“THE SECOND GENERATION”

The so-called “second generation” of psychoanalysts was much better qualified than the first one. To begin with, they knew for sure what it was all about. The first one was a bit lost. Ferenczi, for example, initially believed that psychoanalys was a new type of dance. Ernest Jones was convinced that it was a card game and, well into the 20th century, he always carried a deck of cards in his pocket just in case. These early psychoanalysts had learned psychoanalysis haphazardly, in dribs and drabs so to speak. Their theoretical grounds depended to a large extent on the mood in which Freud had got out of bed in Vienna that morning. Besides, practice is everything in any therapeutic discipline. And before the Great War few people allowed themselves to be psychoanalyzed if it was not at gunpoint. Psychoanalysts of the first generation were like those hairdresser trainees who roam the streets in search of whatever head of hair he can get his hands on. In general, people prefer to place their hair in the hands of a professional who knows what he is doing because he has been doing it for a long time. Otherwise, you risk having your head with more than two sideburns and a mustache on your forehead. The second generation, however, had learned from the mistakes and successes of the first one and therefore played it safe. They had a catalog of complexes and neurotic syndromes at their disposal and that made things a lot easier when it came to diagnosing. As a result, they were also much better paid. 

The analysts of the first generation felt lucky if they received some money in exchange for their services. Certainly, there were those who came from a wealthy family (such as Marie Bonaparte, related to Napoleon) who never lacked patients because they could afford to pay them. Those of the second generation, however, could afford to charge reasonable fees. In New York, as psychoanalysis was fashionable, there were even those who “fleeced” their patients. In this respect, the founding of the New York Psychoanalytic Society was a great step forward in controlling abuses. One of the unscrupulous psychoanalysts who had a field day profiting from New York neurotics was the Spaniard Emilio Sandalio who, before emigrating to America, boasted in Madrid of having read all of Freud’s books even though these had not yet been translated into Spanish and despite the fact that he did not know any other language that his own, and even this one with difficulty because he did not distinguish between verbs and adverbs. For some years he had tried to implant psychoanalysis in his homeland with so little fortune that “la Guardia Civil” had him among the most wanted. When this Sandalio collected enough money, he bought a steamship ticket to New York with intent to make a killing there. The first thing he did was to learn the language, although he never really mastered English. He confused words that had a similar pronunciation for one another, as a result of which the patients came out of his consultation room with surrealistic diagnoses. But despite all that, he was quite successful, especially among the upper classes… until Mrs. Caroline Fritzmayer denounced him for telling her “You are a bitch confident plotter”, although according to his lawyer he had wanted to say “You have a big self-confidence problem”.


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