Elizabeth Severn, Sándor Ferenczi, and the Origins of Mutual Analysis at The Sándor Ferenczi Center

Ferenczi.Severn

The Sándor Ferenczi Center
​The New School For Social Research
Elizabeth Severn, Sándor Ferenczi, and the Origins of Mutual Analysis
Saturday September 19, 2015
Location: Theresa Lang Community and Student Center
Room 1202, Arnhold Hall, The New School
55 West 13th Street
New York, New York 10011
Registration 9:00
Program 9:30-3:00
Click Here to Register
Presentations: Peter Rudnytsky, Arnold Rachman & Jim Righter
Discussant: B. William Brennan
Opening Remarks: Jeremy Safran
Introduction: Lewis Aron
Moderator: Darlene Ehrenberg
Closing Remarks: Adrienne Harris

Sándor Ferenczi’s pioneering experiment in mutual analysis is widely acknowledged as the inspiration for a number of important developments in contemporary psychoanalytic thinking and practice. Ferenczi’s partner in this endeavor was Elizabeth Severn (referred to as “R.N.” in his Clinical Diary), a successful but deeply troubled, self-taught therapist from the United States. In this half-day conference, Peter Rudnytsky and Arnold Rachman will present papers drawing on discoveries in Severn’s published work, as well as archival material, to shed new light on the contributions that Severn herself made to the development of mutual analysis and to reevaluate her place and significance in psychoanalytic history.

Jim Righter, who was in analysis with Severn as an adolescent, will reflect on his own analysis with Severn in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. During his analysis, Righter would often begin by drawing what was on his mind, in order to help him free associate. Fortunately these drawings were kept and this “record of the analysis” is not only preserved in his memory, but also in an extensive collection of drawings.

William Brennan will discuss the presentations, elaborate on the contemporary clinical implications and challenges of Ferenczi and Severn’s experiments with mutual analysis, and on Severn’s unique contributions to psychoanalysis.

1. The Other Side of the Story: Severn on Ferenczi and Mutual Analysis

By Peter L. Rudnytsky, Ph.D., LCSW

Peter L. Rudnytsky, Ph.D., LCSW, is Professor of English at the University of Florida and an independent analyst in training. Editor of American Imago from 2001-2011, his many books include Reading Psychoanalysis: Freud, Rank, Ferenczi, Groddeck (2002), for which he received the Gradiva Award. Forthcoming in the Relational Perspectives series are his edition of Severn’s The Discovery of the Self and Memory, I Say: Elizabeth Severn, Mutual Analysis, and the Experiential Origins of Ferenczian Trauma Theory.

2. Elizabeth Severn: From self-taught therapist to Ferenczi’s Analytic Partner

by Arnold Rachman, Ph.D.

Arnold Wm. Rachman, Ph.D., F.A.G.P.A., is on the advisory board of The Sándor Ferenczi Center at the New School; Donor, The Elizabeth Severn Papers, The Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; and Honorary member, The Sándor Ferenczi Society, Budapest Hungary. He is the author of a Ferenczi trilogy, which includes Sándor Ferenczi: The Psychotherapist of Tenderness and Passion (1997); Psychotherapy of Difficult Cases(2003); and with Suzanne Klett: Analysis of the Incest Trauma (2015). His forthcoming book from Routledge Press is Elizabeth Severn, The Evil Genius of Psychoanalysis.

3. On Elizabeth Severn’s Couch: Reflections on an analysis with Severn

by Jim Righter, B. Arch.

Jim Righter is a graduate of Harvard and Yale Universities and a fellow of the American Institute of Architecture. He is a founding member of James Volney Righter Architects (now Albert, Righter & Tittmann, Architects) in Boston, Massachusetts and a Trustee Emeritus of The Boston Athenaeum.
Discussant: B. William Brennan ThM, MA, LMHC

B. William Brennan ThM, MA, LMHC is a psychoanalyst in independent practice in Providence, Rhode Island. He is a graduate of the National Training Program of the National Institute of the Psychotherapies and is the Co-chair of the History of Psychoanalysis Committee of the International Forum of Psychoanalytic Education. As a psychoanalytic historian he has written on the identities of the patients in Ferenczi’s Clinical Diary, including Izette de Forest and Clara Thompson.

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