Supervision for our times: countertransference and the rich legacy of the Budapest School

Abstract

In this paper I ask what an investigation of the Budapest model of supervision may add to our psychoanalytic imagination. The Budapest model confronts us with a number of crucial questions for contemporary psychoanalysis, including the question of envisioning ways of working on the countertransference of the analyst. I discuss the lack of memory that surrounds the Budapest model, and I read it in relation to the unsettling issues it stirs up, including those of authority, horizontality, and the ethics of psychoanalysis. In the Budapest model, supervision can be seen as a form of “double dreaming” or of “dreaming up of a dream”. In particular, in drawing on the writings of Sándor Ferenczi and Michael Balint, I point to some principles behind the Budapest model and to the epistemic, technical, and ethical implications of their ideas. I also work toward a Ferenczian “translation” of the idea of “parallel process”.

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Acknowledgements

This article is dedicated to Fátima Lobo Amin. The author would like to thank Tereza Mendonça Estarque, Mônica Aguiar, Carlos Lannes, Judit Szekacs, Irina Culic, Stephen Frosh, Laurence Spurling and Hanoch Yerushalmi. The writing of this article was supported through a Wellcome Trust Fellowship in the Medical Humanities [Grant 200347/Z/15/Z].

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Correspondence to Raluca Soreanu.

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Raluca Soreanu, Ph.D. is the Wellcome Trust Fellow in Medical Humanities at the Department of Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck College, London; Psychoanalyst, Effective Member of Círculo Psicanalítico do Rio de Janeiro; Member of The College of Psychoanalysts, UK.

Address correspondence to: Raluca Soreanu, Ph.D., Department of Psychosocial Studies, School of Social Science, History and Philosophy, Birkbeck, University of London, 26 Russell Square, Room 230, Bloomsbury, London, WC1B 5DQ, UK

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Soreanu, R. Supervision for our times: countertransference and the rich legacy of the Budapest School. Am J Psychoanal 79, 329–351 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1057/s11231-019-09205-2

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Keywords

  • Budapest School of Psychoanalysis
  • Sándor Ferenczi
  • Vilma Kovács
  • Michael Balint
  • supervision
  • countertransference
  • Budapest model of supervision