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Danto, E.A. (1998). The Ambulatorium: Freud's Free Clinic in Vienna. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 79:287-300.

(1998). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 79:287-300

The Ambulatorium: Freud's Free Clinic in Vienna

Elizabeth Ann Danto

At the close of World War I, Freud proposed the creation of clinics providing free treatment, in the first of a series of politically liberal statements promoting the development of a kind of institution that is rarely associated with psychoanalysis today. Using archival and oral history research methods, this study offers a descriptive and statistical history of the Vienna Ambulatorium, the free psychoanalytic clinic and child guidance centre created—we can now surmise—under Freud's direction. Presented within the cultural context of central Europe's inter-war rush of progressivism in ‘Red Vienna’ and in Germany's Weimar Republic, little-known aspects of the history of psychoanalysis emerge. From 1922 to 1936, the staff of the Ambulatorium treated gratis patients of all ages and social classes, ranging from professional to unemployed. Candidates too were analysed at no cost. Reflecting the urban energy of his era, Freud believed that psychoanalysis could be both productive and free of cost. What emerges is an unexpectedly activist, community-oriented profile of some of the earliest participants in the psychoanalytic movement.

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