|Martino, M.S. (2011). Ferenczi's Language of Tenderness: Working with Disturbances From the Earliest Years. By Robert W. Rentoul. Lanham, MD: Jason Aronson/Rowan and Littlefield, 2010. 190 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 80:189-196.
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(2011). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 80:189-196
Ferenczi's Language of Tenderness: Working with Disturbances From the Earliest Years. By Robert W. Rentoul. Lanham, MD: Jason Aronson/Rowan and Littlefield, 2010. 190 pp.
This slender and provocative volume continues the discussion of the controversy between Freud and Ferenczi as it still exists in psychoanalytic practice today. Rentoul contrasts classical Freudian theory with the thinking of object relationalists, and of intersubjective, relational, developmental, and recent attachment theorists, tracing all of the latter group back to the writings of Ferenczi and his strong impact on our conception of the therapeutic relationship.
This controversy, which has continued to be discussed in our literature, highlights the substantive differences in both theory and technique between Freud and Ferenczi, which remain partially irresolvable today, and continue to require integration in the mind of the analyst in working with each patient. This is the tension between the thinking, rational analyst and the feeling, affective analyst: the struggle between abstinence and neutrality, on the one hand, and gratification and response, on the other—a tension that Ferenczi described and Rentoul now brings us back to. As Hoffer has pointed out, “this tension between the heart and the mind, passion and reason, indulgence and frustration, mother and father is universal in human nature, therefore unavoidable in daily clinical work.”
Rentoul, originally a Scottish minister, became a member of the British Psychological Society and introduced and practiced psychoanalytic psychotherapy in the English Midlands until his recent retirement. His experience with more deprived and difficult patients, together with his own dissatisfaction with a personal, classical analysis, led him to seek
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