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Laine, A. Aalberg, V. Lehtonen, J. Välimäki, J. (2012). Veikko Tähkä 1923 - 2012. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 35(2):141-143.

(2012). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 35(2):141-143

Veikko Tähkä 1923 - 2012

Aira Laine, Veikko Aalberg, Johannes Lehtonen and Jukka Välimäki

Professor Veikko Aleksis Tähkä passed away following an illness on 12 May 2012 at the age of 88 years. He is remembered as the father of Finnish psychoanalysis, psychodynamic psychiatry and psychotherapy.

Veikko Tähkä was born in Noormarkku where his father worked as a general practitioner in the municipal health service. Later, the family moved through Turku to Helsinki, where his father served in a leading position within the Ministry of Health.

Veikko Tähkä took part in world War II (in the so-called War of Continuation) as a young volunteer lieutenant in the years 1941 - 1944, serving as a platoon commander. During the war years, he graduated as a student in 1942. After the war, he commenced his studies in the Medical School of Helsinki University and graduated as an MD in 1950.

From the beginning, Veikko Tähkä directed himself towards psychiatry and quite rapidly thereafter towards psychoanalysis. At that time, there were no psychoanalysts in Finland, and psychiatry was mainly descriptive and directed by views stressing heredity. In the years after the war, many young doctors, psychologists and students in these fields became increasingly interested in psychoanalysis and psychodynamic thinking. The cultural atmosphere favoured this development, and there was no mentionable prejudice against psychoanalysis. The first psychoanalyst in Finland, Yrjö Kulovesi, had very actively made psychoanalysis known in the thirties but, regrettably, he had already died in 1943.

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