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Ferenczi (Fraenkel), Sándor


FERENCZI (Fraenkel ), SÁNDOR (1873–1933), Hungarian psychoanalyst and psychiatrist. Born in Miskolc, Hungary, Ferenczi became interested in hypnosis and in 1900 began the practice of neurology and psychiatry in Budapest. Ferenczi was the closest friend of *Freud, whom he first met in 1908, and they exchanged more than 1,000 letters. An inspiring lecturer on psychoanalysis and an outstanding therapist, Ferenczi was the senior member of Freud's group. In 1909 he accompanied Freud to the United States and became a central figure in the psychoanalytic movement. Ferenczi's initial papers (1908) were on psychosexual disturbances, and in papers issued in 1911 he set out for the first time the difference between active and passive homosexuality and its relation to paranoia. In 1913 Ferenczi wrote his classic essay, Entwicklungsstufen des Wirklichkeitssinnes, in which he described, on the basis of his analytical experience and observation of children, the child's view of his own omnipotence and the development of his sense of reality. In the works written in this period Ferenczi expanded and checked Freud's findings and indicated new applications and approaches. In 1924 he published a creative and theoretical book: Versuch einer Genitaltheorie (Thalassa: A Theory of Genitality, 1938). Here he correlated biology with psychology and invented the method of "bioanalysis," relating sexual drives to the act of returning to the womb. Ferenczi developed a technique of active therapy, requesting the patient to act or behave in a certain way. He discussed this technique in an essay (1921) and reviewed it in 1925 with his Kontrain dikazionen der aktiven psychoanalitischen Technik. In 1926 he published Further Contributions to the Theory and Technique of Psychoanalysis, a work which elaborated and systematized his technique and also contained many clinical essays, such as those on hysteria and tics. He was the first to emphasize the great importance of loving bodily contact with the mother for the child's development, as well as the dangers of too intense stimulation of the baby by adults. Freud became highly critical of some of Ferenczi's experiments in technique and by 1931 Ferenczi began to revise some of his methods, as they had not achieved the anticipated results. However, his ideas on the early object relations of the infant and their impact on personality development, and his ideas about the deeper functions of the ego dealt with areas which preoccupy analytical thinking and have produced a number of controversial theories.


S. Lorand, in: F. Alexander et al. (eds.), Psychoanalytic Pioneers (1966), 14–35, incl. bibl.; E. Jones, The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud, 2 (1955), index; I. De Forest, The Leaven of Love (1954), incl. bibl.; F. Auld, in: iess, 5 (1968), 367–9, incl. bibl. add. bibliography: E. Falzeder and E. Brabant (eds.), Correspondence of Sigmund Freud and Sandor Ferenczi, 3 vols. (1994, 1996, 2000); M. Stanton, Sandor Ferenczi: Reconsidering Active Intervention (1993); A.W. Rachman, Sandor Ferenczi: The Psychotherapist of Tenderness and Passion (1996); P.L. Rudnytsky, P. Giampieri-Deutsch, and A. Bokay (eds.), Fernczi's Turn in Psychoanalysis (1996).

[Louis Miller]

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