Frank in Light of Ferenczi: Commentary on Paper by Kenneth A. Frank

Download Frank in Light of Ferenczi: Commentary on Paper by Kenneth A. Frank

Post on 10-Mar-2017




0 download

Embed Size (px)


<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [Northeastern University]On: 04 November 2014, At: 10:18Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>Psychoanalytic Dialogues: TheInternational Journal of RelationalPerspectivesPublication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:</p><p>Frank in Light of Ferenczi: Commentaryon Paper by Kenneth A. FrankTherese Ragen Ph.D. aa New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis andPsychotherapyPublished online: 08 Jun 2012.</p><p>To cite this article: Therese Ragen Ph.D. (2012) Frank in Light of Ferenczi: Commentary on Paperby Kenneth A. Frank, Psychoanalytic Dialogues: The International Journal of Relational Perspectives,22:3, 341-343, DOI: 10.1080/10481885.2012.679603</p><p>To link to this article:</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (theContent) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor &amp; Francis,our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as tothe accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinionsand views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors,and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of the Contentshould not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sourcesof information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims,proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoever orhowsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arisingout of the use of the Content.</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Anysubstantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing,systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms &amp;Conditions of access and use can be found at</p><p></p></li><li><p>Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 22:341343, 2012Copyright Taylor &amp; Francis Group, LLCISSN: 1048-1885 print / 1940-9222 onlineDOI: 10.1080/10481885.2012.679603</p><p>Frank in Light of Ferenczi: Commentaryon Paper by Kenneth A. Frank</p><p>Therese Ragen, Ph.D.New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy</p><p>The subject of this discussion is Kenneth A. Franks Paper Strangers to ourselves: exploring thelimits and potentials of the analysts self awareness in self- and mutual analysis. The author looks atFranks ideas about this subject in light of some of the reflections put forth on it by Sandor Ferenczi,the father of mutual analysis. It seems that Ferenczis thoughts about this are quite consonant withFranks on both the potentials and limitations of the analysts self awareness in self and mutual.</p><p>Kenneth A. Frank (this issue) begins his paper, Strangers to Ourselves: Exploring the Limitsand Potentials of the Analysts Self Awareness in Self- and Mutual Analysis, with a quote froma 1910 letter Ferenczi wrote to Freud: I am aware of the fact that only the capacity for totalself-analysis, the bringing out of ones inner conflicts without outside aid, signifies the final cureof a person (p. 163). Ferenczi did say that, but he also wrote to Freud:</p><p>I spent the first free afternoon (day before yesterday) with self-analysis in writing. It went smoothly;I imagined I was talking to you. (1914, p. 20)</p><p>It seems that I will not be finished with my inner affairs without external aid. To be sure, I havediscontinued all self analysis for a long time. (1916a, p. 127)</p><p>If you permit, instead of simply auto-analysis I want to attempt to analyze the particularoccurrences in my letter to you; the transference will certainly fecundate me (1916b, p. 132)</p><p>Unfortunately, I must againin absentiatake an hour fromor withyou, since a sad occur-rence of the day does not let me sleep, despite sleeping pills. Perhaps this peculiar technique ofself-analysisby letter (i.e., in the constant presence of an imaginary analyst)is not all togetherunsuitable for terminating a treatment. (1917, p. 252)</p><p>These passages suggest that Ferenczi, at least at these points in time, took a position aboutself-analysis that was much closer to Franks own view. We see Ferenczi, even this early on,expressing his awareness of the limitations of self-analysis for himself and using the process wenow call mentalization in his analysis. He seems to have been clear that his experience of selfwas embedded in relationship and needed to be analyzed in relationship.</p><p>Reading Franks paper I was struck by the resonance of his experience with Ferenzcis (1932)as we know it from The Clinical Diary. Both were quite aware of their own vulnerability in</p><p>Correspondence should be addressed to Therese Ragen, Ph.D., 80 East 11th Street, Suite 510, New York, NY 10003.E-mail:</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Nor</p><p>thea</p><p>ster</p><p>n U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p>] at</p><p> 10:</p><p>18 0</p><p>4 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>342 RAGEN</p><p>disclosing themselves to a patient. Ferenczi agreed to engage in his first mutual analysis, whichwas with his patient Elizabeth Severn (R.N. in the Diary), only after two years in which Severnrepeatedly made the case that Ferenczi had unconscious countertransference obstacles and resis-tances that prevented him from fully analyzing her. Even then, he characterized his openness tomutual analysis as submitting to the unusual sacrifice of risking an experiment in which I thedoctor put myself into the hands of a not undangerous patient (p. 19).1</p><p>Frank (this issue) initially dismissed his patient Joans feeling that Frank was remote and asnot really hearing or understanding her (p. 313). Instead, he interpreted her finding him detachedas a transference reaction, as stemming from her experience of her father as remote, undepend-able, uninterested and self-involved (p. 314). Disagreeing with Frank that the source of theproblem was her transference reaction, Joan pressed him over the next several sessions to lookwithin himself. In response to Joans assertion, one day in session Frank stopped and lookedfor thoughts, images, bodily sensations, whatever came up (p. 314), and it was then that a jar-ring recognition of a countertransference block hit him. Identifying the block, Frank consideredtelling Joan about it. Frank stated, We must first feel trusting of a patient before we can open upand expose ourselves, and must feel confident that, if it seems desirable, we can engage in opendiscussion about how a disclosure was received (p. 320).</p><p>I think the critical question the analyst has to ask in thinking about disclosing countertrans-ference is whether or not the patient, both in general in the relationship with the analyst and inthis particular given moment as well, can be open and receptive to the experience of the analystbeing a subject and benefit from that. In Winnicotts (1971) terms the question is whether or notthe patient has made, or is ready to make, the passage from object relating to object use. UsingBenjamins (1988) terms, the question is whether or not the patient is ready for the relationshipto be one of mutual recognition between patient and analyst. As conceptualized by Aron (2000),what is involved is a determination that the patient has the capacity for self-reflexivity. Ferenczi(1932) also suggested the idea that there is a capacity that is necessary in the patient, saying,One might take the view that confessions could go further and further in relation to the patientsability to tolerate them (p. 35).</p><p>Both Ferenczi and Frank expressed caution about the lengths to which the analysis of theanalyst by the patient should go. In the Diary Ferenczi (1932) stated, One must be content withobtaining pieces of analytic insight from the patients in scattered fragments, and not allow themto concern themselves with any more than is necessary for their analysis (pp. 4445). A littlelater in the Diary, Ferenczi said, I consider my own analysis a resource for the analysis of theanalysand. The analysand was to remain the main subject (p. 71).</p><p>Frank was very careful about how he handled his disclosure of the realization that Joansillness has triggered off his feelings of the recent loss of his sister, and that he had been trying tostave off thinking Joan, whom he calls his beloved patient, could possibly die from the illnessshe had contracted. He didnt disclose this insight when he had it in session with Joan as hefeared losing his composure, but waited until a subsequent session when his feeling of and fearsof loss were not overwhelming him. He then told her that he had come to realize that, as Joan had</p><p>1Christopher Fortune (1993) reported, For over 30 years Elizabeth and Margaret Severn [Elizabeths daughter]maintained an intimate, almost daily, correspondence. In 1986, Margaret, honoring Elizabeths last request, burned hermothers letters. This was the year The Clinical Diary was first published. How much more we might have known aboutFerenczis experiments in mutual analysis had Margaret not burned the letters. . . .</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Nor</p><p>thea</p><p>ster</p><p>n U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p>] at</p><p> 10:</p><p>18 0</p><p>4 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>COMMENTARY ON PAPER BY KENNETH A. FRANK 343</p><p>thought, he did indeed have a block in listening to her. He went on to tell her about the death ofhis sister and its impact on his listening to Joan talk about her own illness.</p><p>Both Frank and Ferenczi felt guilty about their countertransference blocks. Ferenczi (1932)captured the essence of it in saying, Analytic guilt consists of the doctor not being able to offerfull maternal care, goodness and self-sacrifice (p. 52). Frank (this issue) initially experienced it[his block], as a professional lapse (p. 314). There is, though, the possibility of transforming thewound or error into a healing experience for the patient. As stated by Ferenczi, (1932):</p><p>Indeed, we gladly allow the patients to have the pleasure of being able to help us, to become for abrief period our analyst, as it were, something that justifiably raises their self-esteem. Should it evenoccur, as it does occasionally to me, that experiencing anothers and my own suffering brings a tearto my eye (and one should not conceal this emotion from the patient), then the tears of doctor and ofpatient mingle in a sublimated communion, which perhaps finds its analogy only in the mother-childrelationship. And this is the healing agent, which, like a kind of glue, binds together permanently theintellectually assembled fragments, surrounding even the personality thus repaired with a new auraof vitality and optimism. (p. 65)</p><p>Joans response to Franks guilt was to tell him she respected his need for a blind spot.Moreover, she took Franks need for it as a sign of her importance to him. Joan must have experi-enced Franks disclosures of loss, guilt, and fear to her as moments of sublimated communionin their shared experience together, which can only have been healing for herand for Frank.</p><p>REFERENCES</p><p>Aron, L. (2000). Self-reflexivity and the therapeutic action of psychoanalysis. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 17, 667689.Benjamin, J. (1988). The bonds of love. New York, NY: Pantheon.Ferenczi, S. (1914). Letters from Sandor Ferenczi to Sigmund Freud, October 27, 1914. The correspondence of Sigmund</p><p>Freud and Sandor Ferenczi Volume 2, 19141919 (p. 20).Ferenczi, S. (1916a). Letters from Sandor Ferenczi to Sigmund Freud, May 13, 1916. In The correspondence of Sigmund</p><p>Freud and Sandor Ferenczi, Volume 2, 19141919 (p. 127).Ferenczi, S. (1916b, July 10). Letters from Sandor Ferenczi to Sigmund Freud. In The correspondence of Sigmund Freud</p><p>and Sandor Ferenczi Volume 2, 19141919 (p. 132).Ferenczi, S. (1917). Letters from Sandor Ferenczi to Sigmund Freud, December 19/20, 1917. The correspondence of</p><p>Sigmund Freud and Sandor Ferenczi Volume 2, 19141919 (p. 252).Ferenczi, S. (1932). The clinical diary. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Fortune, C. (1993). The case of RN: Sandor Ferenczis radical experiment in psychoanalysis. In L. Aron &amp; A. Harris</p><p>(Eds.), The legacy of Sandor Ferenczi (p. 105). Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press.Winnicott, D. W. (1971). The use of an object and relating through identifications. In Playing and reality. Middlesex,</p><p>England: Penguin.</p><p>CONTRIBUTOR</p><p>Therese Ragen, Ph.D., is a clinical professor of Psychology in the New York University Programin Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. She is the author of The Consulting Room and Beyond:Psychoanalytic Work and its Reverberations in the Analysts Life (Routledge, 2009) and has aprivate practice in Greenwich Village.</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Nor</p><p>thea</p><p>ster</p><p>n U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p>] at</p><p> 10:</p><p>18 0</p><p>4 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li></ul>


View more >