Back to Budapest and Ferenczi’s Villa

Back to Budapest and Ferenczi's Villa

My last week in Europe I traveled once more to Budapest, this time at the invitation of the president of the Hungarian Psychoanalytic Society, Szusza Lorincz, to give a lecture, and to have an opportunity to see the pioneering psychoanalyst Sandor Ferenczi’s villa. This is a view of the graceful wrought iron staircase inside the villa.

The first evening, I was met by Szusza and taken to dinner with several Hungarian analysts – all women psychologists. We had dinner in a very popular restaurant in a ship that is moored along the side of the Danube, the “old ship” or Ven Hajo. It was elegant, with beautiful views of the Castle up high on a hill across the river.
Budapest Old Ship Restaurant

Budapest 1-22 Szusza Piri Pam and Bori
Dr. Szusza Lorincz, Dr. Piri (Piroska) Komlosi, me, and Dr. Bori Sarkadi

After dinner, Szusza and one of the other analysts, Piri (who interestingly is an active member of a Presbyterian church), drove me up to the Citadel, where there is a towering statue of a woman holding a sheaf of wheat representing freedom (rededicated after the end of Soviet occupation), and stunning views of the river and city below.
Budapest Freedom Statue at Citadel
Budapest View of Chain Bridge from Citadel

Budapest from Citadel View of Danube bridges and Pest from Citadel

The next morning I met Dr. Judit Meszaros, who is responsible for the purchase and renovation of a portion of Ferenczi’s villa where he lived the last 3 years of his life after returning from the U.S. (Other residents still live in some of the floors of the building.) We had a wonderful, wide-ranging conversation about psychoanalysis, history, and politics over coffee in her flat – a gorgeous inherited flat still partly decorated in fin-de-siècle style and filled with art works by her father among others. Judit also is a photographer, mainly interested in portraiture, and she shared some of her pictures with me – and then began taking more of me both there and at the Ferenczi villa.

Budapest Judit Meszaros under the Mother Tree
Judit under the “mother tree” in her flat

The villa is beginning to be used as a place to host lectures and other small events related to psychoanalysis, and there are a number of poignant photos and other artifacts on the walls.
Budapest Ferenczi garden with Judit

Budapest Ferenczi quote and old photo of villa

Budapest Ferenczi villa door

Budapest Ferenczi villa exterior

Budapest Ferenczi villa plaque

Budapest Ferenczi villa staircase

That evening, I gave my lecture entitled “Sándor Ferenczi, the Relational Paradigm, and Pastoral Psychotherapy,” to a gathering of about 25 analysts. They were very curious and interested to learn more about pastoral psychotherapy, and we had a good interdisciplinary discussion about Ferenczi, intersubjectivity, and relational psychoanalysis as it is used in both psychoanalytic and pastoral psychotherapy. I have already heard from a few of them by email, and it seems that this is a connection that will last and possibly lead to fruitful exchanges in the future as well.
Budapest Judit explaining
Judit explaining aspects of Ferenczi’s history in the villa

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About pcooperwhite

Christiane Brooks Johnson Professor of Psychology and Religion, Union Theological Seminary, New York NY
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