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CHAPTER ELEVEN: Physics, metaphysics, and psychoanalysis

Tom Keve Karnac Books ePub

Tom Keve

Niels Bohr, the famous Danish physicist, owned a wooden cottage in the country where he liked to invite his physics colleagues for long and deep discussions. One day, a distinguished visitor was surprised to see a horseshoe hanging on the doorframe. “Is it possible, that you, of all people, believe this will bring you luck?” he asked. To which Bohr replied, “Of course not—but I understand it works whether or not you believe.”

This chapter is about coincidences of history and coincidences of ideas. You do not have to believe, but I am told it works anyway.

In 1909, the triad of Ferenczi, Freud, and Jung travelled together to the USA, Freud and Jung as invited speakers at the Clark University 20th anniversary celebrations, and Ferenczi as Freud’s intellectual “assistant”. All three of them thought of this as a very significant event in their lives. Freud always considered that his international acceptance started with this conference. It was also the first exposure of Jung as an analytical expert in his own right and, in Jung’s view at least, it was on this trip that the seeds of his break with Freud were planted.

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CHAPTER SEVEN: Alice Balint, a short but productive life

Tom Keve Karnac Books ePub

Judith Dupont

If one walks around Buda, and climbs to the top of the Naphegy, Mount Sun, there is a nice round park. At the corner of this park and the street called Orvos utca, the Doctor street, there is a huge building of glass and metal, not at all in harmony with the rest of the houses. Before 1945, instead of this building, there was a nice house surrounded by a garden. It was the home of the architect, Frederic Kovács, who lived there with his wife Vilma and the three children Vilma had with her first husband, Lajos Székely.

Vilma had been married, against her will, at the age of fifteen, to a man more than twenty years older then she. She had three children in three years, Alice, Olga, and Ferenc. Exhausted by her three pregnancies, she became very ill with tuberculosis, and had to enter a sanatorium, leaving her children with her elder sister. There she met a man of her own age, Frederic Kovács, and they fell in love. She wanted a divorce, but her husband refused. Nevertheless, she left him, and thus was blamed for the separation. The children remained with their father, and Vilma had no right to see them. She refused to accept this and met them almost every day on their way home from school, to see and talk with them.

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CHAPTER THIRTEEN: Close to the body: an analyst’s daily work with cancer patients

Tom Keve Karnac Books ePub

Ágnes Riskó

This chapter is a result of my experiences at the National Institute of Oncology in Budapest. Since 1990, I have worked as a psychoanalyst with an oncohaematology team. I treat in-patients and outpatients suffering from malignant lymphomas with psychoanalytical psychotherapy, and treat some survivors with psychoanalysis.

When I began to work at the oncohaematology department, my medical oncologist colleague, Tamás Fleischmann, noted that oncology is a difficult field for psychologists and psychiatrists. They find working with cancer patients complicated; it is easy to get lost because there are no well-beaten paths of treatment for them to follow. I would like to talk about some of my observations at the oncohaematology department—observations concerning cancer patients undergoing oncological treatment, medical doctors and nurses, and the main psychoanalytical experience gained from our common work.

Entering any oncology department, you can feel that somehow every phenomenon, event, and act is in a very deep connection with the body, with the body-ego, or (after Ferenczi) with the “archaic part” of the personality (Ferenczi, 1955). The cause of these special psychic processes and this atmosphere is the sudden and overwhelming bodily and psychic crisis evoked by learning of the diagnosis of cancer. As Balint wrote (1957), the cancer disease represents the basic fault and the fearful inner “bad”, which attacks and fills the diseased person from the inside with oral aggressiveness. That is the main reason for the patients’ anxiety—especially their growing death-anxiety—and psychic regression, which are independent from their actual knowledge about the chances for recovery.

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CHAPTER SIX: Healing boredom: Ferenczi and his circle of literary friends

Tom Keve Karnac Books ePub

Michelle Moreau-Ricaud

“Ferenczi’s turn must come”

(Andreas-Salomé, 1913)

Iwould like to suggest, first, that I experienced a theoretical and aesthetic shock with Hungarian psychoanalysis and literature during my analytic training and later.

As I was in difficulty in my first analysis under supervision (called analyse quatrième in my organisation), I was looking for enlightenment in historical articles on the subject. I discovered Kovács, and my very first paper compared her innovation to that of Eitingon’s (Moreau, 1977). As I was interested by Ferenczi, the Balints (Michael and Alice), Róheim, Loránd, Peto, etc., I chose to write on the Budapest School for my second doctorate.

On top of this, I fell in love with Kosztolányi (and early twentieth century literature). His Kleptomaniac Translator is so funny and so well observed. Was he a pre-Lacanian? He shows us that the symptom might change but the structure does not. An aesthetic shock during a public reading drove me to learn Hungarian. But, alas, it was so difficult and, to investigate the influence of analysis on Hungarian writers, I asked Peter Adam to help in my research. The results were beyond my expectations. Unlike in Vienna, the cultural circles were open to the new, the modern. The reception of psychoanalysis in Hungary, so long and so difficult in the medical field, was, on the contrary, immediate and passionate in Les Belles Lettres. It was Ferenczi (1876–1933) who had brought about this cross-fertilisation.

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CHAPTER TEN: Survival strategies: a psychoanalytic view

Tom Keve Karnac Books ePub

Judit Szekacs-Weisz

“Being alone leads to splitting. The presence of someone with whom one can share and communicate joy and sorrow (love and understanding) can heal the trauma”

(Ferenczi, 1988, p. 200)

Hungarians are professional survivors. No wonder they are; history made them learn the arts-and-crafts of survival.

To understand an essential feature of “East-European existence”, one has to recognise the fact that in this part of the world historic changes did not leave much time for psychodynamic working through. Dramatic events, elementary changes in the perception of values, functions and social roles came in a rapid flow. Whole nations and generations lived under the influence of cumulative traumatisa-tion.

After the Second World War, new concepts of state, establishment, organisation, institute and executive bodies emerged in these countries. The structure and functions of the totalitarian state determined human conditions, existence, and relationship in professional, official, and private areas. Adaptation to the conflict-ridden power structure and realisation of contradictory interests raised many basic questions concerning the development of individual and group identity. This is why I suggest that when we look at Eastern Europe, no psycho-dynamic study analysing possible reactions to, or consequences of, social traumata can be meaningful or valid unless it is done through the prism of historic transformations.

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