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Thinking Here and Now –

Conversation  with Innovators in Psychotherapy (zoom)

Aner Govrin and Sharon Ziv-Beiman hosting

A conversation with
Peter L. Rudnytsky

Mutual Analysis: Ferenczi, Severn, and the Origins of Trauma Theory

A conversation with
Peter L. Rudnytsky

26.06.21, 19:30-21:00 (Israel Time; UTC+3,
12:30-2:00 PM New York time)

Sándor Ferenczi’s mutual analysis with Elizabeth Severn—the patient known as R.N. in the Clinical Diary— is one of the most controversial episodes in the history of psychoanalysis, which has been roundly denounced as a boundary violation by conservative commentators.

In his latest groundbreaking work, Peter L. Rudnytsky provides a definitive scholarly account of this experiment, which constitutes a paradigm for relational psychoanalysis, as Freud’s self-analysis does for classical psychoanalysis. Rudnytsky shows how Ferenczi and Severn co-constructed a way to work psychoanalytically that served both to revive Freud’s disavowed “seduction theory” and to set forth an understanding of the ways developmental trauma gives rise to dissociation, fragmentation, and a need to relive—not merely remember—to heal.

In their conversation with Peter Rudnytsky, Aner Govrin, and  Sharon Ziv-Beiman will reexamine Ferenczi’s theory and treatment of trauma, Severn’s role as a transmitter of Ferenczi’s legacy, and why he believes, with Erich Fromm, that Ferenczi’s example demonstrates how Freud’s attitude does not need to be that of all analysts.

Peter L. Rudnytsky is Professor of English at the University of Florida and Head of the Department of Academic and Professional Affairs as well as Chair of the Committee on Confidentiality of the American Psychoanalytic Association. Editor of the History of Psychoanalysis series for Routledge and Co-editor of the Psychoanalytic Horizons series for Bloomsbury, he is also a General Editor of the projected 10-volume Network Edition of the Complete Writings of Sándor Ferenczi, under contract with Phoenix Publishing.  Rudnytsky has edited Severn’s The Discovery of the Self in the Relational Perspectives series and he received the Gradiva Award for Reading Psychoanalysis: Freud, Rank, Ferenczi, Groddeck.

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