“I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence, but it comes from within. It is there all the time.” Anna Freud
During the month of March we celebrate and honor women all around the world. Throughout the field of psychology, there are many influential theorists and psychologists who have contributed to this field, but among them all, Anna Freud has been one of the most impactful psychologist to this day.
Anna Freud; an Austrian-British psychoanalyst, a researcher, speaker, teacher, and writer, who impacted the psychology field with her work on child psychology, psychoanalysis, and psychotherapy. She is also the youngest daughter of the famous psychologist, Sigmund Freud, Father of Psychoanalysis. For many years she lived in the shadows of her father, yet she was heavily influenced by him, but Anna branched out to further her interest in the field and to build on her own findings.
Anna not only expanded her father’s work on psychoanalysis, but she also created the field of child psychology. After Anna finished high school she became an elementary school teacher, then later she and her friend, Dorothy Burlingham opened “The Hampstead War Nurseries,” to care for underprivileged babies and children who were separated from their families by the war. She had the staff write detailed observations on the children’s behavior and development. Anna utilized this research and publicized it to expand on her findings. She emphasized that the symptoms of children are different from adults and were related to developmental stages.
Anna also made other accomplishments by publishing books that influenced her theories and her contribution to the field of psychology, such as; The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense, which expanded on defense mechanisms and ego psychology, Young Children in Wartime, Infants Without Families, and War and Children, that explained her findings within the nursery during the war. Along with her research and publication accomplishments, Anna also held leadership positions, such as, Secretary of the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA), and then later became Honorary President until her death in 1982.
We thank and honor Anna Freud for her love and dedication to children and psychology. Although, she was under the wing of her father and grew a passion for psychoanalysis through him, her independence, hard work, dedication, confidence, and strength, is what brought child psychoanalysis to the field and it continues to play an immense role within it.