Parcheminey, Georges (1888-1953)

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Georges Parcheminey, the French psychoanalyst, was born on April 21, 1888, at Ronchamp in the Haute-Saône department, and died in Paris on July 29, 1953.

Born of a music-teacher mother and a mining-engineer father, he was educated in a religious institution where he studied the classics, before going to Paris to study medicine. In 1917 he married a woman who shared his passion for music. Wounded during the First World War, he first practiced as a general practitioner and then as a neurologist.

During the 1920s he was analyzed by Rudolf Loewenstein and, having contributed in 1925 to the creation ofÉvolution psychiatrique, in 1926 he was one of the co-founders of the Paris Psychoanalytic Society (SPP). René Laforgue was president of the Society for its first four years, followed by Parcheminey for the period 1930-31.

Having worked as a Physician-Captain during the 1939 war, he was demobilized when Prof. Laignel-Lavastine appointed him laboratory director in the medical faculty where, in spite of the Occupation, he lectured on psychoanalysis in the Mental Health Clinic. Prof. Jean Delay, who then took over this department of the Sainte-Anne hospital, retained his position for him until after the Liberation.

He was training analyst for Maurice Bénassy and Maurice Bouvet from 1942 and was president of the short-lived National Syndicate of Psychoanalyst Physicians, created in April 1951. He played a leading role in the discussions preceding the creation of the Institute of Psycho-analysis and, as senior member, he resumed presidency of the SPP on the dramatic evening when the split occurred on June 16, 1953, three months before his death.

His knowledge of German enabled him to read Freud in the original and his writings focused mainly on neurosisthe subject of his lessons at the Institute of Psycho-analysisand conversion hysteria. He studied the links between the psychic and the somatic and compared Pavlov's work with that of Freud.

His first article, which appeared in the Revue Française c de Psychanalyse (French review of psychoanalysis) in 1928, was co-authored withÉdouard Pichon and was entitled "Sur les Traitements Psychothérapiques Courts d'Inspiration Freudienne chez les Enfants" (On short Freud-inspired psychotherapeutic treatment for children). Each of the two authors related a case in which the patient was "cured" in one session. In 1932, in his report to the sixth Congress of French-Speaking Psychoanalysts, he presented a critical study of the different conceptions of "conversion hysteria." He compared the theories of Janet, Babinski, Dupré, Claude and Lhermitte, Kretschmer, and Pavlov, with those of Freud and Breuer, which he explained in detail.

In "La Problématique du Psycho-Somatique" (The problem of the psychosomatic), an article dating from 1948, he asserted that this term, created by Mrs. Dunbar and her school in the United States, was in fact a logical extension of Freudian notions concerning the theory of the neuroses and particularly the study of hysteria. Psychosomatic medicine did not exist for him, "it is only an artificially isolated section of an anthropological conception of medicine, a more synthetic vision of all human existence."

At the time of his death in 1953, Michel Cénac wrote: "He was called on to act as president at difficult times, when it was essential to recover control of techniques that some had practiced with a greater or lesser degree of success. Under these circumstances he knew how to act in a balanced and wise manner and the unit came together thanks to his diplomacy and tact. . . . His love of harmony led him to sacrifice himself for its sake, although his own sensibilities may have suffered in the process. Moreover, his piano-playing showed the same taste and the same sensibility."

At the end of his life he recovered his religious belief and practice in the company of Father Bruno de Jésus, a friend of Laforgue.

Jean-Pierre Bourgeron

See also: Clark-Williams, Margaret; Congress of French-speaking psychoanalysts from Romance-Language countries; France; Loewenstein, Rudolph M.; Société psychanalytique de Paris et Institut de psychanalyse de Paris.


Parcheminey, Georges. (1932). L'hystérie de conversion. Revue Française de Psychanalyse, 5, 1, 106-140.

. (1948). La problématique du psycho-somatique. Revue Française de Psychanalyse, 12, 2, 233-249.

Pichon,Édouard; and Parcheminey, Georges. (1928). Sur les traitements psychothérapiques courts d'inspiration freudienne chez les enfants. Revue Française de Psychanalyse, 2,4, 711-720.