Sándor Ferenczi (7 July 1873, Miskolc, Hungary – 22 April 1933, Budapest, Hungary) was a Hungarian psychoanalyst.
Born Sándor Fränkel to Baruch Fränkel and Rosa Eibenschütz, both Polish Jews, he later magyarized his surname to Ferenczi.
As a result of his psychiatric work, he came to believe that his patients' accounts of sexual abuse as children were truthful, having verified those accounts through other patients in the same family. This was a major reason for his eventual disputes with Sigmund Freud.
Prior to this conclusion he was notable as a psychoanalyst for working with the most difficult of patients and for developing a theory of more active intervention than is usual for psychoanalytic practice. During the early 1920s, criticizing Freud's "classical" method of neutral interpretation, Ferenczi collaborated with Otto Rank to create a "here-and-now" psychotherapy that, through Rank's personal influence, caused the American Carl Rogers to conceptualize person-centered therapy (Kramer 1995).
Ferenczi has found some favour during modern times among the followers of Jacques Lacan as well as among relational psychoanalysts in the United States. Relational analysts read Ferenczi as anticipating their own clinical emphasis of mutuality (intimacy), intersubjectivity, and the importance of the analyst's countertransference. Ferenczi's work has strongly influenced theory and praxis of the interpersonal-relational theory of American psychoanalysis, as typified by psychoanalysts at the William Alanson White Institute.
Ferenczi was president of the International Psychoanalytical Association from 1918 to 1919.
Ernest Jones, a biographer of Freud, termed Ferenczi as "mentally ill" at the end of his life, famously ignoring Ferenczi's struggle with pernicious anemia, which killed him during 1933. Though desperately ill with the then-untreatable disease, Ferenczi managed to deliver his most famous paper, "Confusion of Tongues" to the 12th International Psycho-Analytic Congress in Wiesbaden, Germany, on 4 September 1932.
Full article ▸