissociation, false-self phenomena, and the impact of altered states of consciousness, as a direct result of childhood sexual abuse. Tabin offers no evidence or argument to dispute Ferenczi's priority on this point.

Regarding Ferenczi's mental health: It is not our contention that Ferenczi had a clean bill of mental health at the end of his life.

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