Sándor Ferenczi: biography of the psychoanalytic evening

Ferenczi is one of the first representatives of the school of psychoanalysis, learning directly from Freud himself. Thus, he is one of the most relevant figures in the development of psychotherapy.

in this biography of Sándor Ferenczi we will learn more about the life and work of this author, going through the most important events of his career and discovering what was the legacy he left both in the field of psychology and in other areas of knowledge in which he highlighted.

    Brief biography of Sándor Ferenczi

    Sándor Ferenczi was born in the Hungarian town of Miskolc in 1873. It was the eighth birth in the family, and they would complete a dozen children in Ferenczi’s marriage. His father was Bernat Ferenczi and his job was publishing and selling books. It was a nurturing environment for the children, who had many literary works at their disposal. This is how Sándor came across the first texts on hypnosis.

    The parent died when Sándor Ferenczi was practically a child, so he lost the father figure very early on. Sándor would continue his studies and would later enter the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Vienna in 1890, majoring in psychiatry. After completing his training, he moved to Saint-Roch hospital to begin his work as a psychiatrist, around 1894.

    During this stage as a psychiatrist, he comes into contact with various groups which, for various reasons, are victims of a lot of suffering, especially at the psychological level.. He treats elderly patients, prostitutes and homosexuals, victims of legal persecution because of their sexual orientation. In fact, Sándor Ferenczi was one of the members of a committee made up of doctors from Austria and Germany to defend the homosexual community from these persecutions of which they were the object.

    Approach to psychoanalysis

    Sándor Ferenczi’s training as a psychiatrist was far removed from psychoanalysis and in fact he rejected some of the central ideas of this doctrine., Regarding the interpretation of dreams. The reason for this rejection was justified by the lack of a solid scientific basis to support such theories.

    However, at one point he took an approach to some of the work done by Carl Gustav Jung, one of the leading figures in psychoanalysis. After carefully studying some of his publications on free association, it was then that he decided to contact this author. This first approach took place at the Burghölzi hospital, where Jung worked.

    Once the relationship with Carl Jung began, Sándor Ferenczi also made contact with Sigmund Freud. The affinity between the two authors is strong and a good friendship is soon created between them. It is the year 1908. Ferenczi experiences firsthand what psychoanalytic therapy means, being a patient of Freud in his consultation. Accepting this trend, Sándor Ferenczi decided to join the Viennese Psychoanalytic Association.

    Freud becomes a kind of father figure for Ferenczi, coming to refer to him as his beloved son. They spent a lot of time together, even during the two’s vacation periods.

    Sigmund Freud mentioned Sándor Ferenczi in an article published in 1914; he reflected on the differences between the scientific currents that existed between Austria and Hungary. In this same article, Freud underlines the immense importance of Ferenczi as a collaborator of psychoanalysis, asserting that while he is the only representative of this doctrine among Hungarian authors, its value makes it similar to if there was a whole society promoting psychoanalysis in Hungary. Such was the affection that Freud had professed to him, that he included him in his internal committee, a very select group of people known as the Committee of the Seven Rings.

    Wedding and new projects

    In 1919, Sándor Ferenczi married his wife. She was an older woman who already had two daughters from a previous marriage. This fact was a problem for society at the time, but Ferenczi didn’t care and decided to consolidate his love through marriage. Of course, he must have suffered criticism from many people.

    At the moment, Sigmund Freud asks Sándor Ferenczi to lead an ambitious project, neither more nor less than the creation of the International Psychoanalytic Association, Taking advantage of the Nuremberg Convention, where many authors would meet. Ferenczi took on this task and strove to make the association a meeting place where there would be freedom and the shock of megalomaniac personalities would be avoided.

    In fact, there have been conflicts, precisely generated by a former patient and disciple of Sándor Ferenczi, named Ernest Jones. This Welsh author would change his point of view on Ferenczi so much that it would generate great controversy, criticizing the work of his former mentor and trying to change his image in the face of Freud and the psychoanalytic community in general.

      The war and the following years

      In 1914, World War I broke out, in which Hungary was involved as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. For this reason, Sándor Ferenczi he was recruited and assigned to the post of chief medical officer in a battalion. These years are the beginning of a generalized crisis in society, which has to adapt to a life in very precarious economic conditions.

      At that time, Sándor Ferenczi also created the Hungarian Psychoanalytic Society, to continue to develop the doctrines of this current also for his homeland. In fact, he was president of this association until his death. also, he began to teach psychoanalysis at the University of Budapest, where he received the chair for this purpose.

      Sándor Ferenczi’s travels to practice psychoanalysis also took him to Spain in 1928. This visit allowed him to develop an important conference where he discussed the learning of psychoanalysis and how this psychological current had the effect. potential to change the character of people.

      As an exceptional student of Freud, Sándor Ferenczi was responsible for bringing his knowledge to all of Europe, being faithful to his doctrines. However, in the following years, Ferenczi will experience an evolution of these ideas, which will lead him to modify some of the fundamental concepts of psychoanalysis. This turning point cooled her relationship with Freud and the psychoanalytic community.

      In reality, some of Sándor Ferenczi’s works could not be published until several years after his death, which has only been vetoed by other psychoanalytic authors., What did not allow the divergence of concepts that Ferenczi had started to experiment in the last stage of his career.

      The last years and death

      Sándor Ferenczi spent his last years suffering from Bermier’s disease or neuroanemic syndrome. This disease caused ascending myelitis, a terminal illness that gradually extinguished him until he died on May 22, 1933, at the age of 59.

      Ernest Jones, the disciple who years ago became hostile to Ferenczi, claimed he was suffering from a psychotic disorder. However, other writers, who accompanied Sándor Ferenczi during his final days, denied Jones’ claims and attributed them only to an attempt to discredit the author, thus attacking his work and legacy. This attempt to destroy the reputation and the works of Sándor Ferenczi did not have more way and long after the rest of his work could be published.

      In fact, Sándor Ferenczi’s work was characterized precisely by an immense capacity for empathy towards the patient and a deep feeling of love towards people. His technique was controversial compared to other authors. Ferenczi fled dogmas and instead tried to approach theoretical subjects with great freedom.. He also stood out with a very precise criterion in the treatment of the various cases with which he was confronted during his career.

      In in short, Sándor Ferenczi was an extraordinary author who broadened the thought of psychoanalysis both in Austria and Hungary and in the rest of Europe, resulting in a key figure. for the dissemination of this new school of psychology. His new ideas on this school of thought embodied in his later works have led to conflicts with certain authors. However, Sándor Ferenczi remained true to himself and eventually all of these works could see the light of day even after his death. Thanks to this today we can know in detail all his contributions to psychoanalysis.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Aron, L .; Harris, A. (1993). The legacy of Sándor Ferenczi. Analytic Press, Inc.
      • Ferenczi, S. (1995). Sándor Ferenczi’s clinical journal. Harvard University Press.
      • Freud, S .; Ferenczi, S .; Brabant, E. (1993). The correspondence of Sigmund Freud and Sándor Ferenczi: 1920-1933. The Belknap Press by Harvard University Press.
      • Haynal, AE (2002). Disappear and Resuscitate: Sándor Ferenczi in the History of Psychoanalysis. Karnac Books Ltd.
      • Rachman, AW (1997). Sándor Ferenczi: the psychotherapist of tenderness and passion. Jason Aronson.

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