Sigmund Freud as a Consultant

Sigmund Freud, despite his own reservations about philosophy, has by now earned a secure place as a philosopher. For some, Freud ranks high among modem philosophers of science, while for others he stands as one of our great modern ethical teachers. One of the great beauties of Edoardo Weiss' Sigmund Freud as a Consultant is that here we mainly find Freud as a dedicated practicing clinician. Not only did he regularly treat over half a dozen patients a day in Vienna, but he also tried through his correspondence to keep in touch with the clinical activities of his disciples abroad. Edoardo Weiss was one such disciple in whom Freud saw a central hope for the fate of psychoanalysis in Italy. Freud took Weiss into his confidence, and in his discussion of Weiss' patients one can find some of his most characteristic clinical points of view, including his moral biases both in favor of certain cases as well as against other types of human dilemmas. In its concrete details the book has much to teach. Weiss's narrative provides the circumstances surrounding the clinical cases for which he asked Freud's help. Two of Weiss's relatives went for analysis with Freud in Vienna, and they clearly did not hold back from Weiss what they had learned as well as what they considered the major limitations of Freud's approach. It is also worth noting that this volume contains the only known letter we have in which Freud openly discusses his own analysis of his youngest child, Anna. Weiss, who later left Italy and practiced for many years in Chicago, is now honored as a pioneering figure in the history of the Italian reception of Freud's work. Today the clinical practice of psychoanalysis and all things connected to it are flourishing there and the general ideology of contemporary Italy has been shaped and affected by the message Freud had to offer. Weiss' account of his relationship with Freud, as well as the clinical particularities documented here, form a permanent addition to our understanding of the early years of psychoanalysis.