Gressot, Michel (1918-1975)

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GRESSOT, MICHEL (1918-1975)

Michel Gressot, a Swiss physician, psychoanalyst and teacher with the Société Suisse de Psychanalyse (Swiss Society for Psychoanalysis) was born in Porrentruy in 1918 and died in Geneva in 1975. He attended the Collège de Saint-Maurice (Valais), where he acquired an extensive background in humanism and philosophy that was to have a profound affect on his psychoanalytic work. After studying medicine in Fribourg, Basle, and Lausanne, he specialized in psychiatry in Lausanne, in Malévoz (Valais), and in Geneva, where he settled in 1950 as a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. In 1969 he was appointed Privat Dozent at the School of Medicine of the University of Geneva.

Gressot was introduced to Freud's work through his teachers at Saint-Maurice. Subsequently, during his psychiatric training, he began a personal analysis with Charles Odier in Lausanne. Once settled in Geneva he devoted himself almost exclusively to psychoanalysis. Raymond de Saussure, upon his return from the United States in 1952, relied on Gressot's assistance in providing a new impetus to the development of psychoanalysis and training (after 1956 he worked with Marcelle Spira). These psychoanalytic educators played an important role in the later growth of psychoanalysis in French-speaking Switzerland, especially in Geneva. Gressot regularly gave seminars and conferences, and was an enthusiastic participant in the Congrès des psychanalystes de langue romane (Congress of romance language psychoanalysts). His career was interrupted suddenly in 1975, when he died in Geneva at the age of fifty-seven.

Gressot's most important contributions were collected by Michel de M'Uzan in a posthumous volume entitled Le Royaume intermédiaire (1979), with a preface by Michel Roch. It contains his essay, "Le Mythe dogmatique et le Système moral des manichéens," which emphasizes the psychoanalytic advantage in studying Manichaeism. The book also contains two important reports on congresses held in Paris. The first, from 1955, "Psychanalyse et Connaissance: Contributionà uneépistémologie psychanalytique," sketches a psychoanalytic theory of knowledge. The second, from 1963, "Psychanalyse et Psychothérapie, leur commensalisme: L'esprit de la psychanalyse est-il compatible avec la psychothérapie?" studies the interaction of the fields of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy from a dialectic point of view that was typical of Gressot's style.

Gressot trained a number of psychoanalysts during his career. The depth of his thought, his attention to detail as a writer, and his openness to different ideas all had a strong influence on the growth of psychoanalysis inside and outside Switzerland.

Jean-Michel Quinodoz

See also: Congrès des psychanalystes de langue française des pays romans; Switzerland (French-speaking)


Gressot, Michel. (1979). Le royaume intermédiaire. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

Roch, Marcel. (1979). Préface: En hommage à Michel Gressot. In Michel Gressot, Le royaume intermédiaire. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

(1980).Á propos de l'histoire de la psychanalyse en Suisse romande. Bulletin de la Société suisse de psychanalyse, 10, 17-30.

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Gressot, Michel (1918-1975)

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