Anna Freud was the youngest daughter of Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis. She is regarded as the founder of child psychoanalysis. She is also known for her contributions to ego psychology and defense mechanisms.
Anna Freud was born on December 3, 1895 in Vienna, Austria. She did not have a happy childhood. She was nurtured by a Catholic nurse by the name of Josephine. She could not develop a healthy relationship with her mother Martha Freud. She could not get along with her siblings. She suffered from depression and eating disorders as a child. Anna was very close to her father. He was very fond of her.
As per her own admission, she learnt more from her father and his guests than she learned at school. She began reading her father’s works when she was 15. Anna Freud completed her education in the year 1912. At that point in time she was insecure and was not sure what to do in the future. She stayed with her grandmother in Italy for some time.
She served as a teacher in her school, the Cottage Lyceum. She had to give up teaching because of tuberculosis. Later on she got involved in psychoanalysis. She became a member of Vienna Psychoanalytical Society. She taught techniques of child analysis at the Vienna Psychoanalytical Training Institute. In the year 1935, she became the director of the same institute.
Anna Freud was forced to move to London in the year 1938 due to the war. He father suffered from jaw cancer. She took very good care of him during this period. Sigmund Freud died in the year 1939. She set up “The Hampstead War Nursery”, a center dedicated to young war victims. This gave her an opportunity to study the effect of deprivation of parental care on children.
Anna Freud and Kate Friedlaender started the Hampstead Child Therapy Courses in the year 1947. She delivered various lectures on child psychology. She traveled to the United States regularly, and influenced research in Freudian Psychology.
Anna Freud published her first book “An Introduction to the Technique of Child Analysis” in the year 1927. She published her famous book, “The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense” in the year 1936. This book is considered to be the founding work on ego psychology. “About Losing and Being Lost” and “Normality and Pathology in Childhood” are her other famous works. She remained faithful to the basic ideas developed by the father throughout her life.
Anna Freud died in London on October 9, 1982. Her life and works continue to inspire millions of people all over the world.