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Wilhelm Reich and Anna Freud: his expulsion from psychoanalysis

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This article describes the growth of hostility towards Wilhelm Reich in the psychoanalytic community over his Marxist ideology and activism as well as disagreements over the death instinct. It brings to the fore the behind the scenes political manipulations between Ernest Jones and Anna Freud to effect the expulsion of Reich both from the Vienna and Berlin local psychoanalytic societies and from the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA). It describes Reich's reactions to these events and the pressure placed on other psychoanalysts to stop supporting him and also the revision of history about the expulsion. It discusses the use of the term "crazy" as it was used in the psychoanalytic movement. Further the article discusses personality attributes of Anna Freud leading to counter-transference possessiveness to children and women, especially patients. It briefly touches on the attitudes of both Sigmund and Anna Freud toward sex and how this furthered the clash with Reich. It discusses the similarity between Anna's actions toward the Burlingham children and what happened to the children of Reich.
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Keywords: Burlingham children; Jones; countertransference; political manipulations; pressure on analysts; revision of history

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2003

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