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Rycroft, C. (1995). Reminiscences of a Survivor: Psychoanalysis 1937-1993. Brit. J. Psychother., 11(3):453-457.

(1995). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 11(3):453-457

Personal View

Reminiscences of a Survivor: Psychoanalysis 1937-1993

Charles Rycroft

I must confess that one of the reasons why I accepted the invitation to speak to you this evening is that I have always been much attached to Regent's Park, which I have known well, perhaps even intimately, since October 1937, which was when I started medicine at University College in Gower Street and started my training analysis with Ella Sharpe in Kent Terrace. As my analytical session began at 5.30 p.m., it was possible and convenient to walk daily, five times a week, across Regent's Park from Gower Street to Kent Terrace.

The previous year, two Cambridge friends and I had applied for training at the Institute of Psychoanalysis and I had eventually been accepted, after interviews with Ernest Jones, Glover and Rickman, on condition that I did medicine. This condition was insisted upon, I now think, for two reasons: to ensure that I could not start practising analysis until I was over 30, and to test out whether I was really serious about becoming an analyst. Ernest Jones suspected me of being a dilettante, and did indeed call me one during one of my interviews with him.

I should explain that in the 1930s Freudian psychoanalysis was regarded as deeply subversive. In progressive, advanced circles, Marx and Freud were regarded as the archenemies of capitalist society and middle-class morality, and to announce that one intended to become an analyst was indeed a gesture calculated pour épater les bourgeois. In fact, of course, British psychoanalysis in the 1930s was more an offshoot of Bloomsbury than a wing of any revolutionary movement, but I did not realise that at the time, despite the fact that it was Karin Stephen, a sister-in-law of Virginia Woolf, who pushed, prodded and dared me to apply for training.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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