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Kris, E. (1955). To Helene Deutsch—On her Seventieth Birthday. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 36:209-209.

(1955). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 36:209-209

To Helene Deutsch—On her Seventieth Birthday

Ernst Kris

The news that Helene Deutsch has joined the small group of septuagenarians amongst the pioneers of psycho-analysis will no doubt come unexpectedly to most of her friends, old and new.

Those who have met her in recent years will find it hard to reconcile the traditional image of three-score years and ten with the impression of her to which they have become used; with the charm and resilience, the energetically forward-driving mind and the courageous perspectives they admire in her. Her old friends are privileged to add that all this has hardly changed over the years, except inasmuch as the imprint of rich experience and the wisdom which it engenders have added new shades of autumnal colouring.

Helene Deutsch's place in psycho-analysis is a singular and clearly defined one: her work is that of the great clinician.

In this age of unavoidable and, sometimes, fruitful specialization amongst analysts the word clinician cannot stand without comment: in the context in which I use it, it designates not a field, a 'speciality', but an approach.

The clinician, as the name applies to Helene Deutsch, is not only one who deals with nosology, with groups of afflictions. She has excelled in this, and for three decades her classical case histories have remained models of analytic work. But she is a great clinician in a much wider sense, a sense germane to psycho-analysis. She is a clinician of psychological understanding. Whether she deals with phobias, obsessions, anxiety states, manic-depressive disorders, the affective proclivities of schizoid personalities or normal affects, with happiness or grief, satisfaction or distrust; whether she deals with the pathological liar, the scurrilous phantast, the passionate sportsman or the prophetic virgin, the sick or the well, her approach is one and the same: the psychological essence of the case is laid bare.

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