Freud's Free Clinics: Psychoanalysis & Social Justice, 1918-1938

Kobo ebook | January 22, 2005

byElizabeth Ann Danto

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Today many view Sigmund Freud as an elitist whose psychoanalytic treatment was reserved for the intellectually and financially advantaged. However, in this new work Elizabeth Ann Danto presents a strikingly different picture of Freud and the early psychoanalytic movement. Danto recovers the neglected history of Freud and other analysts' intense social activism and their commitment to treating the poor and working classes.

Danto's narrative begins in the years following the end of World War I and the fall of the Habsburg Empire. Joining with the social democratic and artistic movements that were sweeping across Central and Western Europe, analysts such as Freud, Wilhelm Reich, Erik Erikson, Karen Horney, Erich Fromm, and Helene Deutsch envisioned a new role for psychoanalysis. These psychoanalysts saw themselves as brokers of social change and viewed psychoanalysis as a challenge to conventional political and social traditions. Between 1920 and 1938 and in ten different cities, they created outpatient centers that provided free mental health care. They believed that psychoanalysis would share in the transformation of civil society and that these new outpatient centers would help restore people to their inherently good and productive selves.

Drawing on oral histories and new archival material, Danto offers vivid portraits of the movement's central figures and their beliefs. She explores the successes, failures, and challenges faced by free institutes such as the Berlin Poliklinik, the Vienna Ambulatorium, and Alfred Adler's child-guidance clinics. She also describes the efforts of Wilhelm Reich's Sex-Pol, a fusion of psychoanalysis and left-wing politics, which provided free counseling and sex education and aimed to end public repression of private sexuality.

In addition to situating the efforts of psychoanalysts in the political and cultural contexts of Weimar Germany and Red Vienna, Danto also discusses the important treatments and methods developed during this period, including child analysis, short-term therapy, crisis intervention, task-centered treatment, active therapy, and clinical case presentations. Her work illuminates the importance of the social environment and the idea of community to the theory and practice of psychoanalysis.

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Today many view Sigmund Freud as an elitist whose psychoanalytic treatment was reserved for the intellectually and financially advantaged. However, in this new work Elizabeth Ann Danto presents a strikingly different picture of Freud and the early psychoanalytic movement. Danto recovers the neglected history of Freud and other analysts...

Elizabeth Ann Danto is associate professor and chair of the Foundations of Practice at Hunter College School of Social Work, City University of New York.

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Format:Kobo ebookPublished:January 22, 2005Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231506562

ISBN - 13:9780231506564

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It is possible to foresee that the conscience of society will awake and remind it that the poor man should have just as much right to assistance for his mind as he now has to the life-saving help offered by surgery.... Then institutions and out-patient clinics will be started, to which analytically-trained physicians will be appointed so that men who would otherwise give to drink, women who have already succumbed under the burden of their privations, children for whom there is no choice but running wild or neurosis, may be made capable by analysis of resistance and efficient work. Such treatments will be free.--Sigmund Freud, 'Lines of Advance in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy' (1918)

Table of Contents

Introduction--The Conscience of Society
1. 1918 - 1922: Society Awakes
Treatment will be free - 1918
The polyclinic will be opened in the winter and will grow into a Psi institute - 1919
The position of the polyclinic itself as the headquarters of the psycho-analytic movement - 1920
An Ambulatorium should exist for psychic treatment in the widest sense of the word - 1921
A Psychoanalytic Ambulatorium in Vienna - 1922
2. 1923 - 1932: The Most Gratifying Years
This help should be available to the great multitude - 1923
The honor proceeds from the Social Democratic Party - 1924
A warm sympathy for the fate of these unfortunates - 1925
Although absent from the opening of the Clinic, I am all with you - 1926
Of special value in the promotion of [psychoanalysis is] the establishment of Institutes and Outpatient Treatment Clinics - 1927
Freud knew exactly how things were in the world. But before he could go outside, he first had to know what was inside - 1928
The very group of patients who need our treatment are without resources - 1929
Free or low-cost analyses...[were] at least a small beginning - 1930
As a social-democratic town councilor, Dr. Friedjung has furthered our interests as psychoanalysts - 1931
Male applicants for treatment [were] regularly more numerous than female - 1932
3. 1933 - 1938: Termination
The Berlin Psychoanalytic... Policlinic... came to an end - 1933
Psychoanalysis [as] the germ of the dialectical-materialist psychology of the future - 1934
A written Children's Seminar of Marxist psychoanalysis - 1935
Social psychoanalysis - 1936
These were traumatic times and we talked little about them later - 1937
The fate of psychoanalysis depends on the fate of the world - 1938

Editorial Reviews

Freud's Free Clinics makes a worthwhile contribution to the historiography of psychoanalysis.