Development of Psycho-Analysis, The

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In this book, conceived in 1922 and published in 1924, Sándor Ferenczi and Otto Rank were reacting against the practical fallout (transference and resistances in psychoanalytic treatment) from Freud's ideas on repetition compulsion and analysis of the ego.

According to the authors, the psychoanalytic movement gave in to a desire to claim to "know too much" and thus was diverted from its earliest "active" orientations. Psychoanalysts had developed incorrect technical precepts and were clinging to rigid or obsolete rules with regard to the transference.

The authors argued that the psychoanalyst's role is to "condition the unity of the process," to act as a catalyst for the transference, and to encourage repetition by partly playing the role of the parental imagos. In this way, unconscious memory traces can finally be felt by the patient, transformed into "actual memories" (remembering/remembrance/recollection), and interpreted upon dissolution of the transference. It is lived experience that carries conviction, the true source of knowledge and the guarantee of therapeutic "effectiveness."

However, the analyst's "desire to learn and to teach," they held, led to errors in technique such as "fanaticism of interpretation" or seeking to confirm knowledge. By situating resistance on the side of the transference and the patient's narcissism, analysts increase the patient's unconscious guilt, masking their own difficulties in integrating negative transference and their narcissistic countertransference.

The future of the discipline, the authors said, depended on the "elimination of intellectual resistances." "Training analysis is in no way different from therapeutic analysis" and should not be reserved for medical doctors. Family physicians could be given special training (including hypnosis, provided it was better understood) that would contribute to mass prophylaxis for psychiatric conditions. The authors emphasized therapeutic use of repetition in the transference, whereas Freud saw it above all as an obstacle to the process, since for him interpretation was the privileged therapeutic tool. This marked the beginnings of a schism.

Rank broke with the Committee. Ferenczi replaced his "active" methodbased on an increase in tensionswith a principle of "laissez-faire" or "relaxation," which Freud opposed after 1930.

This book introduced ideas and controversies that were taken up by later authors (Michael Balint, Donald W. Winnicott, Harold F. Searles, Jacques Lacan): the therapeutic use of object relations and regression; the analyst's "discretion" (caution in interpretation); the analyst's resistances and the role of countertransference; interest in training for physicians; and the risks inherent in "training" analysis.

Corinne Daubigny

See also: Active technique; Counter-transference; Ferenczi, Sándor; Rank (Rosenfeld), Otto; Technique with adults, psychoanalytic; Training analysis; Training of the psychoanalyst.

Source Citation

Ferenczi, Sandor, and Rank, Otto. (1925). The development of psychoanalysis (Caroline Newton, Trans). New York: Nervous and Mental Disease Pub. (Original work published 1924)


Balint, Michael. (1968). The basic fault: therapeutic aspects of regression. London: Tavistock.

Ferenczi, Sándor. (1968). Thalassa: a theory of genitality (Henry Alden Bunker, Trans.). New York: Norton. (Original work published 1924)

Ferenczi, Sándor. (1926). Contra-indications to "active" psychoanalytical technique. In Further contributions to the theory and technique of psycho-analysis (J. Rickman, Comp. and J. I. Suttie, et al., Trans.). London: Hogarth.

Freud, Sigmund. (1920g). Beyond the pleasure principle. SE, 18: 1-64.

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Development of Psycho-Analysis, The

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