Schlumberger, Marc (1900-1977)

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Marc Schlumberger, the French physician and psychoanalyst, was born in Mayenne on July 26, 1900 and died in Paris on June 26, 1977.

Son of the writer Jean Schlumberger, whose homosexuality he had difficulty in coming to terms with, and a British mother who died prematurely, he studied medicine purely with a view to becoming a psychoanalyst. Dissatisfied with his first training analysis with René Laforgue, he began a second round of analysis with Sacha Nacht. He became an associate member of the Paris Psychoanalytic Society (SPP) on October 17, 1933, and a full member on March 2, 1937. He was secretary of the Revue française de psychanalyse from 1934 to 1936. He continued to practice discreetly during the Occupation, forming, along with André Berge, Françoise Dolto and Juliette Boutonier, what they called the "Sainte-Geneviève Quartet." He also contributed to Georges Parcheminey's lectures on psychoanalysis, given at the Sainte-Anne hospital. In 1946 he became secretary of the first bureau of the SPP under John Leuba as president, a position he retained until 1951. He remained true to Sacha Nacht during the 1953 rift and became president of the Society in 1957-1958. While occupying various positions within the SPP and in the training Commission he continued to practice as psychoanalyst until his death.

He stated without reserve that the future of psychoanalysis depended on women and "non-physicians." (Chasseguet-Smirgel J., 1978) Although his colleagues recognized him as an excellent practitioner, the fact that he never overcame his reluctance to write prevented him from being among the leading figures of the SPP. In his first lecture to the SPP in November 1936 he described a case of masculine impotence that improved greatly after the patient admitted to using a dildo as a penis substitute. Although the analysand was very satisfied with this "cure" and terminated the treatment shortly afterward, the analyst went on to outline elements that could have been brought more to the fore while stressing the unconscious aggressive instinct and the insufficiently explored transference.

The few articles he wrote illustrate his interest in interpreting dreams and studying the transference in the analytic process. He wrote a report: "Introduction à l'étude du transfert en clinique psychanalytique" (Introduction to the study of the transference in clinical psychoanalysis) for the fourteenth Conference of French-Speaking Psychoanalysts in 1951 and, with Serge Lebovici and Maurice Benassy, for the SPP colloquium in Paris in 1958.

An article entitled "Paul," written directly in English, recounts the short therapy and death of a young epileptic; in it, the depth of Schlumberger's psychoanalytic thinking combines with the esthetic sense of a talented writer. In his obituary Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel saw the article as the sublimated elaboration of the author's mourning for his young patient. She also stressed his "great independence of spirit, his humor and the total absence of conformism that his reserve, his courtesy and discretion at first belied."

His training couch was very much in demand. He analyzed Wladimir Granoff, Evelyne Kestemberg, Pierre Marty, Ruth Lebovici, Moustapha Safouan, Joyce McDougall, Conrad Stein, Georges Devereux, and many others.

Jean-Pierre Bourgeron

See also: France.


Chasseguet-Smirgel, Janine. (1978). Hommageà Marc Schlumberger. Revue française de psychanalyse, 42, 4, 757-759.

Schlumberger, Marc. (1936). Sur la guérison d'un cas d'impuissance. Revue françaisedepsychanalyse, 9,4,589-605.

. (1952). Introductionà l'étude du transfert en clinique psychanalytique. XIVth Congress of French-Speaking Psychoanalysts, Paris, 1951. Revue française de psychanalyse, 16, 1-2, 123-169.

. (1959). Expression du transfert dans les rêves. Revue française de psychanalyse, 23, 3, 381-392.

Schlumberger, Marc; Benassy, Maurice; and Lebovici, Serge. (1958). Sur l'utilisation du materiel onirique en thérapeutique psychanalytique chez l'adulte. Introduction. Colloque de la S.P.P., Paris, 1958. Revue française de psychanalyse, 23, 1, 7-27.

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Schlumberger, Marc (1900-1977)

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