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History of Psychoanalysis

This page presents brief glimpses of analysts who were part of the history of psychoanalysis.   Freud was the founder, but many others participated in the development of psychoanalysis, an exciting advance in the understanding of the nature of human beings.  Many of the other analysts are now forgotten or have become obscure.  This page is a work in progress as vignettes can be added about historical figures at any time.  This page presents the material as something of historical interest and leaves all judgments to the reader and viewer.


Sigmund Freud 1881 - 1939

Early Freud


Freud's Study, London


Freud, 1929


Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, considered himself a scientist, and psychoanalysis was his science.  In the German language, at that time, “science” meant something closer to overall knowledge than science does today.  His major concepts included:

    • The Unconscious
    • Free Association by the Patient
    • Evenly Hovering Attention by the Analyst
    • Unconscious Communication Between Patient and Analsys


Other Pioneers in Psychoanalysis











Wilhelm Reich – 1897 – 1957

How the Sexual Revolution Came to America









View Article

Excerpts from Richard Grose’s book review of a biography of Wilhelm Reich by Christopher Turner.  Adventures in the Orgasmatron:  How the Sexual Revolution Came to America.  2011, Farrar, Straus & Giroux.   Click here for the full review.

    • Reich was born March 24, 1897 in the Ukraine.
    • His childhood was “lonely and semi-feudal,” as his father forbade playing with the village children.
    • His sexual development was precocious due to severe overstimulation and traumata.
    • Both parents committed suicide, his mother when he was 13 and his father when he was 17.
    • Enrolled in Medical School in 1918 after three years on the Italian Front during WW I.
    • Met Freud in 1919 and was accepted into the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society.
    • Began to develop his idea of the centrality of orgasm in the etiology of neurosis and as the basis of technique.
    • By 1926, Freud began to criticize him publicly, but nonetheless agreed to have Reich open six free clinics in Vienna specializing in sexual life: contraception, abortion and sexual potency. Reich was a charismatic public speaker.
    • Reich became a central figure in free sex movement in Berlin, then joined Communist party and went to Russia, but Stalin became disenchanted with him.
    • 1933 published Character Analysis, the first half of which is still judged by many to be very good.
    • 1940 invented Orgone Accumulator to help person sitting inside accumulate orgone energy. Many people reported cures of various ailments.
    • Wrote The Function of Orgasm, acclaimed by many famous writers and intellectuals.
    • Alfred Kinsey’s book Sexual Behavior in the Human Male was published in 1948 and ideas of discarding sexual repression were in the air, with Reich a primary influence.
    • In 1952. The FDA started a second investigation into the claim that the Orgone Accumulator could cure cancer.
    • 1954, Reich instructed to destroy all Orgone Accumulators.
    • After recovering from the shock, Reich became interested in UFO’s.
    • His son has wonderful memories from the age of ten of fighting off UFO’s with his father and his cloudbuster (an invention to absorb deadly rather than good orgone and also to cause rainfall).
    • Reich began two year prison term in March 22, 1957, and died only months later of a hearth attack on November 3.


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Psychoanalyst Practitioners

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