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Izner, S.M. (1990). Richard F. Sterba, M.D. (1898–1989). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 71:531-532.

(1990). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 71:531-532

Richard F. Sterba, M.D. (1898–1989)

Sanford M. Izner

The death of Dr Richard F. Sterba on 24 October 1989 represents the passing of an era of psychoanalysis characterized by those dedicated and devoted second generation psychoanalysts who ardently pursued the fundamental teachings of Freud. More than most others, they continued the further development and application of his theories in clinical practice and various areas of applied psychoanalysis.

Born in Vienna on 6 May 1898, the younger of two sons of Joseph Sterba, a secondary school teacher of physics and mathematics, Richard always considered himself the favourite of his affectionately devoted mother. Educated in pre-World War I Vienna, he entered the army in his eighteenth year. During training as an officer, he first became acquainted with the writings of Freud. Following the war, he began medical training at the University of Vienna, and obtained a degree in 1923. He had already decided to become an analyst, and undertook a residency in psychiatry under Wagner-Jauregg and Paul Schilder in 1924.

Richard, along with Grete L. Bibring, entered the Vienna Psychoanalytic Institute in 1924 as the first students of the Institute training programme. Eduard Hitschmann, a member of Freud's initial group of disciples, was Richard's analyst. Included among his supervisors and teachers were Helene Deutsch, Herman Nunberg, Anna Freud and Wilhelm Reich (in whose Seminar Richard presented clinical material over a nine year period). While in training, Richard met Editha Rodanowicz-Hartmann, who held a Doctorate in musicology, who later became a prominent child psychoanalyst.

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