Margaret Mahler

Margaret Schönberger Mahler pioneered theories on child development and abnormal psychology that impacted generations of psychiatrists. Mahler began studying medicine in Budapest in 1917 and earned her doctorate from the University of Jena in 1922. She then opened a pediatric practice in Vienna and began training at the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society. She fled the Anschluss in 1938 and traveled to New York, where she worked as an unsalaried consultant at Mount Sinai Hospital before joining the faculty of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1950. She simultaneously directed the child analysis training program of the Philadelphia Psychoanalytic Institute, shuttling between New York and Philadelphia. In 1956 she founded a therapeutic program for psychotic children at Albert Einstein College, and in 1962 created the Masters Child Center for studying interaction between mothers and their children under age three. She wrote extensively on the mother-child relationship and the separation-individuation process, and in her therapies she encouraged mothers to become partners in their children’s treatment, a pioneering approach.


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Jewish Women's Archive. "Margaret Mahler." (Viewed on June 17, 2021) <>.


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