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.
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.
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.
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.
Judit explaining aspects of Ferenczi’s history in the villa