The Hungarian Pikler-Lóczy Institute for Infants’ Well-being and Healthy Development could not have been created without the fundamental contribution of the Budapest School’s approach to Object Relations. For historical reasons, very little is known in psychoanalytical circles about this extraordinary experience and work. Pikler created an original model with a space for partnership, reciprocity, and the baby’s “true” autonomy, which focuses on the baby’s self-initiated motor development: “freedom to move”. The atmosphere of this world around babies can be related to the “rêveries” of Ferenczi about the necessity for an early, caring environment provided through adult tenderness as it appears in his Clinical Diary.

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  1. 1.

    “Lóczy, une maison pour grandir” is a film by Martino (2000—France, 170 min), where the director traces back the historical and cultural context in which this institution was born and shows the pedagogical approach in which it operates. Also see Martino’s (2001) book.

  2. 2.

    “Empathy” is here understood in the psychoanalytical way described by Stefano Bolognini in his book L’Empathie Psychanalytique (2006).


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Correspondence to Julianna Vamos.

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A version of this paper was presented at the “Sincerity and Freedom in Psychoanalysis” conference at the Freud Museum, October 2013.

1Julianna Vamos, Ph.D., Pychoanalyst at the Paris Psychoanalytic Society; Perinatalist at the Maternity Clinic: Les Bluets, Paris; Training psychologist for the French Pikler Lóczy Association.

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Vamos, J. FREE TO MOVE, FREE TO BE. Am J Psychoanal 75, 65–75 (2015).

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  • babies’ self-initiated motor development
  • true autonomy
  • initiative, gesture and language of tenderness
  • Emmi Pikler
  • Ferenczi