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NYU Langone Medical Center - Alumni Hall B
Reconstructing Freud's Reconstructions: Little Sigmund in his Birthplace
Lecturer: Harlod Blum, M.D.
Introduction: Henry Nunberg, M.D.
Please note that registration is mandatory for this event, as a paper will be pre-distributed via email to registrants. Register here.
Although at age seventy-five Freud (1931) asserted "deep within me there continues to be the happy child of Freiberg"(Pribor), his statement may now be regarded as an idealized version of his infancy and early childhood, devoid of trauma and stress. His reconstructions of his first three years of life, reported in his letters of October, 1897, to Wilhelm Fliess are subject to their own reconstruction. He had just repudiated seduction trauma as an exclusive etiology of psychopathology. Freud was then in the throes of an intense transference-counter-transference relationship with Fliess with reactivated unconscious conflict and developmental challenge. These reconstructions of his nursemaid, of his reactions to the birth and death of his first sibling, and of seeing his mother "nudam" require re-evaluation and revision in the context of contemporary psychoanalytic theory and new knowledge.
While the specific reconstructions are of continuing interest, the methodology of analytic inquiry into early childhood and parenting transcends the inevitable limitations of the infancy of psychoanalysis. The concept of reconstruction potentiated the development of psychoanalytic thought though with recurrent controversy, especially concerning developmental transformation, retrospective meaning, and historical reality.
Harold Blum, M.D. is a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Institute for Psychoanalytic Education (IPE), affiliated with NYU School of Medicine. He has published more than 160 articles; co-edited or authored almost a dozen books; presented more than two dozen honorary lectures, including "Freud Lectures" at institutes and societies across the globe; served as Vice-President of the International Psychoanalytic Association and as Executive Director of the Freud Archives (1987-2014); and been awarded numerous prizes, including the; the Mary Sigourney Inaugural Award in 1990, and again in 1992 as the Executive Director of the Sigmund Freud Archives; the Margaret Mahler Inaugural Award (1976); and the Heinz Hartmann Award by New York Psychoanalytic Society (1996). He was Editor-in Chief of the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association for more than a decade (1973-1983), Consulting Associate Editor of International Journal of Psycho-Analysis (1995-2001), and a member of the editorial board of numerous publications. Dr. Blum is a Distinguished Fellow at the American Psychiatric Association.