04/19/2024, 13:54, Vienna  DEUTSCH / ENGLISH

Keep me logged in

Leading articles

THE VIENNA PSYCHOANALYST wants to give not only already internationally established psychoanalysts, but also still unknown psychoanalysts the opportunity to post a self-written and not yet published article on the FrontPage of our online magazine!

Our Users then can leave comments, ask questions or discuss the articles in our forum. Our aim is to provide an international platform where for the first time anyone interested in psychoanalysis can exchange ideas on certain topics.
Articles are welcome in German and/ or English.

If you are interested, please send your article to

(For reasons of readability, the male form is used with personal names, however the female form is also always intended.)




In our interview series "in conversation with“, we will briefly present the authors of the leading articles. We want to give our users the opportunity to read the leading article from a different point of view.

This week we are very glad to welcome Emilio Modena from Zurich, Switzerland:

Born in 1941 in Naples, since 1950 in Switzerland. Medical studies at the University of Zurich, afterwards five years working as a general practitioner. Psychoanalytic training at PSZ, private practice since 1974, lecturer and supervisor since 1977, founder of the Foundation for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis 1979. Numerous publications on psychoanalytic training drive theory and narcissism, psychoanalysis and politics (see Bibliography www.psychoanalyse-stiftung.ch).


DWP: What led you to deal with psychoanalysis, respectively with Freud and his achievements?

Emilio Modena: There have been two motifs during my adolescence and early adulthood. On the one hand the idealization of my grandfather (step-) father´s side, Rudolf Brun, who was a neurologist, psychoanalyst and myrmecologist and a real private scholar and as such an impressive personality. Even today, I still own his research microscope. On the other hand, my curiosity, which was directed towards biology, as well as sociology and politics. I discovered psychoanalysis as a link between the two areas.

DWP: If you had the opportunity to talk with Sigmund Freud, what would be the topic?
Are there any specific questions?

Emilio Modena: I would first like to congratulate him on his continuing relevance and tell him that a roboticists working group that conducts research in Vienna at the TU on artificial intelligence, adopted his model of the psychic apparatus for its further work. (Bruckner, D. et alt. [2013]: ARS: Eine technische Anwendung von psychoanalytischen Grundprinzipien für die Robotik und Automatisierungstechnik, in: Psychoanalyse im Widerspruch Nr. 50 [Psychosozial-Verlag]).

Then I would like to speak about his assumptions regarding the female development line that has an independent character for me (penis envy is only phase-specific, there is a clitorido-vaginal sex, which evenly matched the penis / phallus, and the female superego is no less pronounced than its male counterpart is). From there I would try to involve Freud into a discussion about the drive theory. It would certainly be difficult to dissuade him from his hypothesis of a death drive, which I oppose to with a development line of aggression as healthy vitality - the power of self-preservation I call in analogy with the libido Aggredo. If the professor still had patience, - I would count on his wisdom of age - then I would like to put his criticism of religion in continuation of his exchange of views with Romain Rolland in question: religiosity (not religion or church) is an anthropological constant. One cannot not believe.

DWP: Fabric or leather couch?

Emilio Modena: I prefer leather but soft leather. Originally I had on the couch a patchwork quilt from soft goatskin that was crafted by a friendly textile artist and corresponding wide and comfortable armchairs. When it was all torn after many years of use, I bought myself a modern sofa and armchair with a smooth leather surface. I think that I offer in this way my patients both security as well as the distance necessary for our work.

DWP: According to Bruno Bettelheim and the importance of fairy tales in childhood. Will you tell us your favorite fairy tale? And do you see parallels to your own adult life?

Emilio Modena: There is a whole series of fascinating fairy tales, especially if you also include those from other cultures. From the German-speaking countries, I give "The Frog Prince; or, Iron Henry" in the version of the Brothers Grimm preference with which I even occupied myself analytically deeper. It is a wonderful adolescent story, in which the princess and the prince rid themselves in a mirror image from their primary incestuous ties to the father, or respectively to the mother. Consider the courage of the frog, who leaves the protective Well that has become his prison, and sets off to the Royal Castle. Moreover, the courage of the young woman who defies the commandments of the father and throws in an angry act of aggression the disgusting amphibian against the wall - and wins so the beautiful and potent lover.

I myself have only overcome my shyness during my personal analysis with Paul Parin.

DWP: I dream,….

Emilio Modena:... therefore I am! Since I have a strong tendency to repression, I recall rarely night dreams, but some have remained unforgettable for me. As such, I love waking dreams and reverie even more.

DWP: What do you find good or particularly good in psychoanalysis and is there anything you do not like about it?

Emilio Modena: Psychoanalysis is a science sui generis, which until today has worked out the most consistent theory of the psychic apparatus (I could also say: the soul). It is historic, because it understands the people due to their personal drive and object development, and it is materialistic, because it does not refer to any kind of beyond what so ever. It is also fundamentally socio-critical, by not allowing any ideologies, but rather to bring them back through rationalizations on their irrational content. Psychoanalysis as only psychology has since then created a technique that makes it possible to reach the unconscious and bring it into the consciousness. Thus, psychoanalysis is useful as a critical theory of the subject to complement the Marxism as a critical theory of society.

What I dislike is the conservatism of many psychoanalysts who have made of the critical science an instrument of adjustment to the prevailing conditions.

DWP: What challenges did you have to face during your analytic training?

Emilio Modena: As a member of the Zürcher Plattform group I had to fight for many years against the self-righteous authoritarian leadership style of the Schweizerischen Gesellschaft für Psychoanalyse [Swiss Society for Psychoanalysis (SGP)], till 1977 emerged finally from the old Psychoanalytischen Seminar Zürich [Psychoanalytic Seminar Zurich (PSZ)] a free and basic democratic institution. In my formative years on and behind the couch, I needed a very long time - five to ten years - until I had developed my personal work style in which I felt secure.

DWP: Do you have a favorite Freud - quote?

Emilio Modena: „As a ‘depth-psychology’, a theory of the mental unconscious, it can become indispensable to all the sciences which are concerned with the evolution of human civilization and its major institutions such as art, religion and the social order. (The Question Of Lay Analysis)

DWP: Are there other psychoanalysts, in addition to Sigmund Freud, who you like to study?

Emilio Modena: Last year I published together with Robert Home (Frankfurt) a book, in which we have tried to compare Alfred Lorenzer and Jacques Lacan - and their students – to each other: Heim, R. und Modena, E. (Hg.) 2015: Jacques Lacan trifft Alfred Lorenzer. Über das Unbewusste und die Sprache, den Trieb und das Begehren, Giessen (Psychosozial-Verlag).

Thank you very much for this conversation, we are already looking forward to your leading article!

Sigmund Freud Museum SFU Belvedere 21er haus stuhleck kunsthalle
warda network orange