Biography of Anna Freud (1895-1982)

The name Freud is most often associated with Sigmund, an Austrian doctor who founded a school of thought known as the psychoanalytic school. But his youngest daughter Anna Freud is also an influential psychologist, having a major influence on psychoanalysis, psychotherapy and child psychology.

Who is Anna Freud?

Anna Freud did more than just live in the long shadow of her father. Instead, she became one of the most important psychoanalysts in the world. She is recognized as the founder of child psychoanalysis, although her father often advised children not to perform psychoanalysis. However, she firmly believes that psychoanalysis is not suitable for children under six and that they can be better served by other methods.of

She also expanded on her father’s work and identified many different types of defense mechanisms that ego uses to protect herself from anxiety. Although Sigmund Freud described many defense mechanisms, his daughter Anna Freud conducted the clearest and most comprehensive study of defense mechanisms in her book. Self and defense mechanism (1936).of

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Many of these defense mechanisms (such as denial, suppression, and suppression) have become so widely known that they are frequently used in everyday language.

Anna Freud is best known for:

Life and death

  • Anna Freud was born on December 3, 1895 in Vienna, Austria.
  • She died in London, England on October 9, 1982

early life

Anna is the youngest of Sigmund Freud’s six children and is very close to her father. Anna is not close to her mother and reportedly has a strained relationship with her five siblings.She attended a private school, but later said that she learned very little in school. Most of her education came from the teachings of her father’s friends and colleagues.


After graduating from high school, Anna Freud worked as an elementary school teacher and began to translate some of her father’s works into German, thereby increasing her interest in child psychology and psychoanalysis.Although she is deeply influenced by her father’s work, she is far from living in the shadow of her father. Her own work expanded her father’s ideas, but also pioneered the field of child psychoanalysis.

Although Anna Freud never received a higher degree, her work in psychoanalysis and child psychology contributed to her outstanding contribution in the field of psychology. She started her child’s psychoanalytic practice in Vienna, Austria in 1923, and later served as the president of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society. During her stay in Vienna, she had a profound influence on Eric Eriksson, who later expanded the fields of psychoanalysis and self-psychology.

In 1938, Anna was interrogated by the Gestapo, and then fled to London with her father.In 1941, she and Dorothy Burlingham founded the Hampstead Nursery. The nursery is a psychoanalytic project and a home for homeless children.

Her experience in the nursery provided inspiration for three books, Toddlers in wartime (1942), Baby without family (1943) and War and children (1943). After Hampstead Nursery closed in 1945, Freud founded the Hampstead Children’s Treatment Course and Clinic, and served as the director from 1952 until her death in 1982.

Contribution to psychology

Anna Freud pioneered the field of child psychoanalysis, and her work has made a great contribution to our understanding of child psychology. She also developed different techniques to treat children.

Freud pointed out that the symptoms of children are different from those of adults and are usually related to the developmental stage.She also gave a clear explanation of the self-defense mechanism in the book Self and defense mechanism (1936).

Select works

  • Freud, A. (1936) Self and defense mechanism.
  • Freud, A. (1956-1965) Research and other papers at Hampstead Children’s Therapy Clinic.
  • Freud, A. (1965) Normality and pathology in childhood: developmental assessment.


  • Peters, uh (1985) Anna Freud: A life dedicated to children. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London.
  • Young-Bruehl, E. (1988) Anna Freud: Biography. Pinnacle Books, New York.