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Anna Freud

Birthdate: (86)
Birthplace: Vienna, Vienna, Austria
Death: October 9, 1982 (86)
London, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Sigmund Freud and Martha Bernays
Sister of Mathilde Freud; Jean-Martin Freud; Oliver Freud; Ernst Ludwig Freud and Sophie Freud

Occupation: psychoanalyst
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Anna Freud

Anna Freud (3 December 1895 – 9 October 1982) was the sixth and last child of Sigmund Freud and Martha Bernays. Born in Vienna, she followed the path of her father and contributed to the newly born field of psychoanalysis.

Alongside Melanie Klein, she may be considered the founder of psychoanalytic child psychology: as her father put it, child analysis 'had received a powerful impetus through "the work of Frau Melanie Klein and of my daughter, Anna Freud"'. Compared to her father, her work emphasized the importance of the ego and its ability to be trained socially. . . . Continued on Wikipedia.

World War I figured prominently in the life of Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) and his family, but at first it scarcely interrupted the usual rhythms of life. The family and their friends and relatives continued their vacations and travel in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Germany, and the mail continued to function well. Judging from the letters, only gradually did difficulties at borders arise and some problems with food appear. In the summer of 1915, the hotels in Bad Ischl (Austria) were crowded in August, and the war seemed distant. However, the next year in Bad Gastein, there was a shortage of white bread. However, Anna in nearby Altaussee found the bread supply to be fine. In 1917, vacations continued, and Sigmund Freud, to offset anticipated shortages, brought with him supplies of eggs, cheese, butter, and bread (and cigars) that had been sent by friends. Travel continued even in the fateful last months of the war when Anna went to Budapest. But now, she brought back food to Vienna, and in September recorded living on beans and potatoes. Her trip to Budapest was for a psychoanalytic congress, which was duly held the autumn of 1918 while cataclysmic events were ripping apart the Austro-Hungarian Empire. -- From a review of the Anna Freud-Sigmund Freud Letters.

Anna Freud was an Austrian-British psychoanalyst. She was the 6th and last child of Sigmund Freud and Martha Bernays. She followed the path of her father and contributed to the field of psychoanalysis. Alongside Melanie Klein, she may be considered the founder of psychoanalytic child psychology: as her father put it, child analysis "had received a powerful impetus through 'the work of Frau Melanie Klein and of my daughter, Anna Freud.'" Compared to her father, her work emphasized the importance of the ego and its ability to be trained socially. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Freud as the 99th most cited psychologist of the 20th century.

Anna Freud was born in Vienna, Austria-Hungary on 3 December 1895. She was the youngest daughter of Sigmund Freud and Martha Bernays. She grew up in "comfortable bourgeois circumstances." Anna Freud appears to have had a comparatively unhappy childhood, in which she "never made a close or pleasurable relationship with her mother, and was instead nurtured by their Catholic nurse Josephine." She had difficulties getting along with her siblings, specifically with her sister Sophie Freud. Sophie, who was the more attractive child, represented a threat in the struggle for the affection of their father: "the two young Freuds developed their version of a common sisterly division of territories: 'beauty' and 'brains', and their father once spoke of her 'age-old jealousy of Sophie.' As well as this rivalry between the two sisters, Anna had other difficulties growing up – 'a somewhat troubled youngster who complained to her father in candid letters how all sorts of unreasonable thoughts and feelings plagued her'. It seems that 'in general, she was relentlessly competitive with her siblings...and was repeatedly sent to health farms for thorough rest, salutary walks, and some extra pounds to fill out her all too slender shape': she may have suffered from depression which caused eating disorders. The close relationship between Anna and her father was different from the rest of her family. She was a lively child with a reputation for mischief. Freud wrote to his friend Wilhelm Fliess in 1899: "Anna has become downright beautiful through naughtiness." Freud is said to refer to her in his diaries more than others in the family. Later on Anna Freud would say that she didn’t learn much in school; instead she learned from her father and his guests at home. This was how she picked up Hebrew, German, English, French and Italian. At the age of 15, she started reading her father’s work and discovered a dream she had 'at the age of nineteen months...appeared in The Interpretation of Dreams. Commentators have noted how 'in the dream of little Anna...little Anna only hallucinates forbidden objects'. Anna finished her education at the Cottage Lyceum in Vienna in 1912. Suffering from a depression and anorexia, she was very insecure about what to do in the future. Subsequently, she went to Italy to stay with her grandmother, and there is evidence that 'In 1914 she travelled alone to England to improve her English', but was forced to leave shortly after arriving because war was declared. In 1914 she passed the test to work as a teaching apprentice at her old school, the Cottage Lyceum. From 1915 to 1917, she worked as a teaching apprentice for third, fourth, and fifth graders. For the school year 1917-18, she began ‘her first venture as Klassenlehrerin (head teacher) for the second grade’.[18] For her performance during the school years 1915-18 she was highly praised by her superior, Salka Goldman who ‘wrote…she showed “great zeal “for all her responsibilities, but she was particularly appreciated for her “conscientious preparations” and for her “gift for teaching”….being such a success that she was invited to stay on with a regular four-year contract starting in the fall of 1918’. She finally quit her teaching career in 1920, due to multiple episodes of illness.

Her first analysis was conducted by her father Sigmund Freud from 1918 to 1922 (then a second analysis from 1924 to 1929). Jacques Van Rillaer describes this "incestuous analysis". She presented the paper "Beating Fantasies and Daydreams" to the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society, subsequently becoming a member. In 1923, Anna Freud began her own psychoanalytical practice with children and two years later she was teaching at the Vienna Psychoanalytic Training Institute on the technique of child analysis. From 1925 until 1934, she was the Secretary of the International Psychoanalytical Association while she continued child analysis and seminars and conferences on the subject. In 1935, Freud became director of the Vienna Psychoanalytical Training Institute and in the following year she published her influential study of the "ways and means by which the ego wards off depression, displeasure and anxiety", The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defence. It became a founding work of ego psychology and established Freud’s reputation as a pioneering theoretician.

In 1938 the Freuds had to flee from Austria as a consequence of the Nazis' intensifying harassment of Jews in Vienna following the Anschluss by Germany. Her father's health had deteriorated due to jaw cancer, so Anna, with the help of Ernest Jones, worked out the immigration process for her father and family. The Nazi army had wanted to take Freud for interrogation, but Anna offered herself instead. Before she left, Freud placed in his daughter’s hand a poison, a strategy to kill herself in case they decided to torture her. Anna was released, in unknown circumstances, and the family emigrated to London. Anna took care of Freud, helping him with his medicine and treatment, and continued her work. Freud died in 1939.

The war gave Freud opportunity to observe the effect of deprivation of parental care on children. She set up a centre for young war victims, called "The Hampstead War Nursery". Here the children got foster care although mothers were encouraged to visit as often as possible. The underlying idea was to give children the opportunity to form attachments by providing continuity of relationships. This was continued, after the war, at the Bulldogs Bank Home, which was an orphanage, run by colleagues of Freud, that took care of children who survived concentration camps. Based on these observations Anna published a series of studies with her long-time friend, Dorothy Tiffany-Burlingham on the impact of stress on children and the ability to find substitute affections among peers when parents cannot give them. Freud naturalised as a British subject on 22 July 1946. From the 1950s until the end of her life Freud travelled regularly to the United States to lecture, to teach and to visit friends. She was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1959.[23] During the 1970s she was concerned with the problems of emotionally deprived and socially disadvantaged children, and she studied deviations and delays in development. At Yale Law School, she taught seminars on crime and the family: this led to a transatlantic collaboration with Joseph Goldstein and Albert J. Solnit on children's needs and the law, published in three volumes as Beyond the Best Interests of the Child (1973), Before the Best Interests of the Child (1979), and In the Best Interests of the Child (1986). Freud died in London on 9 October 1982. She was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium and her ashes placed in a marble shelf next to her parents' ancient Greek funeral urn. Her lifelong friend Dorothy Tiffany-Burlingham and several other members of the Freud family also rest there. One year after Freud's death her collected works were published. She was described as "a passionate and inspirational teacher" and in 1984 the Hampstead Clinic was renamed the Anna Freud Centre. In 1986 her London home of forty years, as she had wished, was transformed into the Freud Museum, dedicated to her father and the British Psychoanalytical Society.

Nevertheless, her basic loyalty to her father's work remained unimpaired, and it might indeed be said that 'she devoted her life to protecting her father's legacy... In her theoretical work there would be little criticism of him, and she would make what is still the finest contribution to the psychoanalytic understanding of passivity', or what she termed 'altruistic surrender... excessive concern and anxiety for the lives of his love objects'. Sigmund Freud biographer Louis Breger observed that Anna Freud's publications 'contain few original ideas and are, for the most part, a slavish application of her father's theories.' Jacques Lacan called 'Anna Freud the plumb line of psychoanalysis. 'Well, the plumb line doesn't make a building... [but] it allows us to gauge the vertical of certain problems.' With psychoanalysis continuing to move away from classical Freudianism to other concerns, it may still be salutary to heed Anna Freud's warning about the potential loss of her father's 'emphasis on conflict within the individual person, the aims, ideas and ideals battling with the drives to keep the individual within a civilized community. It has become modern to water this down to every individual's longing for perfect unity with his mother... There is an enormous amount that gets lost this way'.

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Anna Freud's Timeline

December 3, 1895
Vienna, Vienna, Austria
October 9, 1982
Age 86
London, United Kingdom