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Koellreuter, A. (2007). Being Analysed by Freud in 1921: The Diary of A patient. Psychoanal. Hist., 9(2):137-151.

(2007). Psychoanalysis and History, 9(2):137-151

Special Issue: Unknown Freud

Being Analysed by Freud in 1921: The Diary of A patient

Anna Koellreuter, Ph.D.

On May 20, 1921, Freud writes to Pfister:

Dear Dr Pfister

I should of course be glad to accept a woman doctor for self-analysis, provided that she is prepared to pay the now usual forty francs an hour and remains long enough for there to be a prospect of getting somewhere, i.e. from four to six months; a shorter period is not worthwhile. I could certainly take her on October 1; whether I could take her earlier it is impossible to say. I am waiting to hear whether two patients due to begin on April 1 are really coming.

You do not mention in your letter how much time the young woman is willing to devote to analysis. How her recent marriage will accord with an analysis lasting for many months I cannot say, so further information is desirable. (Freud & Pfister 1963, pp. 81-2)

The young doctor is my grandmother. As a matter of fact, she had not recently married but had been engaged to a fellow student for seven years. She was in analysis with Freud in Vienna from April to July 1921. In our family, we knew little about this analysis. She herself hardly talked about it. Why? This remains a secret that she took to the grave with her. I have been preoccupied by this fact all my life, particularly since I stayed with her in Zürich for a couple of years and had a close and warm relationship with her. We often talked about her work as a psychiatrist at the Burghölzli, the cantonal psychiatric university clinic there.

Firstly, I would like to recount how I happened upon the diary. Secondly, I will present some biographical data about my grandmother. Thirdly, I will say a few words about the format of the diary.

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