Anna Freud: The Dream of Psychoanalysis

Anna Freud: The Dream of Psychoanalysis

Anna Freud: The Dream of Psychoanalysis

Anna Freud: The Dream of Psychoanalysis

Excerpt

In 1950, while an undergraduate at Harvard College, I chanced upon a lecture given by Anna Freud. On my way "home" (to my dormitory room) from the organic chemistry laboratory, which for me at the time seemed a parcel of hell's acreage, I met another premedical student who was already interested in psychiatry and psychoanalysis as well. He knew of the scheduled lecture, and suggested we grab a Coke, then hurry for good seats--for there was certain, he said, to be a large audience to hear Miss Freud. I had to confess that I didn't know who Miss Freud was--except that she must be some kin to Sigmund Freud, none of whose books I had read. My friend, on the other hand, knew a great deal about her and her father, and while we had our snack--in Hayes Bickford, a cafeteria long gone--he told me some of what he knew.

I still remember one sentence--the sheer innocence of it, in retrospect!--and I remember becoming more, rather than less, confused for hearing it: "She discovered child psychoanalysis." What did he mean by "discovery"? I asked. (He and I were getting our fill, then, of scientific discoveries--all the laboratory breakthroughs Professor Louis Fieser recounted in his lectures and in his daunting organic chemistry textbook.) My friend was short on details. He didn't know how "she had done it," but she was the one, he asserted, who "brought" psychoanalysis to the nursery. When I asked how in the world such analytic inquiry took place, I was told that if I went to the lecture I'd surely find my answer. By then I had the sense to lose interest, although as I did my friend made one of those cautionary remarks I'd later find familiar: "Don't be scared by what she'll say." I hadn't the slightest idea what that remark meant--or more properly . . .

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