Anna Freud was born in Vienna on December 3, 1985 and was the youngest child born to Sigmund Freud and his wife Martha. Throughout her childhood, Freud remained distant from her five siblings, and especially from her sister Sophie, with whom she rivaled for her father’s attention. She spent many summers sent away to health camps in order to help her overcome her plaguing thoughts and to improve her sickly physique. It is believed that Freud may have suffered from eating disorders as a child as a result of chronic depression. Regardless of the difficulties she had with her brothers and sisters, Freud was very close to her famous father.
Anna Freud attended the Cottage Lyceum, but learned much more from the intellects in her own midst as a result of being the daughter of such an influential psychologist. Upon graduation, Freud traveled to Italy and England. She returned in 1914 and began teaching at the Cottage Lyceum. She developed tuberculosis and had to leave her teaching position in 1918. Her father began to analyze her through psychotherapy and this led to her interest in the profession. In 1922, Freud presented the totality of her father’s psychoanalysis on her to the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society in a paper entitled "The Relation of Beating Fantasies to a Daydream." She became a member of the society shortly thereafter and began working with children in private practice. Within two years, she was offered a teaching position at the Vienna Psychoanalytic Training Institute. In 1925, Freud accepted a position with the International Psychoanalytical Association as Secretary, and acted in that capacity for ten years. She then took the position of Director at the Vienna Psychoanalytical Training Institute. One year after she became director, Freud published The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense, a book that laid the groundwork for the field of ego psychology and defined Freud as an innovative thinker.
Freud and her family fled Austria and emigrated to England in 1938 due to Nazi invasion. She founded The Hampstead War Nursery, an institution that provided foster care and encouraged attachment and bonding for the youngest victims of the war. Eventually, Freud published her observations of how stress affected children and emphasized the importance of creating foster attachments for children whose parents were unavailable. The institute began to offer courses in 1947 and shortly after, a clinic was built to offer services to children with psychological needs.
Freud spent the latter part of her life lecturing and traveled to the United States several times. She visited Yale Law School and conducted courses on crime and its effect on family relationships. This area of interest provided her with the opportunity to work with Albert Solnit and Joseph Goldstein, and the three published their collaborations in Beyond the Best Interests of the Child, in 1973.
Contribution to Psychology
Anna Freud was an influential psychologist, teacher, and author. She spent much of her career identifying the needs of children and providing methods by which to meet those needs. She focused on helping children create meaningful bonds, and continued studying children as they grew through ego psychology.
Quote by Anna Freud
Books by Anna Freud
Among some of her most valued and significant works are: