FROM GHOST TO ANCESTOR: SÁNDOR FERENCZI’S IMPACT ON CLINICAL SOCIAL WORK

Those who know ghosts tell us that they long to be released from their ghost life and led to rest as ancestors. As ancestors they live forth in the present generation, while as ghosts they are compelled to haunt the present generation with their shadow life… In the daylight of analysis the ghosts…are laid and led to rest as ancestors whose power is taken over and transformed into the newer intensity of present life. (Loewald, 1989, p.249)

Abstract

Beginning in the 1920s, Freudian psychoanalytic theory had a deep impact on social work practice and education and helped to professionalize clinical social work. Not as well-known was the role that Freud’s patient and colleague Sándor Ferenczi played in this evolution. Through a review of the relevant literature and primary sources—some presented here for the first time—I will explore the ways in which Ferenczi’s work directly impacted the development of clinical social work.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

With great appreciation to Theresa Aiello, Lewis Aron, B. William Brennan, Michael Clifford, Judit Mészáros, Annelisa Pedersen, Shulamith Lala Ashenberg Straussner and Carol Tosone.

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Correspondence to Steven Kuchuck.

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Address correspondence to Steven Kuchuck, LCSW, 222 West 14th Street, #5M, New York, NY 10011, USA. Email: stevenkuchuck@gmail.com

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Kuchuck, S. FROM GHOST TO ANCESTOR: SÁNDOR FERENCZI’S IMPACT ON CLINICAL SOCIAL WORK. Am J Psychoanal 77, 146–162 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1057/s11231-017-9088-3

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Keywords

  • psychoanalysis
  • Sigmund Freud
  • Sándor Ferenczi
  • Otto Rank
  • clinical social work