Ellen West: tre tentativi di cura e il loro fallimento

  • Albert Hirschmüller
  • Cecilia Iannaco
  • Annelore Homberg


In his famous text Ellen West (1944) L. Binswanger deals with the case of a young woman which he had in his care in 1921 in terms of the Daseinanalyse. The article rexamines this case which ended tragically ( the patient suicided with the consent of her doctors) in light of her original medical record stored in the archives of the Bellevue Clinic and of a vast array of mostly unpublished documentation held by the family of the patient. From her letters as well as those of her husband and doctors treating her we get a devastantingly clear picture of the two treatments she underwent in 1920 with the psychoanalysts von Gebsattel and Hattinberger and the months spent with Binswanger as well as the consultations with Kraepelin, Hoche and Bleuler. The author comes to the conclusion that the tragic outcome was due both to the transferece dynamics of the patient as well as the devastating countertransference of the therapists.


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