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Psychology and Psychiatry

Ruth Westheimer

Westheimer forever changed America's ideas of sexual education and literacy by highlighting positive attitudes towards sex through the lens of Orthodox Judaism. After working in a number of positions involving sex education, family planning, and sex therapy, Westheimer found her niche when she did a guest appearance on a local radio show. The audience response was so positive that she was soon hosting her own show.

Ethel Tobach

Despite the enormous number and range of her contributions to psychology, Ethel Tobach appears to have slipped through the net even of those historians of psychology who are interested in reaffirming women’s contributions to the field. One possible reason for this neglect is that many of Tobach’s scientific contributions have been in comparative and physiological psychology—areas that are not well understood by many psychologists and that attract few women.

Sabina Spielrein

Sabina Spielrein, a pioneer active in the early stages of the birth of psychoanalysis who made significant contributions to the field, was the first person to propose the thesis about instinctual life, which Freud later adapted.

Miriam Finn Scott

Miriam Finn Scott, a child diagnostician and specialist in parent education, advocated that “the soil of a child’s life was his home” and that parents could ensure the proper growth of their children if only they transformed their homes into “gardens.” Scott’s belief that good parenting was not instinctual fueled her desire to provide advice to parents in child rearing.

Sallyann Amdur Sack

The contemporary pursuit of Jewish genealogy as a popular, worldwide movement began in the 1970s. Sometimes called the “godmother” of Jewish genealogy, Sallyann Amdur Sack has played a major role in its development as a pioneer, leader, and creative force.

Psychology in the United States

Jewish women in psychology have made their most important contributions in two areas—clinical psychology and the social psychology of intergroup relationships, especially as it involves groups marginalized in our society.

Bernice L. Neugarten

Academic study of adult development and aging—now a well-established subject essential to social practice and policy and to the clinical professions—can be said to derive from the pioneering scholarship and teaching of Bernice L. Neugarten in the decades since 1950.

Margaret Naumburg

Margaret Naumburg founded the Walden School and authored many works on psychology and art therapy.

Martha Tamara Schuch Mednick

One of the most influential women in the development of the psychology of women is Martha Mednick. She was born on March 31, 1929, in New York City of working-class immigrant parents who “had an almost mystical belief in the power of education to change the condition of life.”

Margaret Mahler

Margaret Schönberger Mahler, a pioneering child analyst, began her career in Vienna but made her most important discoveries in the United States. She became a leading authority on the mother-child relationship and the separation-individuation process, which she examined in her best-known work, The Psychological Birth of the Human Infant.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Psychology and Psychiatry." (Viewed on November 26, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/psychology-and-psychiatry>.

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