Sandor Ferenczi and the Interpersonal and Relational Psychoanalytic Models of Mind
Harry Stack Sullivan, Clara Thompson, Karen Horney, Erich Fromm, Frieda Fromm-Reichmann, Edgar Levenson, Philip Bromberg, and Stephen Mitchell all made significant contributions to contemporary interpersonal psychoanalytic and psychodynamic theory and practice. Sullivan, Thompson, Fromm, Horney, and Fromm-Reichmann were the seminal contributors who shifted the focus of the emergence and development of mind away from the biological, instinctual, drive defense, and fantasy model of mind proscribed by Sigmund Freud and his followers. These “Interpersonalists” focused on the centrality of real, early experiences between the infant/young child and the mothering one(s) as contributing factors to the development of mind. Fromm’s contribution included the significant contributions that society, culture, religion, political forces, and family values have on human development. Bromberg brought the significance of dissociation and its potential for structuring the mind into sharp focus for Contemporary Interpersonal-Relational psychoanalytic and psychodynamic practitioners. Steve Mitchell, along with a few others, created what is now referred to as the Relational School. The relational school does not represent a singular or monolithic theoretical approach to psychoanalytic – psychodynamic theory or practice. Rather it sought to combine under the Relational Model of mind, different theories that share a similar ideology. That of recognizing the significance of both external and internal experiences and how they inform and affect us throughout the life cycle. In essence, relationalists appreciate and embrace the ideas that internal experience informs interpersonal relations and interactions with externality and interpersonal relationships and interactions with “externality” informs internal experience. Interestingly, both the interpersonal and the relational theories credit the groundbreaking work of Sandor Ferenczi and name him as their progenitor.
Potential to Distress: No
At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will be able to:
- Describe the contributions of the Interpersonal Model on the development of mind
- Discuss the similarities and differences between the interpersonal & relational models and how both differ from Freud’s Fantasy model of mind
- Discuss the contributions of Sandor Ferenczi to the interpersonal model of mind
- Discuss the differences between interpersonal theory and relational theory
- Explain Ferenczi’s shift away from Freudian orthodoxy
Presenter: Shelly Itzkowitz, PhD
Presenter Bio: Dr. Shelly Itzkowitz was graduated from Yeshiva University with a Ph. in Psychology in 1979 and was graduated from NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis with a Certificate of Specialization in 1986. He is an adjunct associate professor of psychology and clinical consultant at the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy and on the teaching and consulting faculty of the Trauma Studies Program of the Manhattan Institute for Psychoanalysis and he is a Guest Faculty member, The Eating Disorders, Compulsions, and Addictions Program, at the William Alanson White Institute. Shelly is also an Honorary member of the William Alanson White Society. He is a Fellow and Member of the Board of Directors of the International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation (ISSTD) and a recipient of their Lifetime Achievement Award.
Shelly has published several articles on the topics of trauma, dissociation and DID and has presented his work on dissociation and dissociative identity disorder both nationally and internationally. He, and Elizabeth Howell have a Chapter, “The Unconscionable In The Unconscious: The Evolution of Relationality In The Treatment of Trauma”, appearing in the recently published volume, “Dissociation and the dissociative disorders: Past, present, future (2nd Edition)”. They are co-editors of their recently published book, “Psychoanalysts, Psychologists and Psychiatrists Discuss Psychopathy & Human Evil” which received the 2021 Media Award-Written and the Sandor Ferenczi Award from ISSTD. They have also co-edited, “The Dissociative Mind in Psychoanalysis: Understanding and Working with Trauma” which received the 2016 Media Award from ISSTD and was nominated for the 2017 Gradiva Award. Dr. Itzkowitz is in full time private practice in Manhattan working with both individuals and couples and offers clinical consultations.
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