Helene Deutsch

The first psychologist to focus on women, Helene Deutsch investigated issues ranging from motherhood to female sexuality. Deutsch studied medicine and psychology at the University of Vienna and informally within Freud’s circle before becoming the first woman to head a clinic in 1924, the Vienna Psychoanalytic Training Institute, where she assessed and mentored other psychoanalysts. In 1930, she published Psychoanalysis of the Neuroses, which became a well-respected teaching tool. She moved to America in 1935, taking a position at the Boston Psychoanalytic Training Institute and serving as president of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society. Her groundbreaking 1923 work on female psychology, Psychoanalysis of the Sexual Functions of Women, pushed Freud into devoting more attention to female psychology, and her 1944 book, The Psychology of Women, discussed women’s conflict between eroticism and maternal characteristics as well as women’s masochistic tendencies towards self-sacrifice. Throughout her writing, she focused on the importance of understanding normal development before theorizing about pathologic behavior, continuing to revise and reconsider her positions over the course of her career.


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Psychoanalyst Helene Deutsch (1884 – 1982) expanded on theories of her mentor, Sigmund Freud, to develop her own outlook on women’s psychology, writing the first book with a psychoanalytic perspective on the subject.

Institution: Gidal-Bildarchiv im Salomon Ludwig Steinheim-Bildarchiv für deutsch-jüdische Geshichte e.g., Duisberg.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Helene Deutsch." (Viewed on October 22, 2020) <https://jwa.org/people/deutsch-helene>.


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