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Did Sandor Ferenczi Invent Co-Counselling in 1932?
Did Sandor Ferenczi invent co-counselling in 1932?
If not he came damn close. Here's a quote from Masson, "Against Therapy", 1989:
There are two major themes in the diary [written by Sandor Ferenczi in 1932]: sexual
traumas and mutual analysis. In mutual analysis, the patient and the analyst trade
places on the couch, and the analyst is analysed by his patient. It would seem that
Ferenczi came to the idea of mutual analysis because of his own growing doubts
about the nature of psychotherapy, the very profession for which he was most
praised and for which he seemed most suited.
Does this 'mutual analysis' sound like the basis of co-counselling?
Casting about then for a solution that would leave the underlying structure
of psychotherapy intact, Ferenczi came up with one that was as radical as one
might expect for the time: He attempted to democratise it. Ferenczi reasoned
that underlying the abuse of children was an imbalance of power. This same
power structure, and the same imbalance, existed in the analytic situation.
How could it be done away with?
Ferenczi thought if the patient were given the opportunity to analyse the
analyst, it would benefit both. Needless to say, this was a novel idea, but
one that was also dangerous to the very existence of analysis and therapy....
[Ferenczi] said that many patients told him that they felt that love coming
from the therapist could cure them, that if Ferenczi could simply be there,
more or less silent, without any attempt to interpret, this would help them.
Here is Ferenczi himself 13 March 1932 (translated by Masson):
Certain phases of mutual analysis represent the total giving up of all force
and all authority, on both sides. They give the impression of two children of
the same age, who had been terrified, and who tell each other of their
experiences. Because they have the same fate, they understand each other
completely, and instinctively seek to comfort one another. The knowledge that
each has experienced a similar fate permits the partner to appear totally
harmless, a person to whom one can safely entrust oneself.
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"Did Sandor Ferenczi Invent Co-Counselling in 1932?" page last updated 5-July-2003