The American Journal of Psychoanalysis

, Volume 79, Issue 4, pp 484–493 | Cite as

Constructing Intimate Space Through Narration: Ferenczi’s Clinical Diary*

  • Kathleen Kelley-LainéEmail author


Psychoanalysis is a narrative activity of a very special kind. One could even say that the method of free association is a subversive activity since its purpose is to cut through layers of previous conditioning in the effort to open new spaces in the psyche. The hypercathexis of neurotic functioning can only be transformed if new, unknown dynamics are able to emerge, and can then be invested by the subject. This process necessitates economic change—investing novel psychic functioning. Aided by personal analytic experience, the psychoanalyst’s role is to help initiate and support this subversive activity in the patient by initiating him/her into the method of free association. Difficulties arise when neither the patient, nor the analyst are comfortable with the symbolic and metaphorical dynamics of free association. Reacting to Freud’s lack of interest in an emotional analytic process with the patient, Ferenczi considered the analytical space as a mutual frame, to be transformed in and by the intimate psychoanalytical process. The author explores Ferenczi’s Clinical Diary as the construction of an intimate space through narration, attempting to discover Ferenczi’s techniques in this subversive activity.


Ferenczi intimacy analytical space subversive narration 



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© Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SPP FranceParisFrance

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