A pioneer in child psychoanalysis, Anna Freud (1895–1982) was born on this day in Vienna, Austria, the youngest child of Sigmund Freud. An elementary-school teacher, she became interested in the study of the human psyche once her father psychoanalyzed her.
She once said, "Creative minds have always been known to survive any kind of bad training."
She joined the Vienna Psychoanalytical Society in 1922. Dedicated to a lifetime of study and observation, discussion and writing, she believed that children developed through the stages outlined by her father. Building on these theories, she focused on the ego, studying the use of defenses and conflict resolution.
"Don't be foolish and ask the path," She said. "When you see others going aimlessly. Try yourself. All those standers by--no one can tell you what is right."
In celebration her father's 80th birthday, she published In The Ego and Defense Mechanisms (1936), a pivotal examination of childhood and adolescence. "Children usually do not blame themselves for getting lost," she said.
In 1938, the good daughter escaped with her father from Hitler's Nazis to London, nursing him through the final stages of throat cancer. She became an advocate for war orphan adoptions and established what is now the Anna Freud Centre, to learn more about children with mental health issues.
After the attack of 9/11, experts turned to her seminal work to help children cope. "Psychoanalysis will grow and take us deeper and deeper into life," she said.