“My Name was Sabina Spielrein”: Freud’s Russian Daughter and the Echoes of her Fascinating Oeuvre

This contribution is dedicated to the Russian psychoanalyst Sabina Spielrein (1885-1942). Following a short sketch of the historical context, we focus on Spielrein’s oeuvre, with specific reference to the implicit and the explicit impact of both Spielrein and her earliest work on the thinking of Jung and Freud. We concentrate not only on the theme of (counter)transference and on the concept of the death instinct, but also on some typically Jungian core concepts, such as the “collective unconscious”, the “archetypes”, the “anima”, and the “shadow”. In addition, we also briefly discuss Spielrein’s pioneering work in child analysis, including the role of child play, infant observation, and developmental psychology. In this way, we hope to illustrate the concrete impact of Spielrein’s oeuvre on the work of Melanie Klein, Anna Freud, and Donald Winnicott.

The Place of Acting Out in Psychoanalysis: From Freud to Lacan

Within psychoanalysis acting out is, today, a contested concept, both in terms of its theoretical underpinnings and with regard to its clinical application. In light of this the present paper presents a review of the concept which begins with Freud and moves on to trace the various discussions and controversies which have surrounded the term. It is argued that acting out is a valid and clinically important psychoanalytic concept, though one which retains its value only in virtue of unpacking its relation to the transference. Furthermore it is contended that this relation was initially made clear by Freud, and that this notion has been successfully built on and elaborated by, in particular, Lacan. In the context of discussing acting out, the related concepts of acting in and enactment are examined. The former is seen as representing instances of expressive actualisation, while the latter is found to be wanting in conceptual clarity. Also discussed are the position of the analyst in relation to the transference, and more specifically the problems associated with countertransference based interventions, highlighted by Lacan.

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The Mirror Image of the Present: Freud’s Theory of Retrogressive Screen Memories

Freud formulated the concept of retrogressive screen memories in 1897 to describe memories of past events which unconsciously portray contemporary situations. He used this concept at several points in his self-analysis and in the disguised autobiographical paper “Screen memories” (1899). The 1899 paper on screen memories contains contradictions and incoherences. Freud’s correspondence allows us to reconstruct what may be the immediate triggers for Freud’s recollections of the screen memory of the meadow with the yellow flowers described in 1899. Freud’s theory of retrogressive screen memories seems to have been formulated specifically in order to reinterpret the data previously explained by the “seduction theory” of 1896. Freud never used the theory of retrogressive screen memories to reinterpret this data. It is suggested that if Freud had done this he would have been forced to conclude that his patients unconsciously regarded his psychotherapeutic approach as a form of seduction. Freud’s screen memory of the meadow with the yellow flowers may have provided a source of countertransference in his treatment of the Rat Man en the Wolf Man.

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Anna G. & Sigmund Fr.: There is no Sexual Relationship. The Use of Freud’s (Counter)transference and the Question of Femininity

The publication of the diary of Anna G. has provided a new resource for the examination of the course of a psychoanalytic cure with Freud. The way in which Freud handled the (counter)transference and its effect on the femininity of his analysand is examined by analysing the diary as a form of free association. This method will allow us avoid the pitfalls of most other commentators. A slip of the tongue of the analysand (concerning Schnitzler’s Die Hirtenflöte) seems to hold the key to the transference in this cure.

A New Paradigm: Dream Interpretation in the Footsteps of Bion

In contrast to Freud’s theory that dream-work is necessary to disguise unconscious wishes, Bion conceives of dreaming as a filter that sorts, categorizes, and prioritizes emotional facts that are stimulated by sensory input. First, emotional experiences must be rendered capable of being dreamt. Bion equates dreaming with unconscious waking thought and with reverie. Psychotics are not able to dream; they have visual experiences during sleep, nightmares and nocturnal hallucinations which are of a different character. Bion conceives a dream as a special mode of thinking as well as a specific stage in the development of thought. A dream is an ephemeral conjunction of elements, only existing for a short time and rapidly disintegrating in loose elements. It is also the result of a series of transformation processes. After 1970, Bion advocates a new technique of dream interpretation: the analyst must dream the clinical situation. In this model the analysis of countertransference dreams is equally as important as the analysis of the patient’s dreams.