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CHAPTER TWO: Sandor Ferenczi the man

Tom Keve Karnac Books ePub

Imre Hermann

Ifirst met Sandor Ferenczi in 1911 when he was thirty-eight years old and in the initial phase of his career as a psychoanalyst. I was twenty-two, a fourth-year medical student at the time; I had heard that Ferenczi was recruiting students for an introductory course in psychoanalysis that he was about to start. I presented myself and was given a friendly reception.

After his last lecture, Ferenczi invited remarks and criticism from us students—an invitation that I took up. In a token of friendship, Ferenczi invited me to the evening meetings of his circle of friends, which included the writers Ignotus, Frigyes Karinthy, and Dezso Kosztolány,2 the pianist Sándor Kovács, the drama critic Sándor Hevesi, and the manufacturer Antal Freund.

The years passed. I had been on voluntary service in the army for a year, followed by four years of wartime service. At the end of this period, in January 1919, Ferenczi not only had me admitted to the Hungarian Psychoanalytical Society (founded in 1913) but had me elected secretary.

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CHAPTER TEN: Imre Hermann: researching psyche and space

Tom Keve Karnac Books ePub

Sára Klaniczay

Imre Hermann was my analyst and trainer for seven years. He died twenty years ago, at the age of ninety-five.

Hermann lived in Hungary and he worked there all his life, even in the years of Nazism and Communism.1 He played a very important role in the survival of psychoanalysis in Hungary and in preserving the legacy of the Budapest School for the coming generations. He was a doctor of medicine and also a researcher: he observed and described psychological phenomena and searched for their organic basis.

Hermann was a polymath. Besides being an expert in psychology, he was familiar with different natural and social sciences and various branches of the arts. He was very much interested in what we call “talent”; he studied the nature of the process of creation. The most significant step in his career was the discovery and description of the instinct of clinging.

A short summary of Hermann’s theory of clinging

Hermann was interested in the behaviour of apes from the very beginning. The inherited clinging reaction of apes has been described by many. It is a well-known fact that apes spend the first months of their lives clinging to their mother’s bodies. The essence of Hermann’s theory is that the instinctive behaviour of the ape infant, that is, its clinging to the mother, is an existing but inhibited instinctive drive in the human infant as well. Moro, the German paediatrician, described the reflex movement of the arms that can be triggered in the three-month-old infant. This movement resembles the embracing reflex movement of apes and, thus, might have philogenetic origin.

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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: The Balints and Mészáros Street 12, Budapest

Tom Keve Karnac Books ePub

György Hidas

It is a great honour for me to have the opportunity to recall the Budapest years of Michael Balint. I begin with some personal and subjective memories. As a junior high school student, age ten, I was a classmate of John Balint, Michael’s son, in a school in an inner district of Buda, until the Balints emigrated to England in 1939. During the winter, John and I skated together in the City Park, and I saw Michael Balint several times when he came by car to fetch his son from the skating rink. “What a lucky boy,” I thought, “his father drives him home.” I played often with John and other children in the Balint home. I was impressed not only by his miniature train and ship models, but by the intellectual and artistic environment as well. When I learned that the parents were psychoanalysts, all my visual impressions were interspersed with this somewhat mysterious profession. As I realised later, when I studied psychoanalysis, their house at Mészáros Street 12 was famous. The house was owned by the Kovács family. Vilma Kovács, also an analysand of Ferenczi, was the mother of Alice Balint. It was in this building that the Psychoanalytic Institute and Clinic, directed first by Ferenczi and later by Balint, was subsequently housed. Perhaps these impressions contributed to my early decision to become a psychoanalyst.

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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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