The Other Side of the Story: Severn on Ferenczi and Mutual Analysis
ByPeter L. Rudnytsky
Pages 20

Elizabeth Severn's importance as the patient with whom Ferenczi engaged in his experiment of mutual analysis has been widely acknowledged since the publication of the Clinical Diary. By the time Severn began her eight-year odyssey with Ferenczi in 1925, she had published two books that engaged with Freud and his ideas and regarded herself as a practitioner of psychoanalysis. In an experiential account of the origins of Ferenczian trauma theory, what Severn relived in her dream "was nothing less than a recognition of the destruction or loss of an integral part of her being, while another part was sufficiently removed from the immediate psychic environment to look at what was occurring and suffer accordingly". If Ferenczi initially appeared to Severn as a "balanced, well-adjusted person", she struck him as aloof and intimidating, but inside both shells were severely traumatized souls seeking healing and redemption.