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Guex, Germaine (1904-1984)

GUEX, GERMAINE (1904-1984)

Germaine Guex, a Swiss psychoanalyst and psychologist who was a teaching member of the Société suisse de psychanalyse (Swiss Psychoanalytic Society), was born in France in 1904 and died in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1984. She studied psychology in Geneva and, after receiving her diploma from the Institut Jean-Jacques Rousseau, became Jean Piaget's assistant in the psychology laboratory. However, she was attracted to clinical work above all. In 1930 Guex was recruited by Dr. A. Répond, a psychoanalyst and director of the psychiatric clinic of the Swiss canton of Valais in Malévoz, to oversee a psychoanalytically inspired medical and psychological unit, the first of its kind. This consultancy was geared toward children, parents, and teachers, and its work was both therapeutic and preventive.

During her years in Malévoz, Guex became acquainted with Sigmund Freud's work, especially through her connection with Dr. Répond, who was both a psychiatrist and, as a psychoanalyst, a member of the Société suisse de psychanalyse. In the 1940s she moved to Lausanne, where she practiced psychoanalysis and was active in developing psychoanalytic training in French-speaking Switzerland. She was the companion of the psychoanalyst Charles Odier.

In 1950 Guex published La névrose d 'abandon (Abandonment neurosis), revised in 1973 and appearing in a second edition under the title Le syndrome d 'abandon (The abandonment syndrome). In this book she focused on the intense emotional needs and lack of security of some patients, an aspect of pregenital development that can impede working through the Oedipus complexa new approach at that time. She believed that psychoanalytic treatment could enable such patients to have a new type of emotional experience of the transference, more conscious than unconscious, based on listening, mutual trust, and stability in the analytic relationship. Only then, she believed, could oedipal issues be analyzed. Because of the importance of its topic, La névrose d 'abandon established Guex's reputation and has been translated into several languages.

Jean-Michel Quinodoz

See also: Abandonment; Switzerland (French-speaking).


Guex, Germaine. (1950). La névrose d 'abandon. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. (2nd ed.: Le syndrome d 'abandon, 1973.)

Quinodoz, Jean-Michel. (1993). The taming of solitude: separation anxiety in psychoanalysis (Philip Slotkin, Trans.). London: Routledge.

Roch, Marcel. (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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