Bibring, Edward (1894-1959)

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BIBRING, EDWARD (1894-1959)

A Jewish doctor and psychoanalyst, Edward Bibring was born April 20, 1894, in Stanislau, in Galicia, and died in Boston on January 11, 1959. He obtained the equivalent of his B.A. in Czernowitz and went on to study history and philosophy. After his military service during the First World War, during which he was a prisoner in Russia, he studied medicine in Vienna. His interest in psychoanalysis was stirred by the Vienna Seminar on Sexology, created in 1919 by Otto Fenichel for medical students. It was here that Bibring met his future wife, Grete Lehner.

In 1922, Bibring obtained his diploma in medicine at the University of Vienna and the same year was accepted for training by the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society. He underwent analysis with Paul Federn, and in 1925 became an associate member and in 1927 a full member of the society. He served in a number of positions: treasurer from 1928 to 1938, successor to Paul Schilder as head of the psychosis section in 1929 at the psychoanalytic clinic, and replaced Eduard Hitschmann as director of the clinic in 1932. After 1934, Bibring was a teaching analyst and supervisor in Vienna, secretary of the education committee for the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society, and a co-editor of the Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse.

In May 1938, following the Anschluss and the rise of National Socialism in Austria, Bibring and his wife Grete emigrated to Great Britain. There he became a member and teaching analyst of the British Psycho-Analytical Society and was one of the editors of the Gesammelte Werke Sigmund Freuds. In February 1941, following an invitation from Tufts Medical College to teach, he and his wife left for Boston. He became a member and training analyst of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and was its President from 1947 to 1949. He practiced psychiatry at Beth Israel Hospital.

In his memoirs, Richard Sterba wrote of Bibring that "He had difficulties expressing himself in writing. His obsessive character pushed him to undertake such exhaustive research in the literature that it blocked his own analytic output . . . that is why his literary legacy is so limited compared to his knowledge and the richness of his thought" (Sterba, R., 1982).

Elke MÜhlleitner

See also: Altruism; Lehrinstitut der Wiener psychoanalytischen Vereinigung; Therapeutic alliance; Working-off mechanisms; Wiener psychoanalytischen Vereinigung.


Bibring, Edward. (1936). Zur entwicklung und problematik der triebtheorie. Imago, 22, 147-176.

. (1950). Considerations in the establishment of training facilities. Bulletin of the American Psychoanalytical Association, 6, 36-40.

. (1954). Psychoanalysis and dynamic psychotherapies. Journal of the American Psychoanalytical Association, 2, 745-770.

Mühlleitner, E. (1992). Biographisches lexikon der psychoanalyse (die mitglieder der psychologischen Mittwoch-Gesellschaft und der Wiener psychoanalytischen Vereinigung 1902-1938). Tübingen: Diskord.

Sterba, R. (1982). Reminiscences of a Viennese psychoanalyst. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.