The ladder of love against the fall of reason

I am excited to correlat love against fear, and this is but a beginning attempt, to which I high- light an outline/summary.

To begin such an ontogenetic trip, I count an effective childhood beginning soaked what Laing, szasz ey al would label a later the politics of experience, kind of like the Jungian-oriental? Symbol of the autonomous, or a snake swallowing it’s own head,

That primal anxiety, famously denoted by an equally famous Hungarian child psychiatrist whose name escapes for now, and I don’t really know where the name Bruno Bettelheim comes in for one he is a man, but children’s terrors manifest in horrid dream as well in behavior outbursts of unimaginable terror.

Before hoing far afield, let me proceed on some linear slope not too challenging and try to reconnect that childhood angst with it’s lateral procession to the next stage, removed considerably from it’s genitally associated phase, that concerns mainly the mother’s breast and it’s later masculine co-notation. I separated that word from its usual topography, to observe the source of dissection from Freud to Jung.

But to avoid jumping ahead, leavin too drastic holes that go with the equally corrrelating the vacuous search to continue from the bubble with no exit, that innumerable keys would be too.bothersome to pick out, ,

Bruno Bettelheim (August 28, 1903 – March 13, 1990) was an Austrian-born psychologist, scholar, public intellectual and writer who spent most of his academic and clinical career in the United States. An early writer on autism, Bettelheim’s work focused on the education of emotionally disturbed children, as well as Freudian psychology more generally. In the U.S., he later gained a position as professor at the University of Chicago and director of the Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School for Disturbed Children, and after 1973 taught at Stanford University.[2]

What is Melanie Klein theory?
Klein believed that the anxiety in the paranoid-schizoid position was persecutory, threatening the annihilation of the self, and the anxiety of the second, later position was depressive, being related to fear of the harm done to loved objects by the infant’s own destructive impulses.Apr

The International Journal of
Int J Psychoanal (2009) 90:1217–1233 doi: 10.1111/j.1745-8315.2009.00190.x
Trauma theory in Sa ́ndor Ferenczi’s writings of 1931 and 19321
Miguel Gutie ́rrez Pela ́ez
Clı ́nica La Inmaculada, Carrera 7 No 68 – 70, Bogota ́ , Cundinamarca 1, Colombia –
(Final version accepted 22 April 2009)
The author states that it is Ferenczi ’s writings of 1931 and 1932 that exhibit the most conspicuous departures from Freud’s ideas and at the same time contain Ferenczi’s most original contributions. The texts concerned – Confusion of tongues between adults and the child (Ferenczi, 1932a), the Clinical Diary (Dupont, 1985), and some of the Notes and fragments (Ferenczi, 1930–32), all of which were published posthumously – present valuable and original theories on trauma which are significant not only in historical terms but also because the ideas concerned are relevant to our conception of clinical psychoanalysis today. The aim of this paper is to give an account of Ferenczi’s trauma theory as it emerges from his writings of 1931–32 and to specify the points on which he differs from Freud.
Keywords: Erschu ̈tterung, fragmentation, psychic reality, sexual abuse, splitting, trauma
It is interesting to reflect on the reasons why, in the last years of his life and career, Ferenczi came to write and produce so much material on the theory of trauma and on therapeutic practice in relation to trauma. According to Dupont (1998): ‘‘Ferenczi constructed his theory of trauma […] gradually, on the basis of clinical observations’’ (p. 236). His final contributions (as they are called in the title of Balint’s compilation) differ from his earlier works both formally and in terms of the interests that gave rise to them. The basic unity displayed by the content of the texts dating from those years fully justifies Balint’s presentation of them as a single volume entitled Final Contributions to the Problems and Methods of Psycho-analysis (Ferenczi, 1955). Each of Ferenczi’s last writings departs further than its predecessor from Freud’s ideas, and it is because of these differences that they are most original. It is precisely this part of his oeuvre that attracted the most criticism.
Ferenczi’s Clinical Diary (Dupont, 1985) and some of the Notes and fragments (1930–32) illustrate his developing ideas on trauma and the psychic mechanisms involved in it, rather than presenting finished theo- ries. Trauma is portrayed as something that occurs in the adult–child encounter and directly influences the construction of the subject’s narcis- sism.
1Translated by Philip Slotkin MA Cantab. MITI.
a 2009 Institute of Psychoanalysis
Published by Blackwell Publishing, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford, OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA on behalf of the Institute of Psychoanalysis

1218 M. Gutie ́rrez Pela ́ez
Trauma according to Confusion of tongues between adults
and the child (1932a)
In Confusion of tongues between adults and the child, Ferenczi (1932a) expands on the idea of the external origin of trauma and its effects in terms of character and neurosis; he reconsiders the role of the traumatic factor – which has in his view been set aside in psychoanalytic theory – and returns to some earlier Freudian formulations. He distinguishes two kinds of love which are here involved, the tender and the erotic current; he holds that a child is pervaded psychically, affectively and biologically by the former, while the latter is (in most cases) the exclusive province of adulthood. How- ever, some adults predisposed to psychopathology confuse the tender lan- guage of the child with the sexual desires of a mature person and allow themselves to be carried away by these with no heed for the consequences. This is precisely what the title implies, suggesting the confusion of tongues occurring in the adult in relation to what the child is expressing. The child cannot always defend himself2 or demonstrate his rejection because he is paralysed by intense fear. More specifically:
The same anxiety, however, if it reaches a certain maximum, compels them to sub- ordinate themselves like automata to the will of the aggressor, to divine each one of his desires and to gratify these; completely oblivious of themselves they identify themselves with the aggressor. Through the identification, or let us say, introjection of the aggressor, he disappears as part of the external reality, and becomes intra- instead of extra-psychic; […] the attack as a rigid external reality ceases to exist and in the traumatic trance the child succeeds in maintaining the previous situation of tenderness.
(Ferenczi, 1932a, p. 162)
In this way the child introjects the adult’s sense of guilt. What previously seemed like a game to the child, behind the sexual act or sexual abuse per- petrated by the adult, is transformed into something for which the child deserves to be punished. The child’s successful recovery from this aggres- sion, however, means that he has already effected a split, being both guilty and innocent, destroying the links with his own feelings, perceptions and sensations, and sinking into a confusional state. So the child does not defend himself, but identifies with the aggressor and introjects what appears to him to be threatening. The child’s reaction thus foreshadows the split in his personality. Elsewhere, Ferenczi (1929) develops the idea that the child confronts intense fear if his genital sensations are aroused prematurely, as his wishes are on the level not of an adult’s violent passion but of play and tender affective manifestations.
Ferenczi distinguishes three potentially traumatic situations: incestuous seductions, passionate punishment and the terrorism of suffering. As a result of the trauma: ‘‘the psychic apparatus has split: whereas a part of the child has recorded the experience, there is another part that splits off and seeks to maintain the belief that ‘nothing has happened’ ’’ (GenovØs, in JimØnez Avello,
2Translator’s note: For convenience, the masculine form is used throughout this translation for both sexes.
Int J Psychoanal (2009) 90 a 2009 Institute of Psychoanalysis

Trauma theory in Sa ́ndor Ferenczi’s writings of 1931 and 1932 1219
1998, p. 262, translated). In other words, such patients exhibit both a passive resistance to the attacks inflicted on them by the environment and a splitting of their being into a suffering, lacerated part on the one hand and a part which has made itself totally insensitive but knows everything. This idea was expressed clearly by Ferenczi (1931a) in Child-analysis in the analysis of adults:
It really seems as though, under the stress of imminent danger, part of the self splits off and becomes a psychic instance observing and desiring to help the self, and that possibly this happens in early – even the very earliest – childhood.
(p. 136)
The trauma has the effect that the child lacks mechanisms for binding the excess excitation. Ferenczi regards the traumatic factor as universal and holds that until this material is reached – it is initially accessible only through repetition and not through remembering – an analysis cannot be deemed to be finished.
Towards the end of Confusion of tongues between adults and the child, Ferenczi attempts a more precise outline of the psychic consequences of the experience of trauma. He writes:
If the shocks increase in number during the development of the child, the number and the various kinds of splits in the personality increase too, and soon it becomes extremely difficult to maintain contact without confusion with all the fragments, each of which behaves as a separate personality yet does not know of even the exis- tence of the others. Eventually it may arrive at a state which – continuing the pic- ture of fragmentation – one would be justified in calling atomization. One must possess a good deal of optimism not to lose courage when facing such a state, though I hope even here to be able to find threads that can link up the various parts.
(Ferenczi, 1932a, p. 165)
This passage throws even more light on the picture encountered by Ferenczi as he contemplates the material brought by his patients. The defence may give rise to a division of the psyche into a number of parts according to the impact and intensity of the traumas to which the child is exposed. He suggests the term atomization [Atomisierung], undertaken as a precaution against another manifestation, fragmentation [Fragmentierung], which, however, appears to correspond more to the clinical evidence. Here one can observe how this idea is progressively taking shape in his writings.
The adult uses the child for the satisfaction of his drives, whether sexual or emotional (anger or hate). The adult’s act takes the child by surprise and leaves him defenceless. The traumatic event destroys the child’s prior state of security with respect to himself and the world about him: someone who was formerly the bearer of feelings of trust for the child now removes him from his state of security and plunges him into one of total helplessness, so that the subject is traumatized and overcome instead by absolute insecurity. In consequence he submits and identifies with the aggressor. He thereby causes the aggression itself to disappear from external reality and maintains the tender situation that prevailed before the trauma, which bursts into and smashes the old order of the psychic constitution. However, Ferenczi also
a 2009 Institute of Psychoanalysis Int J Psychoanal (2009) 90

1220 M. Gutie ́rrez Pela ́ez
tells us that this in itself is not enough to produce trauma; as in Freud’s ideas on the origins of trauma, a second element is also required, which in this case is the adult’s response. In Ferenczi’s view, there are two stages in the pathologization of trauma; that is to say, the traumatic situation by itself does not necessarily result in the generation of trauma. There is a second phase, which has to do with the lack of support from the persons – in par- ticular, the mother – on whom the child depends (Dupont, 1998). With regard to this second phase, it is pointed out that: ‘‘The mother’s disap- proval as a dysfunction of language is a traumatic agent that redoubles the early beginnings, which are dysfunctions of the child’s libido’’ (Sabourin, 1984, p. 19, translated). This behaviour by adults towards the abused child bears a direct relationship to the psychic mechanism involved in the crystal- lization of the trauma.
Trauma and remembering
Ferenczi’s trauma theory as outlined above assumes additional complexity in regard to how the effects of – and on – memory and remembering should be conceived. The reaction that gives rise to the trauma is the break with reality, which results in the self-destruction of consciousness. A stoppage of thought and perception occurs, paralysing the functions of the psyche, and the impressions concerned go unrecorded, even at the unconscious level. In consequence, there will be no way of remembering what has happened. The psychic apparatus does not store any of these traumatic impressions. The outcome is a ‘split in the personality’, which locates them pretraumati- cally, denying that anything has happened, and the attitude of the adult who pretends that nothing has happened forces the subject to forget, pre- venting any possibility of working through and making for disavowal. Since nothing has been recorded so that there is no possibility of remembering or of accession of material to consciousness, what is involved plainly has noth- ing to do with repression.
Ferenczi notes that:
This generally involves a trauma suffered in early childhood, which has never been experienced consciously and therefore cannot be remembered. He presents trauma as a concussion, producing a split in the personality. In order to illustrate this split, he uses a whole series of images: splitting off of a dead part, killed by the violence of the shock, enabling thus the rest to live a normal life, but with part of the per- sonality missing and out of reach, like a sort of cyst inside the personality; or multi- ple splits under the effect of repeated shocks which may go as far as atomisation: the personality fragments in order to present a larger surface area to the shock.
(Dupont, 1998, p. 235)
The trauma appears as something unforeseen. The subject reacts with what Ferenczi calls a ‘fleeting psychosis’, a break with reality. This psy- chotic split paralyses all psychic activity. Motility becomes impossible, perception is blocked, and so is the activity of thought, inhibiting resis- tance and inducing a state of passivity: ‘‘The subject becomes malleable and reacts with fragmentation or even atomization of the personality’’ (Dupont, 1998, p. 236).
Int J Psychoanal (2009) 90 a 2009 Institute of Psychoanalysis

Trauma theory in Sa ́ndor Ferenczi’s writings of 1931 and 1932 1221
By this identification with the person responsible for the aggression, the psyche guarantees its own existence. It thereby finds a way of surviving the ill-treatment. In addition, it succeeds in preserving the ‘good’ image of the adult. These types of aggression are serious; they are like rapes or pas- sionate punishments – in particular, punishments for misdeeds the child does not think he has committed. Although he does not consider them to be his own, the child finds it necessary to identify with the aggressor in order to maintain this good image, which is of fundamental importance to him. By virtue of the split, he becomes a child who is at one and the same time innocent and guilty. The adult, for his part – prompted either by his guilt or by the pressing need to avoid the consequences of his act – denies the facts, and this intensifies the effects of the trauma and causes the child to distrust his own feelings.
In some of the posthumously published Notes and fragments (1930–32), Ferenczi spells out the effects of trauma on the psyche. For instance:
‘Shock’ = annihilation of self-regard – of the ability to put up a resistance, and to act and think in defence of one’s own self; perhaps even the organs which secure self-preservation give up their function or reduce it to a minimum. (The word Erschütterung is derived from schütten, i.e. to become ‘unfest, unsolid’, to lose one’s own form and to adopt easily and without resistance, an imposed form [‘like a sack of flour’].)
(Ferenczi, 1932b, pp. 253–4)
Self-abandonment is the person’s response to the traumatic situation. Sub- jectivity lies in ruins, and the person is destroyed, having totally surrendered to the ‘other’ who perpetrated the aggression.
It can be seen that the ‘shock’ to which Ferenczi refers has the particular feature that it always occurs when the victim is unprepared. Having previ- ously been pervaded by a sense of security, the child then loses trust in him- self and the world, either partially or completely. The unpleasure to which this psychic shock gives rise proves impossible to overcome; in other words, the child is unable to deploy a defence that will act on the world about him (i.e. alloplastically) and thereby eliminate the cause of the suffering, nor can he produce a representation matching the suffering whereby some kind of working through or processing might be possible. The trauma immediately results in an overflowing of anxiety in the form of a sense of helplessness that stands in the way of any positive reaction to the situation, such as fight or flight in relation to the external danger. Hence:
Unpleasure increases and demands ‘outlet’. Self-destruction as releasing some anxi- ety is preferred to silent toleration. Easiest to destroy in ourselves is the cs – the integration of mental images into a unit […]. Disorientation […]
(Ferenczi, 1931b, p. 249)
Ferenczi notes that an unexpected traumatic situation can have a certain anaesthetic effect, which he sees as the complete or partial cessation of psy- chic activity and the generation of a state of passivity that precludes resis- tance of any kind. Motility, perception, and thought come to a halt. By virtue of this loss of perception, the personality finds itself totally unprotected.
a 2009 Institute of Psychoanalysis Int J Psychoanal (2009) 90

1222 M. Gutie ́rrez Pela ́ez
The outcome is a form of psychic paralysis with the following conse-
(1) the course of sensory paralysis becomes and remains permanently interrupted; (2) while the sensory paralysis lasts every mechanical and mental impression is taken up without any resistance; and (3) no memory traces of such impressions remain, even in the unconscious, and thus the causes of the trauma cannot be recalled from memory traces.
(Ferenczi, 1931b, p. 240)
To gain access to these causes, Ferenczi thinks it necessary to repeat the trauma in benign, more favourable circumstances, so that it can in this way be perceived by the subject for the first time and thereby find a channel for motor discharge.
Ferenczi’s keen interpretation and theorization of trauma differs signifi- cantly from Freud’s first trauma theory and presents ideas that enrich our understanding of the symptoms and suffering of traumatized patients as insistently manifested in clinical consultations.
Conflicts between Freud and Ferenczi over Ferenczi’s trauma theory
While bearing in mind the foregoing considerations, let us now go back a little and take another look at the reasons for Freud’s negative reaction to the presentation of Ferenczi’s paper Confusion of tongues between adults and the child (1932a). What was it in Freud’s conception of trauma and psychic reality in 1932 that made the ideas expressed by Ferenczi in that contribu- tion so unacceptable to him? Did the notion of ‘reality’ account fully for the dispute, or was there something more?
That paper by Ferenczi was the opening contribution at the XIIth Con- gress of Psychoanalysis, held in Wiesbaden, Germany, on 12 September 1932. Ferenczi presented it to an audience of psychoanalysts who were active at the time – not, however, including Freud, who did not attend owing apparently to ill health. Although Freud did not hear the presenta- tion, he was familiar with it from Ferenczi’s own mouth, Ferenczi having read it to him at his home some time before. Freud’s response was devastat- ing: he instantly rejected it. Dupont describes what happened as follows:
Ferenczi stopped off at Vienna to read Freud the paper he was to present at the Congress, ‘Confusion of Tongues between Adults and the Child’. It was a painful encounter, in which mutual incomprehension between the two men came to a head. Freud, deeply shocked by the contents of the paper, demanded that Ferenczi refrain from publishing anything until he had reconsidered the position he put forth in it.
(Dupont, 1985, pp. xvi–xvii)
Ferenczi gave his paper nevertheless, but was most dismayed by this con- tretemps, as his letters to Freud (in Falzeder and Brabant, 2000, pp. 442–3) and Groddeck (in Ferenczi and Groddeck, 2002) suggest.
Among the analysts who did hear the presentation at the Congress were ‘‘Anna Freud, Federn, Alexander, Jekels, Jones, de Groot, Brunswick, Simmel, Hμrnick, Bonaparte, Sterba, Reik, Balint, Deutsch, Rado, Weiss,
Int J Psychoanal (2009) 90 a 2009 Institute of Psychoanalysis

Trauma theory in Sa ́ndor Ferenczi’s writings of 1931 and 1932 1223
Odier, Glover, Roheim, Menninger, de Saussure’’ (Masson, 1984, p. 151). The rejection of the paper was general, the discontent to which it gave rise being attributed to the new methods presented, the implications of a return to the seduction theory, the focus on infantile sexual abuse, the emphasis on work- ing with difficult cases, and the manifest break with Freud’s thought. Yet this was not the beginning of the Freud–Ferenczi conflict, which can probably be traced back to the publication of The Development of Psychoanalysis, published jointly by Ferenczi and Rank in 1924 (Ferenczi and Rank, 1924).
On the other hand, it is odd that this 1932 contribution in particular should have caused such a stir, because, even if it marks an important turn- ing point in Ferenczi’s work, it is not inconsistent with the trend of the rest of his oeuvre. Starting with his pre-analytic writings, Ferenczi had expressed his interest in difficult cases and presented unorthodox ideas on psychiatry and technical innovations for the treatment of his patients, all prior to the commencement of his relationship with Freud.3
Many of the commentators on the dispute between Freud and Ferenczi over Confusion of tongues between adults and the child concentrate on ele- ments of countertransference between the two analysts. However, with regard to Freud’s rejection of Ferenczi’s contribution, the point most authors emphasize is surely the return to Freud’s first theory of neurosis. It is considered that Freud’s trauma theory, which featured in his early writ- ings and held sway until he developed his concept of psychical reality, had been left behind by Freud’s later formulations. Ferenczi thus seemed to be reviving and putting forward conceptions that had been superseded by psycho- analysis at the very beginning of the century. The fact that Ferenczi too was to some extent aware of the presence of such elements in his thought is sug- gested by his letter to Freud of 20 July 1930:
Somewhat more prematurely than you, Herr Professor, but I, too, am occupying myself greatly with the problem of death, naturally, likewise in connection with my own fate and its chances for the future. A part of my bodily self-love seems to have sublimated itself into scientific interest, and this subjective factor has sensitized me, I believe, to psychic and other processes in our neurotics, which are playing them- selves out in moments of real or supposed lethal danger. That was certainly the way in which I came to freshen up the apparently antiquated (at least temporarily cast- aside) trauma theory.
(Falzeder and Brabant, 2000, p. 396)
Tellingly, Freud was not scandalized by this letter – so it is not at all clear that the ideas advanced in Ferenczi’s paper were in fact dismissed out of hand by Freud. Indeed, as will be shown below, Freud himself continued to adduce these notions in his writings and lectures subsequent to the supposed abandonment of the seduction theory.
As we know, before 1897 Freud had developed a theory of the aetiology of neurosis that included hereditary factors, concomitant circumstances and specific causes, among these last being active seductions of infants by adults. Subsequently, as he recounts in On the history of the psycho-analytic move-
3See, for example, his 1902 contribution Homosexualitas feminina (Ferenczi, 2002).
a 2009 Institute of Psychoanalysis Int J Psychoanal (2009) 90

1224 M. Gutie ́rrez Pela ́ez
ment, he abandoned this theory in favour of the concept of psychical reality.
He writes:
Influenced by Charcot’s view of the traumatic origin of hysteria, one was readily inclined to accept as true and aetiologically significant the statements made by patients in which they ascribed their symptoms to passive sexual experiences in the first years of childhood – to put it bluntly, to seduction. When this aetiology broke down under the weight of its own improbability and contradiction in definitely ascertainable circumstances, the result at first was helpless bewilderment. Analysis had led back to these infantile sexual traumas by the right path, and yet they were not true. The firm ground of reality was gone. […] [However, if] hysterical subjects trace back their symptoms to traumas that are fictitious, then the new fact which emerges is precisely that they create such scenes in phantasy, and this psychical real- ity requires to be taken into account alongside practical reality. This reflection was soon followed by the discovery that these phantasies were intended to cover up the auto-erotic activity of the first years of childhood, to embellish it and raise it to a higher plane. And now, from behind the phantasies, the whole range of a child’s sexual life came to light.
(Freud, 1914, pp. 17–8)
For Ferenczi, Freud’s discovery that his female neurotic patients lied was catastrophic:
According to Ferenczi, Freud, who initially followed Breuer with great enthusiasm, has been irremediably disappointed by the discovery that hysterics lie. Since then he no longer loves his patients. He again becomes a materialistic, scientific investigator (entry of 1 May) emotionally detached from psychoanalysis, which he approaches henceforth on a purely intellectual level.
(Dupont, 1985, p. xxiv)
Ferenczi’s commentators readily assert that Freud abandoned the trau- matic seduction theory before 1900, but his subsequent references to it are at any rate then omitted. Yet it is insufficient to argue that Freud’s dismissal was attributable to Ferenczi’s revival of his own early seduction theory. After all, on the one hand, a detailed reading of Ferenczi’s contributions from this period – in particular, his Wiesbaden paper – clearly indicates that Ferenczi was producing other things (as the previous paragraph and the next one show), and, on the other, Freud’s writings reflect the vicissitudes of his understanding of the objective reality involved in traumatic experiences. It is therefore important to review the most significant occasions when Freud returns to the effect of objective reality on the production of trauma.
The most decisive passage is to be found in From the history of an infantile neurosis (‘Wolf Man’) (Freud, 1918), where Freud writes:
I must here turn for a moment to the history of the treatment. When once the Grusha scene had been assimilated – the first experience that he could really remem- ber, and one which he had remembered without any conjectures or intervention on my part – the problem of the treatment had every appearance of having been solved. From that time forward there were no more resistances; all that remained to be done was to collect and to co-ordinate. The old trauma theory of the neuroses, which was after all built up upon impressions gained from psycho-analytic practice, had suddenly come to the front once more.
(pp. 94–5)
Int J Psychoanal (2009) 90 a 2009 Institute of Psychoanalysis

Trauma theory in Sa ́ndor Ferenczi’s writings of 1931 and 1932 1225
According to Sabourin, at times Freud seems to reject any revisiting of the old trauma theory (as in the case of Schreber), whereas elsewhere he does apparently return to it, as ‘‘for example in 1924 when he confirms that seduction ‘retains a certain aetiological importance, and even to-day I think some of these psychological comments are to the point’ ’’ (Sabourin, 1984, p. 17, translated). Sabourin is referring to a footnote added by Freud in 1924 to his 1896 text Further remarks on the neuro-psychoses of defence, in which Freud treats seduction as a concrete act and not as a phantasy or masquerade. The 1924 footnote reads:
This section is dominated by an error which I have since repeatedly acknowledged and corrected. At that time I was not yet able to distinguish between my patients’ phantasies about their childhood years and their real recollections. As a result, I attributed to the aetiological factor of seduction a significance and universality which it does not possess. When this error had been overcome, it became possible to obtain an insight into the spontaneous manifestations of the sexuality of children which I described in my Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905d). Neverthe- less, we need not reject everything written in the text above. Seduction retains a cer- tain aetiological importance, and even to-day I think some of these psychological comments are to the point.
(Freud, 1896, p. 168)
This shows that Freud did not adopt a definitive position vis-à-vis the seduction theory. Furthermore, ‘‘in some of the letters to Fliess, censored by Freud’s official followers, Max Schur found details that help us to under- stand the magnitude of Freud’s conflict in this connection. Unlike his suc- cessors, Freud never inclined towards definitive opinions for or against the seduction theory’’ (Sabourin, 1984, p. 15, translated).
Although the existence of this dispute about the reality of a trauma is not in doubt, the old trauma theory is seen not to be conceptually aban- doned by Freud – far from it. Hence there must necessarily be ‘some- thing more’ in Ferenczi’s 1932 text that aroused Freud’s ire. There is indeed a less noticed aspect of the Freud–Ferenczi polemic about Confu- sion of tongues, which has to do with the drive element, and which could be expressed as follows: whereas for Freud there is a deadly component in every subject, for Ferenczi this component is attributable to the ‘other’; it comes about owing to the traumatic effect of the other’s action, and if this were not the case there would, in his view, be no reason for it to be unleashed.
However, on this point too, Freud presents different ideas at different times. At the end of the Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (Freud, 1905, p. 234), he writes:
‘‘The external influences of seduction are capable of provoking interrup- tions of the latency period or even its cessation, and […] in this connection the sexual instinct of children proves in fact to be polymorphously per- verse’’. (This passage is quoted by Sabourin, 1984, p. 14.) External traumatic factors, such as adult seduction of infants, can have catastrophic effects on the development of the libido, holding it back, delaying it, or diverting it into other channels.
a 2009 Institute of Psychoanalysis Int J Psychoanal (2009) 90

1226 M. Gutie ́rrez Pela ́ez
In a footnote to The Ego and the Id, Freud writes:
The battle with the obstacle of an unconscious sense of guilt is not made easy for the analyst. Nothing can be done against it directly, and nothing indirectly but the slow procedure of unmasking its unconscious repressed roots, and of thus gradually changing it into a conscious sense of guilt. […] it must be honestly confessed that here we have another limitation to the effectiveness of analysis; after all, analysis does not set out to make pathological reactions impossible, but to give the patient’s ego freedom to decide one way or the other.
(Freud, 1923, p. 50)
Freud here comes up against a barrier to psychoanalysis – a point beyond which it is impossible to advance further. The unconscious sense of guilt is for him a deadly aspect of the death drive that has always been present and cannot be eliminated by psychoanalysis.
When Ferenczi discusses the death drive, he links it to the concept of guilt – a concept on which both Ferenczi and Freud wrote at length:
The notion of the traumatolytic function of dreams, which proved so useful for understanding repetitive dreams, [was] an original idea of Freud’s that was further developed by Ferenczi and reinstated by the master in 1931 in the first of his New Introductory Lectures; the privileged locus of the repetitions of trauma ‘of which the patient himself was hitherto unaware’ is related by Ferenczi to his guilt.
(Sabourin, 1984, p. 14, translated)
Ferenczi had addressed this idea of the activation of the death drive by the other in The adaptation of the family to the child (Ferenczi, 1928) and The unwelcome child and his death instinct (Ferenczi, 1929).
The above considerations throw light on the debate concerning the Freud–Ferenczi dispute of the 1930s. The argument that Freud’s anger with Ferenczi was due to the latter’s having revived his early trauma the- ory is seen not to explain Freud’s reaction. Again, it is found that the innovations introduced by Ferenczi in his text were accepted neither by Freud nor by the contemporary psychoanalytic community. Lastly, dis- agreement – not unrelated to the variations in Freud’s theory at different times – is observed with regard to the unleashing of the death drive for, where Freud regards it as something structural and necessary that has always lain in wait, Ferenczi considers that the overflowing of the death drive results from the action of the other, an action that is traumatic because it exceeds the capacity of the infant’s ego to register it within the framework of his own experience.
Trauma in the Clinical diary
When Ferenczi says that there is a confusion of tongues, one must ask: what is it that is being confused? It is found that it is the child’s language of ten- derness that is being confused with adult erotic language. This confusion has a number of consequences, which are in outline as follows:
i. There is a state of affairs in which a trusted adult turns into an aggres- sor and destroys the child’s security.
ii. The child becomes paralysed by intense fear.
Int J Psychoanal (2009) 90 a 2009 Institute of Psychoanalysis

Trauma theory in Sa ́ndor Ferenczi’s writings of 1931 and 1932 1227
iii. The child identifies with the aggressor (at the same time introjecting the aggressor, who disappears as an external entity and becomes intra- psychic). The child wishes to gratify his attacker.
iv. In this way the child succeeds in maintaining the former situation and preserves the good image of the adult.
v. The child introjects the adult’s sense of guilt.
vi. Owing to his guilt, the child feels that his act deserves punishment.
vii. The child is already divided, owing to his opposing feelings: he feels at one and the same time innocent and guilty. He is cut off from his own affective states and is pervaded by confusion. One part has recorded the experience, while another seeks to maintain the idea that nothing has happened.
viii. The adult’s response is a contributory factor to the generation of trauma.
Ferenczi invokes three potentially traumatic situations: incestuous seduc- tions, passionate punishments and the terrorism of suffering: Erschütterung. This German word is used repeatedly by Ferenczi throughout his late writings, for instance, in Über Erschütterung [‘On shock’] (Ferenczi, 1932b) and Zur Revision der Traumdeutung [‘On the revision of the interpretation of dreams’] (Ferenczi, 1932c), both published in Volume 4 of his complete works in Ger- man, Bausteine zur Psychoanalyse (Ferenczi, 1940). The word is usually trans- lated as ‘shock’, or rendered directly as ‘psychic shock’, and is derived, as Ferenczi explains, from ‘‘schütten, i.e. to become ‘unfest, unsolid’, to lose one’s own form and to adopt easily and without resistance, an imposed form (‘like a sack of flour’)’’ (Ferenczi, 1932b, p. 254). According to the dictionary of Rou- dinesco and Plon (1998), in the entry on ‘traumatic neuroses’, Freud uses the term Erschütterung in Beyond the Pleasure Principle (Freud, 1920) to denote the somatic character of trauma and Schreck [fright] for its psychic aspect.
Ferenczi refers to traumas or shocks occurring in early infancy (the first years of life). The level of the trauma depends on how early it takes place and on its impact:
The stronger and more destructive the suffering – perhaps also the earlier in life it had to be endured, thus determining an orientation – the larger the circle of inter- ests that must be drawn around the center of the suffering in order to make it seem meaningful, or even naturally inevitable.
(Dupont, 1985, pp. 31–2)
Later in the same text, Ferenczi writes:
A helpless child is mistreated, for example, through hunger. What happens when the suffering increases and exceeds the small person’s powers of comprehension? Collo- quial usage describes what follows by the expression ‘the child comes to be beside itself’’. The symptoms of being beside oneself (seen from the outside) are: absence of reaction with regard to sensitivity, generalized muscle cramps, often followed by generalized paralysis (‘being gone’). If I am to believe what my patients report about similar states, this ‘being gone’ is not necessarily a state of ‘not-being’, but rather one of ‘not-being-here’.
(Dupont, 1985, p. 32)
a 2009 Institute of Psychoanalysis Int J Psychoanal (2009) 90

1228 M. Gutie ́rrez Pela ́ez
The trauma is thus connected with this self-abandonment. This impacts on how the event is remembered, as what has happened appears to be alien to the person himself: there is an externality about the suffering, as if it were being inflicted on someone else, and that is how the material enters con- sciousness, without any integration involving the patient. Ferenczi also sug- gests that schizophrenia is bound up with traumas sustained before the constitution of the personality.4
The fact that the child’s adjustment to the environment is both untimely and imposed on him can also have traumatic effects (Dupont, 1985, p. 114). Not only indifference and aggression, but also excessive tenderness – that is, either an excess or a deficiency of these – has adverse effects on a child and may lead to a tendency to regress. For a child, Ferenczi holds, an excess of libidinal passion or its exaggerated expression can only be felt as aggression. The imposition of untimely forms of satisfaction on the child disturbs nor- mal ego development, requiring the ego to confront tasks for which it is not equipped, being neither psychically nor emotionally mature enough to cope with them (Dupont, 1985, p. 189).
Ferenczi makes a further distinction between what he calls paternal and maternal hypnosis (the two concepts having been introduced in his paper Introjection and transference [Ferenczi, 1909]):
Suggestibility, therefore, is actually the result of shock: paternal hypnosis equals fear of being killed, maternal hypnosis equals fear of being abandoned by the mother, that is, the threat that the libido will be withdrawn; the latter feels just as deadly as an aggressive threat to life. But the most frightful of frights is when the threat from the father is coupled with simultaneous desertion by the mother.
(Dupont, 1985, p. 18)
These last two components, acting in unison, have the most catastrophic effects on the infant’s psyche. Traumas will then impinge on a psyche that has fragmented. Ferenczi likens ‘‘when the anticathexis of the sensory organs is absent’’ (Dupont, 1985, p. 46). In this way, the resulting traumatic impres- sion [Eindruck] can make its way without any resistance into the psyche, where it installs itself in the manner of a suggestion – that is, leaving the individual in a permanent state of hypnosis. The absence of countercathexis clearly influences the effect of the trauma. Ferenczi explains in his Clinical Diary (Dupont, 1985) what he means by being lost, which has to do with deception: a person’s words convey the illusion that something is going to happen, but what actually occurs is something else or indeed the opposite of what was expected. So the anticipated representation of the situation does not correspond to what happens in reality. It is this state of being lost or confused that is observed in the subject between surprise at the unexpected situation and subsequent adaptation. In children, however, the trauma occurs at times when no adult is available to repair the damage, but adapta- tion to the new situation is nevertheless called for:
4‘‘Schizophrenia is a ‘photochemical’ mimicry reaction, instead of self-assertion (revenge, defense). (Dm.: schizophrenics were affected by trauma before they possessed a personality.)’’ (Dupont, 1985, p. 150).
Int J Psychoanal (2009) 90 a 2009 Institute of Psychoanalysis

Trauma theory in Sa ́ndor Ferenczi’s writings of 1931 and 1932 1229
If the trauma strikes the soul, or the body, unprepared, that is, without countercath- exis, then its effect is destructive for body and mind, that is, it disrupts through fragmentation […]. In the psychic sphere, the intruding force, in the absence of a solid countercathexis, produces a kind of explosion, a destruction of psychic associ- ations between the systems and psychic contents, which may reach down to the deepest elements of perception.
(Dupont, 1985, pp. 69–70)
A number of aspects of Ferenczi’s conception of splitting and fragmenta- tion suggest that he sees splitting (in the sense of Spaltung) as a normal pro- cess, constitutive of the psyche and linked to loss, in which we encounter the first disappointments of love, related to weaning, sphincter control, punish- ment, education, etc. However, subsequent traumas and the absence of an appropriate environment and of adults who can accompany the child and help him to understand what is happening to him give rise to what Ferenczi calls the atomization of his personality. Ferenczi thus wonders: ‘‘But what is this being intolerable? Surely nothing else but continuing to live in a dis- torted inner (psychic) or outer reality’’ (ibid., p. 192). Although the necessity of existing in fragmented, atomized form appears as a defence that allows the subject to go on living, it entails enormous and unbearable pain.
In Ferenczi’s view, any psychic defence, whether neurotic or psychotic, leads in effect to the death of parts of the psyche:
Whenever an emotional reaction is suppressed, interrupted, or repressed, something is actually destroyed in us. The annihilated part of the person falls into a state of decay and decomposes. Should the entire person be prevented from acting, then generalized decomposition ensues, that is to say, death. […] Total disintegration (death) is just as impossible for it as coming back to life through the influx of vital energies.
(Dupont, 1985, p. 88)
Trauma thus appears as a process of dissolution that tends towards death. That is why Ferenczi sees both neurotics and psychotics as being in the throes of a chronic death agony. The task of analysis, therefore, is fully to discover the nature of this death agony which patients carry with them, while also making them feel that in spite of everything there is value in continuing to live – that it is worth existing.
For this reason, with regard to the treatment of these traumatized patients, Ferenczi emphasizes the importance of reaching the traumatic material. This can be explained as follows: at first, the trauma is accessible only by repetition, since it exists solely as ‘something lived’; however, it is possible to relive it during analysis and turn it into an ‘experience’, the out- come being the union of the fragmented parts of the personality.
The following quotation from Ferenczi will help us to understand the nat- ure of trauma:
What is trauma? ‘Concussion’, reaction to an ‘unbearable’ external or internal stim- ulus in an autoplastic manner (modifying the self) instead of an alloplastic manner (modifying the stimulus). A neoformation of the self is impossible without the pre- vious destruction, either partial or total, or dissolution of the former self. A new ego cannot be formed directly from the previous ego, but from fragments, more or less elementary products of its disintegration. (Splitting, atomization.) The relative
a 2009 Institute of Psychoanalysis Int J Psychoanal (2009) 90

1230 M. Gutie ́rrez Pela ́ez
strength of the ‘unbearable’ excitation determines the degree and depth of the ego’s
(Dupont, 1985, p. 181)
This passage further clarifies Ferenczi’s previous statements that the fac- tors which determine the depth of psychic fragmentation are the strength, insistence and intensity of the excitation. The earlier state to which the psy- chic fragments resulting from the subject’s reaction to the trauma have given rise is completely changed. The fragmentation has to do with adaptation, in that it is precisely this which allows the subject to preserve the continuity of his existence.
Another question-and-answer passage points in the same direction:
What is traumatic: an attack or its consequences? The adaptive potential ‘response’ of even very young children to sexual or other passionate attacks is much greater than one would imagine. Traumatic confusion arises mainly because the attack and the response to it are denied by the guilt-ridden adults, indeed, are treated as deserving punishment.
(Dupont, 1985, p. 178)
Hence the child’s attempt to adapt – that is, to make changes in his own psyche so as to confer meaning on, and respond to, the traumatic event – fails since it is not capable of maintaining a favourable state of affairs, because he is blamed both by the environment and by the people from whom he expects love and affection.
It is clear from the foregoing that Ferenczi’s writings on trauma diverge appreciably from Freud’s views while making an original contribution to psychoanalytic theory; at the same time, they provide a wealth of valuable indications for clinical practice. Throughout his final texts, Ferenczi argues that trauma is caused by the following state of affairs. A trusted adult turns into an aggressor, destroys the child’s security and paralyses him with fear. To preserve the former situation, the child identifies with the aggressor, in- trojecting him, causing him to disappear as an external threat, and convert- ing him into an intrapsychic entity. In this way he succeeds in maintaining the image of the adult prior to the aggression. The child introjects the adult’s guilt and comes to feel that his act deserves punishment. The response of another adult – e.g. the mother – to this aggression, be it denial, approval, understanding or otherwise, will be decisive in determining whether the outcome is traumatic. This response will be the basis on which the child will be able to start working through what has happened to him, or, conversely, on which he will disavow what he himself has lived through. The effect of trauma is fragmentation of the psyche; the difference between fragmentation and splitting is one of degree, and it depends on the insis- tency of the trauma whether a state of splitting leads on to fragmentation.
As a result of the psychic shock [Erschütterung] represented by the trauma, it remains unrecorded, even in the unconscious, and the traumatic element has to do with the impossibility of remembering. A stoppage of
Int J Psychoanal (2009) 90 a 2009 Institute of Psychoanalysis

Trauma theory in Sa ́ndor Ferenczi’s writings of 1931 and 1932 1231
thought takes place, preventing the recording of any perception, and the person sinks into a state of passivity without putting up any kind of resis- tance. Analytic treatment must therefore make it possible for the patient to experience for the first time what he lived through traumatically.
Ferenczi and Freud quarrelled about trauma theory because, for Freud, Ferenczi was resuscitating a theory he had left behind in the development of psychoanalysis. Yet the dispute relates not only to the reality of trauma (as opposed to psychic reality), but also to the appearance and operation of the death drive, which for Freud is always present, whereas for Ferenczi it is triggered by a disorder of the environment or of another person. In Freud’s case, certain passages in his works clearly indicate that he by no means ever completely discarded the trauma theory of his early writings.
Ferenczi’s oeuvre occupies an enormously important place in the history of psychoanalysis and can throw light on the development of our disci- pline and present-day clinical practice. The last few years have witnessed a resurgence of interest in his writings among the psychoanalytic commu- nity, and the resulting advances have demonstrated the value of his insights to the full. His writings address fundamental psychoanalytic issues, relevant to both classical and contemporary psychoanalysis, with formulations that did not occur to others working at the same time. Fur- thermore, it was left to a whole new generation of analysts – even though most of them do not mention him – to bring analytic research to bear on these problems once again. As María Luisa MuÇoz de la Cruz rightly pointed out in her opening address to the 1998 Congress on Ferenczi in Madrid:
It seems to me that I speak for all of us in saying that what unites us at this wide- ranging symposium is not so much agreement or disagreement with Ferenczi’s con- tributions, on the level of both theory and technique, as, above all, a communion with his ‘psychoanalytic passion’, his passion for psychoanalytic knowledge and research through, and in particular, on clinical work.
(MuÇoz de la Cruz, 1998, p. 9, translated)
What is important in Ferenczi’s oeuvre, then, is not whether his solutions were right or wrong, but the issues raised in his writings, which are funda- mental and remain unresolved to this day, and which stem from his clinical and analytic commitment.
Translations of summary
Traumatheorie in Sa ́ndor Ferenczis Schriften von 1931 und 1932. Der Autor vertritt die Ansicht, dass Ferenczis Schriften von 1931 und 1932 die auffälligsten Abweichungen von Freuds Überlegungen enthalten und gleichzeitig Ferenczis originärste Beiträge darstellen. Die betreffenden Texte – ‘‘Sprach- verwirrung zwischen den Erwachsenen und dem Kind’’ (1932), Das klinische Tagebuch (1985) und einige weitere Schriften, die allesamt postum verçffentlicht wurden – , enthalten wertvolle und originäre Traumatheorien, die nicht nur in historischer Hinsicht wichtig sind, sondern Überlegungen enthalten, die Relevanz für unsere heutige Konzeption der klinischen Psychoanalyse besitzen. Der Autor beschreibt die Entwicklung von Ferenczis Traumatheorie anhand der Schriften von 1931–32 und spezifiziert diejenigen Aspekte, in denen Ferenczi von Freud abweicht.
Teor ́ıa del trauma en los escritos de Sa ́ndor Ferenczi de 1931 y 1932. Los escritos de Ferenczi de 1931 y 1932 son los que mμs se alejan de Freud y los que presentan sus desarrollos mμs originales. Es-
a 2009 Institute of Psychoanalysis Int J Psychoanal (2009) 90

1232 M. Gutie ́rrez Pela ́ez
tos escritos (‘Confusión de lengua entre e adulto y el niÇo’ (1932), Diario clínico (1932), ‘Notas sobre traumatismo’ (1934), y ‘Notas y Fragmentos’ (1934), todos publicados póstumamente) presentan teorías valiosas y originales sobre el trauma y el traumatismo las cuales son pertinentes no sólo por su valor histórico, sino porque brindan elementos para pensar la clínica psicoanalítica de hoy. El presente trabajo se propone explicar la teoría del trauma en los escritos de Ferenczi de 1931–32, precisando sus puntos de distanciamiento con Freud.
La the ́orie du traumatisme dans les e ́crits de Sa ́ndor Ferenczi de 1931 et 1932. L’auteur Øtablit que ce sont les Øcrits de Ferenczi de 1931 et 1932 qui se rØv lent les points de divergence les plus mani- festes d’avec les idØes de Freud et qui, en mÞme temps, contiennent les contributions les plus originales de Ferenczi. Les textes concernØs ‘Confusion de langue entre les adultes et les enfants’ (1932a), le Journal clinique (publiØ en 1985 sous la direction Øditoriale de Dupont) et quelques uns des ‘Notes et fragments’ (1930–32) – toutes oeuvres publiØes à titre posthume – prØsentent des thØories originales et de valeur sur le traumatisme qui sont significatives non seulement du point de vue historique mais aussi car les idØes concernØes sont pertinentes pour notre conception de la psychanalyse clinique contemporaine. Le but de cet article est de rendre compte de la thØorie du traumatisme de Ferenczi telle qu’elle ressort de ses Øcrits de 1931–32 et de prØciser les points selon lesquels il diff re de Freud.
Teor ́ıa del trauma negli scritti di Sa ́ndor Ferenczi del 1931 e 1932. L’autore sostiene che, all’in- terno dell’opera di Ferenczi, sono gli scritti del 1931 e 1932 a dimostrare particolarmente la pi cospicua divergenza dalle idee freudiane. Secondo l’autore questi scritti contengono i pi originali contributi di Ferenczi. I testi in questione, ‘Confusione delle lingue tra adulti e bambini’ (1932a), ‘Diario clinico’ (1985) e alcuni scritti in ‘Note e frammenti’ (1930–32) (tutti pubblicati postumi) contengono validi e originali concetti teorici sul trauma. Questi sono significativi non solo dal punto di vista storico ma anche perchØ si tratta di idee concernenti l’attuale prassi psicoanalitica. Scopo di questo lavoro passare in rassegna la teoria del trauma di Ferenczi che emerge dalle opere del 1931–32 e evidenziare gli elementi di divergenza con il pensiero freudiano.
Dupont J, editor (1985). The clinical diary of Sa ́ndor Ferenczi, Balint M, Zarday Jackson N, trans- lators. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1988. [Ferenczi S (1932). Journal clinique (janvier–octobre 1932). Paris: Payot.]
Dupont J (1998). The concept of trauma according to Ferenczi and its effects on subsequent psycho- analytical research. Int Forum Psychoanal 7:235–40.
Falzeder E, Brabant E, editors (2000). The correspondence of Sigmund Freud and Sa ́ndor Ferenczi vol. 3, 1920–1933. Cambridge, MA: Belknap.
Ferenczi S (1902). Homosexualitas feminina. Gyo ́gya ́szat 11:167–8.
Ferenczi S (1909). Introjection and transference. In: First contributions to psycho-analysis, Jones E,
translator, 35–93. London: Hogarth, 1952.
Ferenczi S (1928). The adaptation of the family to the child. In: Ferenczi, 1955, 61–76.
Ferenczi S (1929). The unwelcome child and his death instinct. In: Ferenczi, 1955, 102–7.
Ferenczi S (1930–32). Notes and fragments. In: Ferenczi, 1955, 216–79. [Including Ferenczi, 1931b,
1932b, 1932c.]
Ferenczi S (1931a). Child-analysis in the analysis of adults. In: Ferenczi, 1955, 126–42.
Ferenczi S (1931b). Trauma and anxiety. In: Ferenczi, 1955, 249–50.
Ferenczi S (1932a). Confusion of tongues between adults and the child. In: Ferenczi, 1955, 156–67. Ferenczi S (1932b). On shock [Uber Erschu ̈ tterung]. In: Ferenczi, 1955, 253–4.
Ferenczi S (1932c). On the revision of the interpretation of dreams [Zur Revision der Traumdeutung].
In: Ferenczi, 1955, 240.
Ferenczi S (1940). Bausteine zur Psychoanalyse. IV. Band: Gedenkartikel, Kritiken und Referate,
Fragmente. Berne: Hans Huber.
Ferenczi S (1955). Final contributions to the problems and methods of psycho-analysis, Balint M, edi-
tor, Mosbacher et al., translators. London: Hogarth.
Ferenczi S, Groddeck G (2002). The Sa ́ndor Ferenczi – Georg Groddeck correspondence 1921–
1933. Fortune C, editor. London: Open Gate Press.
Ferenczi S, Rank O (1924). The development of psychoanalysis. Newton C, translator. Madison, CT:
International UP, 1986.
Freud S (1896). Further remarks on the neuro-psychoses of defence. SE 3, 157–85. Freud S (1905). Three essays on the theory of sexuality. SE 7, 123–246.
Freud S (1914). On the history of the psycho-analytic movement. SE 14, 1–66. Freud S (1918). From the history of an infantile neurosis (‘Wolf Man’). SE 17, 1–124. Freud S (1920). Beyond the pleasure principle. SE 18, 1–64.
Int J Psychoanal (2009) 90 a 2009 Institute of Psychoanalysis

Trauma theory in Sa ́ndor Ferenczi’s writings of 1931 and 1932 1233
Freud S (1923). The ego and the id. SE 19, 1–66.
Jime ́ nez Avello J (with Genove ́ s A) (1998). Para leer a Ferenczi [Reading Ferenczi]. Madrid: Biblio-
teca nueva.
Masson JM (1984). The assault on truth: Freud’s suppression of the seduction theory. London: Faber
& Faber.
Mun ̃ oz de la Cruz ML (1998). El ‘diario clı ́nico’. Interdependencia entre la clı ́nica y la te ́ cnica psico-
analı ́tica. Acuerdos y diferencias [The ‘clinical diary’: Interdependence of clinical work and tech- nique in psychoanalysis. Points of agreement and differences]. Rev Psicoana ́l Asoc Psicoanal Madrid 28:9–14.
Roudinesco E, Plon M (1997). Dictionnaire de la psychanalyse. Paris: Fayard.
Sabourin P (1984). Prefacio. Visir secreto y cabeza de turco [Foreword. Secret vizier and Turk’s
head]. In: Ferenczi S. Diario clı ́nico [Clinical diary], 11–20. Buenos Aires: Amorrortu

At this point it’s wort while to compare Anna Freud with others: particularly Melonie Klein, barring offense on doing independent study, retrospectively with bee on the evolution of the ladder of structural live of a synchrotonic singularly, existential description toward the ladder of love, so mystically circumscribed.

We have published a revised version of our Privacy Statement. Please read these updated terms and take some time to understand them. Learn more
Got it
skip to main content
Log In
Psychoanalysis (Division 39) Search Menu
Home // Div. 39 // Publications // Book Reviews //
Anna Freud, Melanie Klein and the Psychoanalysis With Children and Adolescents (Book Review)
Author: Holder, Alex
Publisher: Karnac
Reviewed By: Carol Lachman, PhD, Vol. XXVII, 1 (Winter 2007), pp. 62-64

The colorful picture on the cover of Alex Holder’s scholarly and practical perspective on the roots, controversies, and relevance of child psychoanalysis to the field of psychoanalysis as a whole, conveys the heart of this book. It was drawn by an eight and a half year old girl named Monica at the end of her five sessions a week analysis with the author. Monica titled the drawing “posh lady.” This child’s fantasy of what an elegant, grown up woman looks like is the embodiment, so to speak, of the tremendous growth and change that took place in her during her treatment. Monica began her analysis as an obsessional, difficult to manage, school phobic child. With pertinent clinical descriptions, the author shows how Monica’s initial constricted behavior in the play room, (partially out of fear of disapproval) gradually unfolded to an expression, in play and in the transference, of her anxieties and fears, along with accompanying aggression. Alex Holder describes this gradual (but sometimes sudden) deepening of the analysis, in showing how he tried to understand Monica’s play and verbalizations in the context of her psychosexual development and the dynamics of her anxieties. At the end of her analysis, as her drawing suggests, Monica emerged as a decidedly more confident girl, much more at ease with her feelings. This is a very interesting case to read, and the reader feels joy at the transformation that takes place with this child.

Preceding this clinical case, the author sets the stage for exploring the origins of child psychoanalysis, delving into what constitutes an analysis including technique. In carrying out this goal, Holder tries to understand and contrast the contributions of the two major pioneers in the field, Anna Freud and Melanie Klein. The author is a Child and Adult Analyst, and Training Analyst presently working in Germany, with forty years of clinical experience in both Great Britain and Germany. He is very conversant with the early writings on child treatment during the first two to three decades of the twentieth century. In considering the early work with children, Holder is careful to distinguish between what is actual child psychoanalysis, and other forms of helping a child that are more pedagogical in nature. Holder is firm in his conviction that it is the high frequency of sessions per week, over an extended period of time, which constitutes a child analysis. Only this lengthy process allows the child to safely loosen defenses to reveal less conscious conflicts and fantasies, while the analyst in his awareness of his countertransference reactions can keep in mind and try to piece together the often nonverbal expressions of the child’s concerns. The author states that even in the more short-term successful treatment of Little Hans, the child’s overcoming of the symptom was only possible because the authority of the father and the physician were united in a single person. It was the father, in his daily care and love of the child as well as his scientific interest in the child’s anxieties, who made the cure possible. However, it should be mentioned that at some point in the book, Holder indicates that there are a few other countries, such as France, where child analysis is carried out on a less frequent basis, as three times per week. The practical obstacles to finding cases where the parent is agreeable and the child can be brought five times a week are very difficult everywhere.

The author believes that both Anna Freud and Melanie Klein, who were influenced by the theories and work of Sigmund Freud, set the structure and theoretical underpinnings of child psychoanalysis. The two of them believed that training in adult psychoanalysis should come before the technically more difficult arena of child psychoanalysis, so that the analyst in training would have had his own analysis, and would be familiar with the psychoanalytic theories regarding psychosexual development, the working of the mind, and repression. Holder notes that it took about forty years from the time Anna Freud first recommended it before the International Psychoanalytic Association granted official recognition to training as a child analyst (2000). There were many in the psychoanalytic community, and perhaps still are, who believed that child psychoanalysis was not truly analysis. The need for, efficacy of, and relevance of child psychoanalysis to the field of psychoanalysis as a whole appears to be the underlying aim of this compact book.

As suggested above, frequency of sessions and aims of child psychoanalysis, (that is, to help the child work through the anxieties, fixations, and inhibitions that hindered development) were points of accord between Anna Freud and Melanie Klein. Holder also shows how Anna Freud was most likely influenced by Melanie Klein (for example, by eliminating the introductory phase of the analysis for a child, and realizing the value of play as a means for understanding the child). However they appear to diverge significantly in crucial ways. Melanie Klein, for example, thought that child psychoanalysis could be helpful for all children as an aid in the modulation of their anxieties, while Anna Freud felt that analysis is only appropriate when a child had developed an infantile neurosis. Interestingly, earlier in her work, Anna Freud felt that psychoanalytic principles could be incorporated prophylactically into child rearing, but later concluded this was overly optimistic.

In addition to Sigmund Freud, Melanie Klein was also very much influenced by the theories and work of Karl Abraham on the oral phase. As a result, Klein was interested in child and adult development from its earliest beginnings, that is, from infancy. She had direct infant observation with her three children, and shared perspectives and ideas with other analysts and, I believe, pediatricians who were conducting observations and theorizing on infant development. It is an informative experience to read Klein directly, as in her 1952 paper, “On the Behavior of Young Infants,” and “On the Psychoanalytic Play Technique: Its History and Significance” (1955). These papers are very trenchant, particularly the first mentioned, as one can see the development and value of her observations describing how aggression and libido co-mingle in the sucking phase and how infants vary in their sucking capacity. Klein also addressed what mothers do to assist the child in the development and elaboration of this earliest object relation. As a result of her interest and observations of the oral phase, Klein posited an early defense of the infant to split its good and bad experience of the mother. She also theorized that, as a consequence of the sadistic cannibalistic phase that occurs in the second half of the first year, rudiments of the superego were already established at this time of life. This view contrasts with the one held by Anna Freud that the superego comes into being in the third to fifth year of life with the resolution of the Oedipal complex.

One might consider that these two very different points of view with regard to the superego, are perhaps describing two different parts, or aspects of this concept, and within the superego there could be an earlier, nonverbal part. Holder does say that Klein sheds light on the “earliest object relations, and the origins of anxiety, guilt and conflict.” Holder also suggests that Klein may have seen more manifestations of an early superego in the children whom she treated, as they may have been “more psychically ill children “ where “an archaic super-ego” dominated.

The theoretical underpinnings for technique were also dissimilar between these two. Melanie Klein thought that children’s play was like free associations. Therefore, if a child opened a pocketbook in play, Klein might make an interpretation related to the child’s curiosity about the mother’s womb. Of course, one does not know what else Klein might have known about the child that prompted her to say this. Anna Freud did not believe that a child’s play could be considered the same as an adult’s free association. She felt that the analyst was required to build up an understanding of what the child is expressing over many play sessions, considering the child’s verbalizations as well, before making an interpretation.

They also differed significantly in how they regarded transference, and the role and need for working with parents. As Holder suggests, perhaps one does not have to be divisive about these two major perspectives, but instead consider ideas selectively, as to what applies most in understanding a child, and how to work with him or her.

The next two chapters in the book, though the smallest, pack in a good deal of important thought and information. In the chapter on adolescence, Holder strongly advocates adolescence as a distinct phase with its own developmental hurdles and risks. The author, as well as others, feels that the field of child psychoanalysis has neglected adolescence, so much so that in the 1990s the European Association for Adolescent Psychoanalysis was established to further understand some of the problems of adolescence and the technical issues that come up. It was interesting, for example, to read that in adolescence there is a waning of the grandiose self-representations, superseded by actual gratification in professional and sexual experiences. For an adolescent, psychoanalytic treatment may exert a regressive pull, so that the analyst needs to be more flexible with regard to frequency and length of treatment.

The last chapter in this book, “The Significance of Child Analysis for Adult Analysis,” is unique as the ideas do not seem to have been so clearly illustrated elsewhere. Holder (along with Kernberg and Peter Blos, Jr.), recommends that adult analysts have experiences analyzing a few children of various ages and pathologies. This could sensitize and deepen the adult analyst’s understanding of the dynamic unconscious, and preverbal world of their patients, with the accompanying pressures and conflicts. Holder provides a clinical example, cited by Peter Blos, Jr., that the latter was able to stay with an adult patient’s “strong but not yet understood need to move about the consulting room, an action often inhibited on the grounds of fantasized disapproval by the analyst.” Blos indicates that because he understood from his child analytic work with children walking around the room, he could help the adult patient get to unconscious fantasies regarding the meaning of “action, inhibition, and prohibition.”

Holder also recommends that adult analysts consider engaging in infant observation for at least a year, as he feels it could assist in empathizing with a preverbal world, not only with the baby, but also with the mother. It is interesting that this idea of Holder dovetails with the establishment of Infant and Child Observation programs at a few institutes in New York City. Though not mandatory for analytic training, they provide an opportunity for those interested to add to their knowledge of this important developmental phase. Holder ends by making the point that despite some of the strenuousness and technically difficult aspects of child psychoanalysis, the gratification lies in the awareness that “one is dealing with a human being who has almost all his life ahead of him, and who still is in the early stages of developing his potentialities.” For this, and other aforementioned reasons, this book is a rich resource, particularly for those involved in child clinical work, and for those thinking of doing so.
Blos, P., Jr. (2001). Child analysis, COCAP and the IPA. International Psychoanalysis, 10, 18-19.
Freud, A. (1954). The ego and the mechanisms of defense. London: Hogarth Press. (Original work published 1936)
Klein, M. (1957). Envy and gratitude and other works 1946-1963. London: Tavistock (reprinted New York: Basic Books, 1975, pp. 176-235).
© APA Div. 39 (Psychoanalysis). All rights reserved. Readers therefore must apply the same principles of fair use to the works in this electronic archive that they would to a published, printed archive. These works may be read online, downloaded for personal or educational use, or the URL of a document (from this server) included in another electronic document. No other distribution or mirroring of the texts is allowed. The texts themselves may not be published commercially (in print or electronic form), edited, or otherwise altered without the permission of the Division of Psychoanalysis. All other interest and rights in the works, including but not limited to the right to grant or deny permission for further reproduction of the works, the right to use material from the works in subsequent works, and the right to redistribute the works by electronic means, are retained by the Division of Psychoanalysis. Direct inquiries to Henry Seiden, Publications Committee chair.
Date created: 2007

Other Publications

Book Reviews

Div. 39 HomeContact Div. 39Contact APAPrivacy StatementTerms of UseAccessibility

Division 39 Anniversary Logo
© 2021 APA Div. 39: Society for Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Psychology.
750 First St. NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242

Now those quasi as needed references out of the way with a hope fire future integration, I shall follow through the afore mentioned, toward the aim of self inclusion via Maslow, toward self-other identification.

That is admittedly a self inclusive attempt at possible future edification, hoping such ‘bubbles’ may heal in an enthusiastic burst that can let in some light to the few still living in a darkness, but still reluctant to plunge into the light

The montage irresistebly proceeds unworried with required future editing, so such bubbly interruptions can reconnect an otherwise discontinuous flow.

So where was I and where am I to chart this new brave world, that can nit afford to look under every nook and cranny?

The anxiety of childhood terror and anxiety causes a depression in the acquisition of sensible barrage, where the infant fails to look at any object except the mother. So it can develop artistically at the cost of creating an artistic construction which will be a huge bubble to fill farther down the lune

So at this point it is impossible to look back. for fear of authenticate phenomena too threading to return to, and not thaw basis particularly of its biblical references.

So the summery will hopefully be the premordial snake, eating it’s own, tangent to that original temptation that a dream of The Fall may resemble to, and much much later the deal becomes The Big Deal that causes fear and trembling toward it’s symbolic significance. Perhaps, but fear of looking into this may be tatamount the meeting of the two antagonistic at first, adversaries, and even Lucifer fears the ambattled stare of one burn in nativity, the thrasher return to collect that the child should not pay for it’s own ransom, but he is as beguiled as any , so the bewilderment comes later.

The eating head of this tale, as does replicants arrive at toward the end, pupusefully trying to beat it to hopefully not to a untimely punch, because that symbol may tip-off the last man, as Westerners conceive of it. Time becomes ever more essential, the power to will has gone beyond the mid-rift of the last lady, whose singing is only comparable to the breath of chords held.

So up from anxiety and premordial flattening of a one dimensional man, or woman, a depression going against the next stage,

During the five psychosexual stages, which are the oral, anal, phallic, latent, and genital stages, the erogenous zone associated with each stage serves as a source of pleasure. Psychosexual energy, or the libido, was described as the driving force behind behavior.Mar

Sorry meno got it backwards from force of habit like some Asians reading backwords

So the series ends in the genital phase and starts with the

Oral stage. That is ironic in it’s self for the head shows a symbolic head swallowing it’s own since this cauldron of assymatry turns the abstraction around , for reasons just as much have to do with ingestion of the brain matter indigenous within the tail it’self? That leads to unwarranted and inexplicable conclusions worth going back for, if not ameliated, but worry about the onslaught of shortening days first, let’s not put the cart ahead of it’s horse, the mistreated animal which led to the reversibility of the finest mind that found values to be arbitrarily reversable.

All this bill be revealed when the anthropoid will suddenly Acosta the redundan singularity where the imagination will have to rotate the singular image with it’s multi formed image at fantastic rates of revolutions:

All this in a few decades, !

From the point of the examination of disabling terrors and angst, reviews from an intended camera of what these new images mean, Mr, Jung follows up the failure of those who are unable at this point in credible correspondence between the archaic ant the hoped for abstracted frameworks that long for the acquisition of content. Jung suceeds to some extent to exterpilate, this image, at the cost of exterminating the bug found in abandoned castles, and the unrequited visions of Burroughs, whose techniques are way over the top for adolescen boys who supposedly need it special.