Occultism and the Origins of Psychoanalysis: Freud, Ferenczi and the Challenge of Thought Transference

Author(s) : Maria Pierri

Part of The History of Psychoanalysis Series - more in this series

Occultism and the Origins of Psychoanalysis: Freud, Ferenczi and the Challenge of Thought Transference

Book Details

  • Publisher : Routledge
  • Published : November 2022
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 276
  • Category :
    Psychoanalysis
  • Catalogue No : 96942
  • ISBN 13 : 9781032159553
  • ISBN 10 : 9781032159

Also by Maria Pierri

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Occultism and the Origins of Psychoanalysis traces the origins of key psychoanalytic ideas back to their roots in hypnosis and the occult.

Maria Pierri follows Freud’s early interest in "thought-transmission," now known as telepathy. Freud’s private investigations led to discussions with other leading figures like Carl Jung and Sándor Ferenczi, with whom he held a "dialogue of the unconsciouses." Freud’s and Ferenczi’s work assessed how fortune tellers could read the past from a client, inspiring their investigations into countertransference, the analytic relationship, unconscious communication, and mother-infant relationality. Both Freud and Ferenczi tried in different ways to come close to understanding the infant’s occult link with the mother and their secret primal language: their research on thought transference may be identified as a matrix of the developments of current psychoanalysis. Pierri clearly links modern psychoanalytic practice with Freud’s interests in the occult using primary sources, some of which have never previously been published in English.

Occultism and the Origins of Psychoanalysis will be of great interest to psychoanalysts in practice and in training, as well as academics and scholars of Freudian ideas, psychoanalytic theory, the history of psychology, and the occult. It is complemented by Sigmund Freud and The Forsyth Case: Coincidences and Thought-Transmission in Psychoanalysis.

Reviews and Endorsements

"This book gives back to contemporary psychoanalysis the pleasure of exploring really little-known territories, fascinatingly restoring the connection between the past, present and 'elsewhere' of communications between human beings, using the Freudian experience as its starting point, in order to reconsider in a reflective way the less visible, sometimes disorienting and mysterious levels of psychoanalytic practice. It offers us an especially valuable reflection on the mysterious communicating paths which put individual and group unconsciouses in contact with each other, often bypassing in an apparently disconcerting manner the border controls." - Stefano Bolognini, past president of the IPA and the Italian Psychoanalytic Society.

"Following the thread of thought-transference, Maria Pierri goes through the events of the Freudian endeavour starting from its roots in hypnosis and occultism, through the dialogue with the masters, the pupils and the great female patients, the leading actresses of the cure. In his disquieting curiosity for telepathy, which he shared intimately with Ferenczi, Freud discovers that fortune-tellers, who do not know the future, can read the unconscious of their clients. But the 'golden coin' of occultism, the generative mother-child communication, will be the great discovery of Ferenczi." - Luis J. Martin Cabré, training analyst, past president, Madrid Psychoanalytical Association.

"Today we know much about the polyphonic complex of contexts, experiences, relationships and ideas which made psychoanalysis possible and still nourish its current debates. We can be very grateful to Maria Pierri for bringing us up to date with the role and meaning of some little-known aspects of Freud’s life and work concerning occultism and the fascinating dialogue of the unconsciouses developed with Ferenczi: what the Author identifies as one of the matrices of the developments of contemporary psychoanalysis." - Marco Conci, MC, IPA Committee on the History of Psychoanalysis.

About the Author(s)

Maria Pierri is a psychiatrist and child neuropsychiatrist, formerly researcher and adjunct professor at the Psychiatric Clinic, Medical School, University of Padua. She is a training analyst of the Italian Psychoanalytical Society and International Psychoanalytical Association and member of the editorial board of the Rivista di Psicoanalisi.

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