Pines, Dinora 1918-2002

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PINES, Dinora 1918-2002


Born December 30, 1918, in Lutsk, Russia (now Poland); died February 26, 2002; daughter of doctors; married Anthony Lewison (an attorney), 1947; children: two sons. Education: Attended University College London and London School of Medicine for Women and Royal Free Hospital, 1940-45; trained as psychoanalyst, 1959-65.


Psychoanalyst and physician. Physician in private practice, beginning 1945; psychoanalyst in private practic, beginning 1965; Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital, staff physician. Taught in Germany and Greece.


British Psychoanalytic Society.


A Woman's Unconscious Use of Her Body, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1994.

Contributor of scholarly papers on psychoanalytic topics to journals.


Psychoanalyst Dinora Pines was born in 1918 in Lutsk, Russia (now Poland). Her parents were both doctors; her father was a well-known ophthalmic surgeon. When Pines was born, the Russian Revolution was raging, and her father was serving as a medical officer in the Tsarist Russian forces.

When Pines was eighteen month old, her family moved to Antwerp, Belgium, and then to London, England. Her father had heard that he could work as a physician in England, but after they moved there he found that English authorities would not accept his qualifications. He had to take his examinations again, and because he spoke little English, he took them in Latin, and passed. He then worked as a general practitioner in the East End of London. Pines grew up speaking Russian at home, and English at school and with friends.

Pines attended the City of London School for Girls and University College, London. She studied modern languages, learning French, German, and Spanish; she later learned Italian and Greek, so that with her Russian and English, she eventually spoke seven languages.

In 1940, during World War II, Pines decided that the world needed doctors more than it needed linguists and, like her brothers, she decided to study medicine. She enrolled at the London School of Medicine for Women and completed her clinical training at the Royal Free Hospital in London. She became qualified as a physician in 1945 and began working at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital.

Pines noticed that some patients who were not cured by medicine alone often responded when they were treated with kindness and emotional understanding. This was particularly true for patients who were in excruciating pain; they often felt better when they were able to share their feelings with Pines.

At the Anderson Hospital, Pines met Hilda Abraham, who was the daughter of one of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud's colleagues. They became close friends, and through Abraham, Pines became fascinated with Freud's theories of psychoanalysis.

In 1945, at the close of World War II, Pines was recruited for a secret relief mission to the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz. Pines had many relatives who had died in concentration camps, so she was eager to help the people who had suffered in them, but for some reason the mission was abandoned. She later worked with survivors of the Holocaust and wrote many scholarly papers on the topic.

In 1947 Pines married Anthony Lewison, a lawyer; they eventually had two sons. She moved to general practice with an office in her home, so she could be there for her children, but when they grew older she decided to become a psychoanalyst. She entered training in 1959, completing it in 1965, and opened a private practice of psychotherapy. She also worked briefly at the Brent Consultation Centre, where she did research on young women who were sexually promiscuous.

Pines became a training psychoanalyst for the British Psychoanalytic Society. She often traveled to speak at meetings in the United Kingdom and in other countries, and taught in Germany and Greece. She was also a cofounder of a psychoanalytic group in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Pines was the author of A Woman's Unconscious Use of Her Body, which examines how women express their inner conflicts through their bodies, as well as how women's physical experiences affect their psyches. Deeply rooted in traditional psychoanalytic theory, the book collects over two decades' worth of papers by Pines in which she distils her observations of her patients. She notes that when patients could not express their feelings, or when they didn't even consciously know their feelings, they often suffered rashes, pains, asthma, and other physical problems. The final chapter of the book examines the effect of the Holocaust on women survivors and their daughters. In New Statesman, Adrianne Blue called the book "jargonistic but fascinating."

When Pines was not working, she enjoyed hosting visitors at her home, and engaged in travel and following advancements in archeology. Pines died on February 26, 2002, at the age of eighty-three.



New Statesman, July 23, 1993, Adrianne Blue, review of A Woman's Unconscious Use of Her Body, p. 41.

Publishers Weekly, April 4, 1994, review of A Woman's Unconscious Use of Her Body, p. 68.



Times (London, England), (March 22, 2002).*