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CHAPTER NINE: The Enid files

Tom Keve Karnac Books ePub

Jennifer Johns

My knowledge of Enid Balint and her style is based primarily on the eight years I spent in analysis with her in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Later, I talked with her, of course (but not nearly enough), and read her papers—both the ones she published with Michael Balint and her own published ones—and the book she was beginning to prepare for publication when she died in 1994 (at the age of ninety).

Michael Parsons, in his introduction to Enid’s book, Before I was I, writes about his experience of having been in supervision with Enid. He was advised to go to her by his own analyst, who said, “Supervision with Enid is a rather particular sort of experience.” Writing about the supervision, Michael felt what he especially gained from her was something about how to be with an analytic patient, rather than simply being told how to frame an interpretation or relate what he was observing with theory (though he was told both those things as well). My own experience with her was that of being her patient, and, on reading what Michael had written, I recognised the reciprocal of it: she as my analyst had been with me, and though there were interpretations I remembered as having been incisive and accurate, sometimes rather alarmingly so, it had been the “being with”, that undoubted attention and reliable concern for me, that had helped me shed whatever it was that made me so intolerably tense and unforgiving of myself.

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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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CHAPTER EIGHT: Ferenczi and trauma: a perilous journey to the labyrinth

Tom Keve Karnac Books ePub

György Hidas

The interpersonal context of trauma, its effects on the psyche, and resolution of its consequences were fundamental problems for Sandor Ferenczi in his psychoanalytical career. The topic of trauma was central in his therapeutic activity, especially in his healing experiments in the last decade of his life. The innovations of his healing work, the method of child analysis with adults, relaxation analysis, and mutual analysis were grouped around the concept of trauma. Considering Ferenczi’s analytical life’s work, a hypothesis offers itself, which is that the trauma concept and the associated neocatharsis were a return of the repressed in his personal world. Taking a look at the personal, the subjective aspect, a touch of “psychologising”, seems to be permissible in this case; making the reservation, however, that the role of this problem in Ferenczi’s world might have been over-determined in several aspects.

Ferenczi was a medical student in Vienna, and graduated there in 1894. In the spring of 1908, soon after he met Freud personally, he delivered a lecture in Budapest with the title “Actual and psycho-neuroses in the light of Freud’s investigations and psychoanalysis”. In this paper, Ferenczi wrote,

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CHAPTER TWELVE: Psychosomatics and technique

Tom Keve Karnac Books ePub

Jonathan Sklar

The writer Aharon Appelfeld, when eight years old, witnessed the pogrom in his home town of Czernowitz. He saw the murder of his mother and, separated from the rest of his family, survived by scavenging in the forests. Remembrance was complicated, he thought, by his having been too young a child to process much of what he saw. The past remains entirely physical for him: “etched inside my body but not in my memory”. After more than half a century, his feet still cause tension in his legs and this instantly transfers him back to the years in hiding. The very act of sitting or standing can conjure up hellish visions of packed railway stations. Rotting straw or the call of a bird trigger visceral memories deep within his body (The Observer Book Review, 21 August 2005).

The ability to free associate is both protected and inhibited by the movement of affect into the body acting as a container and away from the mind with thoughts and associative strands. A particular part of the body with its physicality, such as a feeling of body rigidity or a certain sequence of movements, can contain that which must not be felt and integrated.

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CHAPTER FIVE: Michael Balint

Tom Keve Karnac Books ePub

Harold Stewart

We are devoting this section to the work of Michael Balint and two of his wives, Alice and Enid. Judith Dupont will discuss Alice, Hidas will talk about Mészáros Street 12, Jennifer Johns will review Enid and Catherine Reverzy, and I, Michael.

I first met him in the 1950s at the Tavistock Clinic, when I went to see him for advice on psychotherapy training. He was then a solid middle-aged man with a marked Hungarian accent and a direct and forthright manner. When he later supervised my psychoanalytical training case, I came to value this directness, together with his ability to admit error: yet others occasionally found him rather bullying, particularly in seminars. However, we all accepted his capacity to challenge and question everything, never to take things for granted in order to help people to think for themselves. You either loved him or hated him. You could not be indifferent.

He was born in 1896 in Budapest into a medical family, his father being a general practitioner. He qualified in medicine, developed a liking for psychoanalysis, and went into analysis with Hanns Sachs in Berlin. Feeling dissatisfied with Sachs, he returned to Budapest for analysis with Ferenczi, a man Balint revered all his life. He came to England in 1939 and he, together with Klein, Winnicott, Bion, and Fairbairn, became one of the progenitors of the British Object Relations School. He became a President of the British Society, but died of a heart attack in 1970 while in office.

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