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Buzov, I. (1999). ‘The ambulatorium: Freud's free clinic in Vienna’. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 80(2):382.

(1999). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 80(2):382

‘The ambulatorium: Freud's free clinic in Vienna’

Ivan Buzov

Dear Sir,

Elizabeth Ann Danto's article (Int. J. Psychoanal., 79: 287-300) inspired me to write about Stjepan Betlheim (1898–1970). He was a member of the Ambulatorium, and is present in its staff photograph (Molnar, 1992). Betlheim studied medicine in Graz and Vienna. After graduation, in 1922, he began to work in the Vienna Psychiatric Clinic (Muhlleitner, 1992). There he collaborated with H. Hartmann, and they published the well known article ‘On parapraxes in the Korsakow psychosis’ (1925). Eissler & Eissler write that this article ‘must be considered a classic; it still remains the best paper in the field of experimental psychoanalysis’ (1966p. 6). That they are right is evident because of the following fact. It is cited fifteen times in SCI and SSCI from 1961 to 1986, i.e. from 36 to 61 years after its publication. Betlheim began his training analysis with P. Schilder, and then with S. Rado, and had supervision with K. Horney and H. Deutsch (Klain, 1995).

In 1928, after finishing his neuropsychiatric and psychoanalytic education, he came back to Zagreb. In the same year he founded the Station for psycho-hygiene and worked there till 1941 (Psihoterapija, 1971). In this Station the outpatient-based treatment was given without fee for those in need. This is the evidence that Freud's (1918) proposal was not only accepted in Berlin and Vienna, but also in Zagreb. Maybe there were similar attempts in some other mittel-europäisch towns.


Betlheim, S. & Hartmann, H. (1925). Über Fehlreaktionen bei der Korsakowschen Psychose. Arch. f. Psychiat. u. Nervenk., 72:275-286. (Reprinted in Organization and Pathology of Thought, ed. D. Rapaport. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.)

Eissler, R. S. & Eissler, K. R. (1966). On parapraxes in the Korsakow psychosis. In Psychoanalysis—A General Psychology, ed. R. M. Loewenstein et al. New York: Int. Univ. Press.

Klain, E. (1995). Croatia. In Psychoanalysis International, ed. P. Kutter. Stuttgart: Frommann-Holzboog, pp. 268-276.

Molnar, M. (ed). (1992). The Diary of S. Freud 1929–1939. London: Hogarth.

Muhlleitner, E. (1992). Biographisches Lexikon der Psychoanalyse. Tübingen: Diskord.

Psihoterapija (1971). Komemoracija profesoru doktoru Stjepanu Belheimu. [In commemoration of S. Betlheim—editorial]. 1:4-7.


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