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Fisher, D.J. (1991). Bruno Bettelheim's achievement. Free Associations, 2(2):191-201.

(1991). Free Associations, 2(2):191-201

The Psychoanalytic Movement

Bruno Bettelheim's achievement

David James Fisher

Bruno Bettelheim lived a long and eventful life, producing a substantial and evocative body of work, sixteen books in all, not to mention a prodigious number of articles, prefaces, book reviews and journalism. For over thirty years, he taught at the University of Chicago, directed the Orthogenic School for emotionally disturbed children, supervised mental health professionals and carried on a psychoanalytic practice. Semi-retired from 1973, first living in Northern California and then in Santa Monica, California, he wrote an additional six books in these last fifteen years, including some of his best, while continuing to teach, lecture and supervise.

I see Bettelheim as having taken the impassioned argument of Freud's 1926 The Question of Lay Analysis as his life's mission. Because he occupied a privileged position among contemporary lay analysts, and because his name is practically synonymous with lay analysis, I intend to use a few thoughts from Freud's text to assess what Bettelheim achieved as an analyst.


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