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Int J Psychoanal. 2012 Aug;93(4):1017-34. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-8315.2012.00559.x.

Regression and new beginnings: Michael, Alice and Enid Balint and the circulation of ideas.

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  • 1jonathan@sklar.co.uk

Abstract

This article offers a new evaluation of Michael Balint's history. It starts with his growing up in Hungary and examines the central concepts of his writing: the analytic pair, regression and the basic fault and creativity, up to and including his renowned work on the eponymous Balint groups (which forged a unique link between psychoanalysis and medicine). While his name is, of course, well known, this article aims to bring his ideas to the attention of a modern analytic audience. Having trained in the 1920s with Ferenczi, Balint brought Ferenczi's literary inheritance to England where he lived until his death in 1970. His connections to Klein, Winnicott and Lacan, all of whom respected his analytic stance, are also examined. Furthermore, this article argues that his ideas were filtered through the theoretical lens of his first wife Alice Balint and later through Enid Balint, both of whom played a key - and rarely recognised - role in the development of his thought. It ends with a brief discussion of his ideas on analytic training and his quest, successful only after his death, to publish the complete Freud-Ferenczi correspondence, together with Ferenczi's diary.

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