Ferenczi's concept on trauma, connected with the Katonadolog - 'Soldiers Can Take It' concept

Kata Lénárd, Tamás Tényi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

1 Citation (Scopus)


Although Ferenczi did not write his Clinical Diary - neither most of his late works - in Hungarian, he uses the term katonadolog in Hungarian even in the German text, and later translations apply the original Hungarian word annotated in a footnote as 'soldiers can take it'. Ferenczi connects the term katonadolog to the concept of biphasic trauma and to the interpretation of trauma as a moral shock. The paper investigates how this can be connected to the idea of intersubjective self theories stating that commonly constructed meanings in the early mother-child interactions, meaningful inner contents and common experiences are of utmost importance. Further, it analyses how the child, who may be exposed to parental interpreting power, can create a distorted image of reality that has nothing or little to do with his own real experiences. However, due to the deviant parental mirroring the 'transcription of reality', the formation of 'false and robbed self' (Winnicott and Schibbye) can already start in preverbal age. According to the biphasic trauma, it is the parental denying and interpreting power that is really traumatogenic, and this is complemented by the interpretation of the child's pain as katonadolog.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-29
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Forum of Psychoanalysis
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2 2003



  • 'Wise baby'
  • Attachment
  • Biphasic trauma
  • Fragmentation
  • Mentalisation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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