Women in Psychology

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Women in Psychology 1850–1950 Paper
Chanda Holley
University Of Phoenix
July 6, 2009
Women in Psychology 1850–1950 Paper
Many great women contributed to psychology and the history of psychology. These women were pioneers, theorists, and counselors. Each of these women contributed in many different ways. Although many women who made significant contributions to the history of psychology between the years 1850 and 1950; of these women one woman demands attention over all the others. That woman’s name is Anna Freud. In researching Anna Freud one must consider describing her background, theoretical perspective, and contributions to the field of psychology. Background

Anna Freud was born on December 3, 1895 and was the youngest daughter of Sigmund and Martha Freud. Anna had five siblings, but she was the liveliest and most mischievous of the bunch. Anna grew up in the shadow of her old sister Sophie who was two and a half years older than Anna (A Centre of Learning - A Centre of Practice, 1993). Anna was especially close to her father, but was distant and had a strained relationship with her mother and siblings.

Anna began her education at the Cottage Lyceum in Vienna in 1912, Anna attended private school but she stated that she did not think that she learned a great deal from this school. Most of Anna’s education came from her father’s friends and colleagues. When she graduated high school in 1914 (Rowell, 1998); Anna became an elementary school teacher and translated some of her father’s works into Germany; which increased her interest in child psychology and psychoanalysis. Anna never earned a higher degree, but she became a full member of the Vienna Psychoanalytical Society in 1922 and she began a children’s psychoanalytic practice in 1923 (Rowell, 1998).

In 1938 the Freud family escaped Austria and settled in London with the help of Ernest Jones and Princess Marie Bonaparte. Anna aided in the care of her cancer stricken father until his death in 1939 (Rowell, 1998); and in 1941 Anna formed the Hampstead Nursery with Dorothy Burlington to serve as a home and a psychoanalytic program for homeless children (Wagner, 2009). Theoretical Perspective

Anna was not only Sigmund Freud’s youngest child; she was his constant companion, colleague and nurse. Unlike her five siblings, Anna decided to follow in the example of her father. After Anna graduated high school and worked for a short time as a teacher, she decided to translate her father’s works which spiked her interest in his psychoanalysis theory.

Anna Freud became the “pioneer in the development of child psychoanalysis. The focus of her theoretical work was how the ego functions in averting anxiety and painful ideas, impulses, and feelings” (Rowell, 1998). After fleeing from Austria to London and the death of her father, Anna began the Hampstead Nurseries.

Anna Freud and Dorothy Burlingham observed babies and young children who resided in the nurseries. They described the how each child acted and analyzed why each child behaved in the manners in which they behaved. Anna and Dorothy believed that providing emotional interaction, natural drive and artificial families to institutionalized children would not prevent or stop the behaviors. Anna and Dorothy summarized their findings in their book “Infants Without Families” (The Adoption History Project, 2007).

Anna Freud created the field of child psychology, she laid the foundation for the future understanding of child psychology, and she also developed techniques to treat children. Anna found that symptoms in children differed from the symptoms exhibited by adults and the differences were related to the developmental stages. She explained those differences of the ego’s defense mechanisms in a book that she wrote called “The Ego and the Mechanism of Defense” (Wagner, 2009) Contributions to Psychology

Ego Psychology: Anna was faithful to her father’s ideas, but she was...
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