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The American Journal of Psychoanalysis

, Volume 77, Issue 3, pp 313–331 | Cite as

The Failure of Clara Thompson’s Ferenczian (Proxy) Analysis of Harry Stack Sullivan*

  • Kathleen MeigsEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

After hearing Ferenczi’s talks on theory and practice in New York in 1926, psychiatrist Harry Stack Sullivan urged his friend and colleague Clara Thompson to get analyzed by Ferenczi so they could learn his technique. After saving for 2 years Thompson was a patient of Ferenczi for three summers and then moved to Budapest full-time for analysis until Ferenczi’s death. Two years after she returned to New York she attempted to analyze Sullivan. Analysis was broken off in anger by Sullivan after 14 months. Before the promised Ferenczian analysis began Thompson discovered Wilhelm Reich’s Character Analysis (1933) and she tried an aggressive attack on character with Sullivan rather than Ferenczian trauma-oriented “relaxation” and “neocathartic” therapy. Sullivan could not tolerate this. Because of their own unhealed trauma both individually and in relation to each other, neither Thompson nor Sullivan was able to advance Ferenczi’s views on trauma or its healing in America.

Keywords

Ferenczian analysis Harry Stack Sullivan Clara Thompson sexual trauma interpersonal relations 

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Copyright information

© Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.GainesvilleUSA

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