Freud's Free Clinics: Psychoanalysis and Social Justice, 1918-1938

Author(s) : Elizabeth Ann Danto

Freud's Free Clinics: Psychoanalysis and Social Justice, 1918-1938

Book Details

  • Publisher : Universal Sales & Marketing
  • Published : 2007
  • Category :
    Psychoanalysis
  • Catalogue No : 27029
  • ISBN 13 : 9780231131810
  • ISBN 10 : 023113181X

Also by Elizabeth Ann Danto

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Many view Sigmund Freud as an elitist whose psychoanalytic treatment was reserved for the intellectually and financially advantaged. This work presents a different picture of Freud and early psychoanalytic movement. It recovers the history of Freud and other analysts social activism and their commitment to treating the poor and working classes. Today many view Sigmund Freud as an elitist whose psychoanalytic treatment was reserved for the intellectually and financially advantaged. However, in this new work Elizabeth Ann Danto presents a strikingly different picture of Freud and the early psychoanalytic movement. Danto recovers the neglected history of Freud and other analysts intense social activism and their commitment to treating the poor and working classes. Dantos narrative begins in the years following the end of World War I and the fall of the Habsburg Empire. Joining with the social democratic and artistic movements that were sweeping across Central and Western Europe, analysts such as Freud, Wilhelm Reich, Erik Erikson, Karen Horney, Erich Fromm, and Helene Deutsch envisioned a new role for psychoanalysis. These psychoanalysts saw themselves as brokers of social change and viewed psychoanalysis as a challenge to conventional political and social traditions. Between 1920 and 1938 and in ten different cities, they created outpatient centers that provided free mental health care. They believed that psychoanalysis would share in the transformation of civil society and that these new outpatient centers would help restore people to their inherently good and productive selves. Drawing on oral histories and new archival material, Danto offers vivid portraits of the movements central figures and their beliefs. She explores the successes, failures, and challenges faced by free institutes such as the Berlin Poliklinik, the Vienna Ambulatorium, and Alfred Adlers child-guidance clinics. She also describes the efforts of Wilhelm Reichs Sex-Pol, a fusion of psychoanalysis and left-wing politics, which provided free counseling and sex education and aimed to end public repression of private sexuality. In addition to situating the efforts of psychoanalysts in the political and cultural contexts of Weimar Germany and Red Vienna, Danto also discusses the important treatments and methods developed during this period, including child analysis, short-term therapy, crisis intervention, task-centered treatment, active therapy, and clinical case presentations. Her work illuminates the importance of the social environment and the idea of community to the theory and practice of psychoanalysis.

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