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Anna Freud

(1895—1982) psychoanalyst


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(1895–1982)

Austrianpsychoanalyst and youngest daughter of the founder of psychoanalysisSigmund Freud. Close to her father, she recounted her dreams to him from a young age (many of which are analysed in his book The Interpretation of Dreams, which was published when she was 5 years old), and began reading his work as a teenager. She underwent analysis with her father as part of the training to become a psychoanalyst herself in 1918, was admitted to the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society in 1922, and began taking patients of her own shortly thereafter. Her research and practice was primarily focused on children, which made her a rival of Melanie Klein, with whom she did not see eye to eye. Indeed, their rivalry briefly threatened to split the British Psychoanalytic Association, but was in the end resolved amicably. From 1925 until 1934 she was secretary of the International Psychoanalytic Association. In 1938, fleeing the Nazis, she moved with her father, by then very ill with jaw cancer, to London, where she oversaw the building of his house in Hampstead (in which she lived for the rest of her life). Posterity, rather unkindly, tends to regard Anna Freud as having little that was original to say, a perception her immense labour of editing and translating her father's work did little to change. And though it is true her own thought is very much an extension of her father's she nevertheless developed her own take on things, emphasizing the role of the ego (rather than the id, which was her father's interest). Her key publication was the Ego and the Mechanisms of Defence (1936).

Further Reading:

E. Young-Bruehl Anna Freud: A Biography (1988).


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