David Rosenfeld, 1996

Dr. Rosenfeld is one of the leading psychoanalytic theoreticians and clinicians of South America and has for many years pioneered in the psychoanalytic study of psychosis and addictions. His text on the psychoanalysis of these patients is an outstanding contribution to the field. He also has made numerous contributions to psychoanalytic technique and has developed in original ways a Kleinian approach to the treatment of very severe patients with the inclusion of ego psychological approaches. He also has been able to integrate some contributions from the French school as well.

In his 1992 book Psychoanalysis and Groups: History and Dialectics he extends his interest in the philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre into the realms of his own Kleinian discipline. By developing Sartre’s formulation of the five evolutionary stages of groups during moments of historical significance into a perspective with which to see therapy groups, he brings a fresh approach to the understanding of the early phases in the life of a group.

What did I feel there on the podium of the Waldorf Astoria when I received the Sigourney Prize? With the help of Shakespeare, I would say that “I cannot heave My heart into my mouth.” It was so moving. Then I felt joy, joy that my books were read, that thirty years of work reflected in those books didn’t fall on deaf ears; especially my work with severely disturbed patient, transient psychosis and autistic children. Because after writing a book, I have a very special feeling, wondering whether anybody will read it. Then, when I see that it’s being read, I feel joyful. This prize is the response I am receiving to everything I’ve written in all these years, in keeping with the scientific legacy of Mary Sigourney.

As I was being welcomed and presented by Otto Kernberg there in New York, I also felt indebted to my brilliant teachers, and remembered the good fortune I had to live and study for over fifteen years with great analysts in Paris, London and the United States, living, enjoying and learning. In New York I had a very good experience. Living in Paris was great . Later, I started to study and after to teach on the West Coast and met other great teachers of psychoanalysis. I’ve sent photocopies of the Sigourney diploma to all my living teachers.

In Paris, I enjoyed the luxury of grand masters of philosophy and psychoanalysis in the ,Paris Psychoanalytic Society , in the École des Hautes Études and the Sorbonne. My book on psychoanalysis of groups is based on ideas of Sartre, who was teaching and publishing actively in those years.

Another debt of gratitude goes to my childhood family that gave me curiosity and containment so that I could follow my own road and differ from the establishment. This has allowed me to treat severely ill patients and to think and write my own ideas about them.

Since I truly cannot express the intense joy of that moment, I am sending a photo which expresses it better than words: my joy shared by my wife, our two daughters, young son and son-in-law, who have accompanied me through my career. Without them at my side I wouldn’t have been able to study, work and write as I have. The photo shows the smile of the family, our shared joy, since this is a prize shared by all of us. – David Rosenfeld