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38. Infantile Ideas about the Female Genital Organs. [1913]

Sandor Ferenczi Karnac Books ePub
Medium 9781855750876

6. The Adaptation of the Family to the Child (1927)

Sandor Ferenczi Karnac Books ePub

Being Free Associations on Children’s Education (1928)

THE title which I have given to this paper is rather an unusual one, for we are generally concerned with the adaptation of the child to the family, not that of the family to the child; but our special studies in psycho-analysis have shown that it is we who should make the first adaptation, and that we have in fact made the first step in this direction, which of course is to understand the child. Psycho-analysis is often reproached for being too exclusively concerned with pathological material; this is true, but we learn much from a study of the abnormal that is of value when applied to the normal. In the same way the study of the physiology of the brain would never have advanced so far as it has without a knowledge of the processes of faulty function; by a study of neurotics and psychotics psycho-analysis shows the way in which the different levels or layers, or the different ways of functioning, are hidden behind the surface of normality. In the study of the primitive or the child we find traits which are invisible in more civilized people; indeed we stand in debt to children for the light they have thrown on psychology, and the best and most logical way of repaying that debt(it is in our interest as well as theirs to do so) is to strive to improve our understanding of them through psycho-analytical studies.

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13. Sunday Neuroses. [1919]

Sandor Ferenczi Karnac Books ePub

WE know from psychiatry of illnesses that display a marked periodicity; it will suffice to recall periodic mania and melancholia. We know, too, since Freud established it psycho-analytically, that psycho-neurotics—so many of whom, as is well known, suffer from repressed memories— cheerfully celebrate the anniversary or the time of year of certain experiences significant for them by an exacerbation of their symptoms. But as far as I am aware no one has yet described neuroses the oscillation of whose symptoms were dependent on the particular day of the week.

And yet I think I can assert the existence of this peculiar periodicity. I treated several neurotics the history of whose illness, recounted spontaneously or reproduced during the analysis, contained the information that certain nervous conditions had developed—mostly in youth—on a certain day of the week, and had then regularly recurred.

Most of them experienced these periodical returns of the disturbances on Sundays. They were mostly headaches or stomach disturbances that were wont to appear on this day without any particular cause, and often utterly spoilt the young people’s one free day of the week. I probably do not need to state that I did not neglect the possibility of other rational causes. The patients themselves, too, endeavoured —apparently successfully—to hit on a reasonable explanation for this peculiar periodic regularity of their condition, and wanted to connect it with the dietetic peculiarities of the Sunday. One sleeps longer than usual on a Sunday, therefore one has a headache, said some; one eats so much and so well on Sundays, and therefore one upsets one’s stomach so easily, said the others. Nor do I wish to deny the activity of this purely somatic factor in evoking the Sunday periodicity.

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35. Washing-Compulsion and Masturbation. [1923]

Sandor Ferenczi Karnac Books ePub

I HAVE a very intelligent patient with a mixture of hysteria and obsessional neurosis. The strongest of her compulsive thoughts is that she must be crazy; she also has washing-compulsion. She was for a long time a fervid onanist, also after marriage. She always practised onanism with scruples of conscience because (as a child) her mother had threatened her that she would be (as a result of masturbation) mentally imbecile. Her present neurotic illness coincided with her abandonment of onanism. A few dream analyses convinced me that the compulsive thoughts of being deranged took the place of a mixture of perverse phantasies. To become deranged = to commit mad, foolish, imbecile acts, naturally of a sexual nature.2 She produced a mass of prostitution phantasies; the unconscious sexual phantasies were concerned with her parents, which in part she replaced by her children. She loved her little son and called him’ little father’ (in Hungarian not an extraordinary thing to do); the daughter she treated severely, and called her’ little mother’ . But the point worthy of notice in the case is that she varied the washing till at length she provided herself thereby with genital gratification. At last she masturbated with the nozzle of the irrigator and rubbed her vulva with a stiff brush. Thereby was her conscience quieted; she only washed herself and did not practise onanism. Professor Freud’s presumption, that compulsions which ought to be precautionary measures against onanism are really roundabout ways to onanism again, finds in this case an irrefutable confirmation.

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33. Pollution without Dream Orgasm and Dream Orgasm without Pollution. [1916/17]

Sandor Ferenczi Karnac Books ePub

PATIENTS often tell one that they have had a pollution during sleep, although the accompanying dream content had no sensual character, nor indeed betrayed any sexual connection. Analysis often discovers the threads leading from the harmless conscious dream content to an unconscious sexual phantasy that explains the seminal loss. It certainly shows a marked capacity for repression, however, when the substitute for the real can be adhered to till the last moment of organic satisfaction. Much more frequent, of course, are the cases in which the dream—as usual—begins with disfigurations and veilings of the phantasy, but at the moment of orgasm allows the dreamer to become conscious of the sexual or genital occurrence without any concealment. There is, however, a typical form of these pollution dreams unaccompanied by orgasm that I had the opportunity of studying almost daily in a young man over’ a prolonged period. He had a pollution every night, but never accompanied with a sensual dream content. They were occupation dreams that ended with a loss of semen; this confirms Tausk’s assumption, therefore, according to which a pathological press of occupation represents a disfigured sexual activity.

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