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Freud, A. (1966). A Short History of Child Analysis. Psychoanal. St. Child, 21:7-14.

(1966). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 21:7-14

A Short History of Child Analysis

Anna Freud

It seems realistic for psychoanalysts to begin a new venture with a historical survey since this acknowledges the part which past experience plays in present actions and in expectations for the future. For this reason I suggested to the Program Committee of this new Association that their first meeting should be opened by a look back to the beginnings of child analysis, however abbreviated such an introductory account may have to be under the circumstances.


Child analysis as a subspecialty of psychoanalysis appeared on the scene approximately forty years ago. At the time this did not happen as an isolated new departure but as part and parcel of what we call in retrospect the "widening scope of psychoanalysis." While until then analytic therapy was confined in the main to young adults and the neuroses, from that era onward other ages as well as other categories of disturbance were included in its field of application. In Vienna, it was Siegfried Bernfeld who began with the analytic study and treatment of disturbed adolescents; August Aichhorn who pioneered in the field of Wayward Youth; Sadger who specialized in perversions; Paul Federn who experimented with the treatment of psychotics. In Berlin, Alexander and Staub turned to the study of criminals. In this extended area of work, child analysis occupied no more than a section, represented almost simultaneously by Hug-Hellmuth and after her me in Vienna; by Berta Bornstein, Melanie Klein, Ada Mueller-Braunschweig in Berlin; by Steff Bornstein in Prague and by Alice Balint in Budapest.

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