Sigmund Freud and Otto Rank: debates and confrontations about anxiety and birth.
ABSTRACT The publication of Otto Rank's The Trauma of Birth (1924) gave rise to an intense debate within the secret Committee and confronted Freud with one of his most beloved disciples. After analyzing the letters that the Professor exchanged with his closest collaborators and reviewing the works he published during this period, it is clear that anxiety was a crucial element among the topics in dispute. His reflections linked to the signal anxiety concept allowed Freud to refute Rank's thesis that defined birth trauma as the paradigmatic key to understanding neurosis, and, in turn, was a way of confirming the validity of the concepts of Oedipus complex, repression and castration in the conceptualization of anxiety. The reasons for the modifications of anxiety theory in the mid-1920s cannot be reduced, as Freud would affirm officially in his work of 1926, to the detection of internal contradictions in his theory or to the desire to establish a metapsychological version of the problem, for they gain their essential impulse from the debate with Rank.
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ABSTRACT: These three early psychoanalysts, who differed in important ways from Freud, each tried to shift his fundamental beliefs about women's bodies in basic developmental theory. This paper illustrates this point by elaborating their materials concerning the centrality of childbirth. One thematic aspect of Freud's disruptive fights with colleagues lay in his loyalty to phallocratic certainties. These problems still affect us, a century later, even in today's clinically pluralistic climate.Psychoanalytic Review The 10/2013; 100(5):695-716.