Anna Freud was born on December 3, 1985 to Sigmund and Martha Freud. She was said to have been very close to her father but did not have a great relationship with her mother or her siblings. Anna appeared to have an unhappy childhood, and was nurtured by the family’s nurse Josephine. At a young age Anna developed a rivalry with her sister Sophie and began competing for their father’s attention. Sophie was the more attractive child and Anna was the smart one. Sophie was said to be the “beauty” and Anna was the “brains”. Anna was known to be a troubled child. Her father often wrote about her, referring to her as being naughty. Anna wrote letters to her father as a child. She would let him know how bad thoughts had been going through her head. She was a bit overweight and may have suffered from depression at an early age. Anna began attending school in 1901. Although she was very intelligent, she did not enjoy school. She complained about being bored and restless all the time. She claims to not have learned much in school.
She credits her learning from her father and his company at home. She learned to speak several languages such as Italian, Hebrew, French, German, and English from them. In 1908 Anna had her appendix removed. This operation caused her a great deal of stress because she had no knowledge of the procedure until she was left at the hospital by her family. It took her a while to recover and after the surgery her family split up. During this split Sophie had announced her marriage to Max Halberstadt. Anna had been sent to recover and contemplate on what she would do with her future. She was sent to live with her grandmother. Her father wrote to her and advised her not to attend her sister’s wedding. Anna took this to heart and was very upset about this. After her father visited her for Easter he noticed that she was not happy with his decision. He later wrote to her explaining that she might have been jealous of her brother-in-law because he was able to obtain Sophie’s love so quickly and Anna never could. He felt that the wedding brought about her “negative Oedipal”; a rival over her sister’s love.
At age fourteen Anna was introduced to her father’s world of psychoanalysis. In 1915 Anna became a trainee at her old school and began translating her father’s work into German. In 1917 she began to teach and was offered a 4 year contract starting in 1918. She stopped teaching in 1920 due to tuberculosis leaving her highly accessible to other diseases. In 1920 their family became ill with tuberculosis; which took the life of Sophie. This plague of influenza caused Anna to end her teaching career. During her time teaching, Anna tried a teaching method called “project teaching”. This method was successful and was continually used after Anna stopped teaching. In 1918 Sigmund Freud began psychoanalysis on Anna, which lasted until 1922. Upon the completion, she enter her paper “Beating Fantasies and Daydreams” to the Vienna Psychoanalytical Society and became a member.
A year later she began her own psychoanalytic practice with children and began teaching at the Vienna Psychoanalytic Training Institute on the technique of child analysis (“Anna Freud”, n.d.).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 (“Anna Freud”, n.d.). 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 displeasure and anxiety”, The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense (“Anna Freud”, n.d.). It became a founding work of ego psychology and established Freud’s reputation as a pioneering theoretician (“Anna Freud”, n.d.). In 1923 Anna’s father, Sigmund Freud became very ill after a jaw bone surgery that was conducted to remove cancer. Because of his illness Anna decided to take care of him in spite of her dreams of moving to Berlin.
During this time Anna began to see patients, both children and adults. In 1925 Anna met Dorothy T. Burlingham. Dorothy was a psychoanalyst and was the mother of one of the children that Anna was treating. Dorothy had moved from America to Vienna along with her children after Anna decided to treat her son Bob. Although Dorothy was married, she decided to leave her husband in America because she felt his mental illness was affecting the children. Within a year all of the Burlingham children were under Anna’s care. She had become attached to the children and also to Dorothy. Anna moved the Burlingham family in an apartment above the Freud’s. She really had a strong desire of the family and her close relationship with Dorothy was speculated differently by many but no one knows the exact extent of their relationship. From 1924-1929, Anna spent most of her time taking over her father’s professional career (“Anna Freud”, n.d.). She became a member of the Committee of her father’s closest advisors and was on the executive board of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Institute (“Anna Freud”, n.d.).
She also took over all the aspects of production of the Verlag, which is a psychoanalytic publication similar to a journal that her father created (“Anna Freud”, n.d.). It was in 1925 that she began to become comfortable with the fact that her father’s success contributed greatly to her success. Around this time is when she began to get deeply involved in her studies of Child Psychoanalysis. Her father laid the foundation of this with his study of “Little Hans” in 1909. Anna’s main interest was in the children that were affected by the World War. Some children lost their parents to death or were separated and abandoned. Anna did not publish any critical statements on the subject matter until the publication of her first book in 1927 entitled Introduction to the Technique of Child Analysis. It was a collection of all her lectures, and a direct attack at Melanie Klein’s theories (“Anna Freud”, n.d.). Klein believed that the superego developed at an early age into an unchangeable structure and intrapsychic conflict with this superego is the inceptor of the infantile neuroses.
Although it does develop during Oedipal stage, however, it has nothing to do with the parent’s influence (“Anna Freud”, n.d.). Anna believed that the superego was formed from the dissolution of the Oedipus Complex which parents are for the most part the sole influence, just as her father did (“Anna Freud”, n.d.). As Anna began to come into her own she began analyzing children more, and it became evident that her analysis of children was different from that of her father with adults. She refuted the “Little Hans” theory that her father had and concentrated more on the developmental stages of children. As Sigmund Freud’s health started to improve, Anna decided to step away and vacation along with Dorothy. The two purchased a country cottage together and that’s when the lesbian relationship rumors began to fly. Anna denied having any more than a strong friendship, and went to her grave denying those speculations. During this time she published Psychoanalysis for Teachers and Parents. The 1929 Stock Market Crash affected the Freud’s and other Europeans.
Because of this many fled from Vienna to England. After this Anna Freud was made the “second vice president” of the Vienna Society in 1933. In actuality she was the leader because of everyone’s hesitation of practicing within Vienna. She had to run the Society without appearing she was overseeing it (“Anna Freud”, n.d.). Sigmund and Anna had intentions on keeping the Vienna Society’s child guidance center going as long as possible but Anna was concerned that her father might suffer from being house searched. She later joined the editorial board of American Journal Psychoanalytic Quarterly and produced for it in 1935 a Child Analysis issue dedicated to her work in Vienna (“Anna Freud”, n.d.).
In 1936 Anna completed her writing On Defense Mechanisms. Her father, Sigmund Freud, passed away in 1939. After the ending of the war, Anna set up a center for young war victims, called “The Hampstead War Nursery” (“Anna Freud”, n.d.). Because the children at this center were deprived of parental care, they received foster care here. Freud did encourage parents to visit often. Toward the ending of her career, Anna Freud travelled to the United States often and sometimes to other countries to lecture, teach, and visit friends. She contributed to psychoanalysis in a major way with her father and made a mark and a name for herself outside of her father. Anna Freud died in London on 9 October 1982 (“Anna Freud”, n.d.).
Anna Freud. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www2.webster.edu/~woolflm/annafreud.html Anna Freud. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Freud