Anna Freud

Anna Freud

Anna Freud is considered the co-founder of psychoanalytic child psychology along with Melanie Klein. She was born on 3rd December 1895 in Vienna, Austria. Her formal education did not play a significant role in her learning instead, she gained a lot of knowledge and learned from her father Sigmund Freud and the guests he hosted at home. She learnt and became fluent in many languages including German, Hebrew and French by serving them as a host. Born as the sixth and last child to Sigmund Freud and Martha Barneys she worked extensively on psychoanalysis with his father. She spent an unhappy childhood which instigated a yearning in her to study child psychology.

Anna was more focused on studying about children and adolescents, unlike, her father who was more into adult psychoanalysis. She made a profound impact on development of ego psychology; she always followed her father’s theories and proposition regarding the subject. She described the mechanism of defense system of the human psyche as well as that of adolescents. The Freudian concept of psychology well known as ego psychology represents today the social and developmental issues that are surrounded by Freudian concept. Anna Freud was not particularly a theoretician. Her interests and inclinations were more devoted towards development of children and adolescents whereas his father was more into adult psychology. Dealing with children as a therapist is a different matter altogether as their defense mechanisms are not built and they cannot express their emotions more clearly so Anna Freud designed and developed a different methodology to deal with adolescents.

She contributed a lot to the study of personality and her contributions mainly came through the studies conducted when she was working at Hampstead Child Therapy Clinic in London. She found out, that the major problem lied among the communication between therapists as well as there was a different method of dealing with children than with adults. She studied that a child’s problem should be dealt and solved on an immediate basis after studying his behavior in different aspects of his life, if there was major difference in his eating pattern, his relationships, attitudes and his lifestyle from other children of his age then it was to be assumed by a clinician that there is a shortcoming that should be addressed promptly. A child is in his developmental stages of life and so his problems should be resolved on immediate basis to strengthen healthy mind and body.

Many of her works were published as books, The Writings of Anna Freud and The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense both are masterpieces of modern psychology. Anna Freud’s significant contribution to psychoanalysis started off by her first article on beating fantasies which reflected her own inner life about how she actually felt and the emotional experiences that surrounded her. She worked on child development and wrote a book titled, Introduction to the Technique of Child Analysis. Though she did a lot of work on child development and other aspects of psychoanalysis, she never deviated from the theoretical backgrounds laid by his father in the field of psychoanalysis.


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