Otto Rank (1884-1939) was born Otto Rosenfeld but decided to change his name at
the age of nineteen due to a very difficult relationship with his father. Bright young man and very determined, Rank had acquired a vast knowledge by personal reading despite his precarious material conditions.
After having been during several years one of the closest collaborators of Freud - he was a member of the Commitee and
charged with the job of surveillance of the psychoanalytic movement - Otto Rank moved away during the Twenties, while pushing search further on the active techniques undertaken in liaison with Ferenczi.
Not only Rank did not go into reverse when several, including Freud, underlined the dangers of such practices, but he was
further working out a theory which, as it was the case of some dissidents, rejects into the shade the sexual aspects of the psychical conflict.
Rank created in time a theory which, in the hope to shorten
the cures, claims to take a more direct path towards the ultimate source of the anxiety that he linked with the experiment of the birth. From this point of view, Rank
concluded that it was not necessary to carry out the long work of typical analysis of the traditional cures, and that a short work focusing directly on the first source of any anxiety
would make it possible to cure the neuroses.
Rank accomplished a stay of almost eight
years in Paris which enabled him to bind with Laforgue, Allendy, Henry Miller, and Anais Nin. He made there also the analysis of some members of the analytical community. However, his stay in France
had few consequences on the establishment of the psychoanalysis in this country.
In 1934, Rank decided to take again the road of the United States where he continued his career.
Many tried an analysis of this departure of Rank speaking about his filial relation with Freud, the discovery at Freud of a cancer of the jaw or about the relations often tended within
the committee. What seems to have counted much for others was the very cordial (and lucrative) greeting which he received in the United States where he gained a great success.
Copyright René DesGroseillers