On Ferenczi’s ‘Clinical Diary’: Mutual Analysis, Orpha, Femininity

Part 2 of 2 of Ferenczi's Clinical Diary day courses, with Dr. Raluca Soreanu

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24 July, 11:00 am - 6:00 pm

£30 - £40

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Rudolf Hausner - On Ferenczi’s ‘Clinical Diary’ 2

This course takes place over three two-hour session, with a lunch break at 1pm and a tea break at 3.45pm.

Please note: Bookings close 24 hours before the start of the course at which point attendees will be emailed access details.

A recording will be made available for ticket holders for 10 days. The login details are forwarded 24 hours after the event.

The Clinical Diary of Sándor Ferenczi confronts us with a controversial clinical experiment, mutual analysis.

Engaging this text in a systematic manner, we discuss the mutual analysis that Ferenczi conducted with his patient Elizabeth Severn (referred to in the Diary as RN), while also thinking beyond it, to the profound implications that this analysis has for contemporary psychoanalytic theory and technique. We start from Ferenczi’s revisions of the idea of the death drive and from his discussion of ‘the feminine principle’ and femininity. We then explore Ferenczi’s unique contribution to imagining psychic fragments and working with them clinically, and we arrive at the Orpha-fragment of the psyche, a metapsychological construction that Ferenczi coined in the analysis of Elizabeth Severn. Finally, we unpack the mutual analysis, as it comes across in the pages of the Diary, while also discussing contemporary psychoanalytic themes, such as countertransference and regression in the analytic frame.


We aim for a historically-situated and critical discussion of Ferenczi’s work. We read Ferenczi’s texts closely, reflecting on how his metapsychology differs from the Freudian one, and on his main innovations in psychoanalytic theory and technique. We also work in dialogue with various theoretical and clinical perspectives (such as Klein, Winnicott, Balint, Lacan, Green, Laplanche). In so doing, we give significant space to clinical discussion, working with vignettes from Ferenczi’s Clinical Diary and from contemporary clinical practice.


  • 10:00-11:20: Death Drive. Feminine Principle. Harmony
  • 11:40-13:00: Orpha. Splitting. The Universal Egg
  • 14:00-15:20: Toward Mutual Analysis. Elizabeth Severn/R.N.
  • 15:40-17:00: Beyond Mutual Analysis. Elizabeth Severn/R.N.

See Part 1 of the course series: On Ferenczi’s Clinical Diary: Trauma, Hypocrisy, Authority

Dr Raluca Soreanu is a psychoanalyst, effective member of Círculo Psicanalítico do Rio de Janeiro, and Reader in Psychoanalytic Studies at the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic University of Essex. She is the author of Working-through Collective Wounds: Trauma, Denial, Recognition in the Brazilian Uprising (Palgrave, 2018), which formulates a theory of collective trauma, drawing on the work of Sándor Ferenczi. In the past five years, she has studied the Michael Balint Archive, found at the British Psychoanalytical Society. Her most recent project is a monograph looking at psychic splitting and temporality, The Psychic Life of Fragments: On Splitting and the Experience of Time in Psychoanalysis (forthcoming, 2020). She was part of the Waiting Times project, supported by the Wellcome Trust, and exploring the connections between time and care. Raluca is Academic Associate of the Freud Museum.


24 July
11:00 am - 6:00 pm
£30 - £40
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