Heuyer, Georges (1884-1977)

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HEUYER, GEORGES (1884-1977)

A professor of child psychiatry at the Paris Medical School and member of the Académie Nationale de Médecine, Georges Heuyer was born in Pacy-sur-Eure on January 30, 1884, and died in Paris on October 23, 1977.

Having lost his father when he was only eighteen months old, he was placed in a boarding school in Pacy, then inÉvreux, where his supervisor was the director of the psychiatric asylumthe origin of his interest in psychoanalysis. In spite of his poverty he studied medicine in Paris, where he became friendly with Georges Duhamel, Henri Queuille, Paul Chevalier, and Henri Mondor. After continuing his studies in pediatrics, neurology, and psychiatry, he became an intern, resident, and in 1923, a doctor in the Paris hospital system. In 1925 he was made director of the clinic of child neuropsychiatry, which, in 1949, created the first chair of child psychiatry in France.

The founder of child psychiatry in France and an international spokesman for the field, at the time of his death, Heuyer left behind a considerable body of work, comprising at least ten books and more than eight hundred articles and publications.

He was not a psychoanalyst and the great majority of his work was devoted to child neuropsychiatry, maladjusted children, and criminology. It was Heuyer who first introduced the use of trained psychoanalysts in public hospitals (Eugénie Sokolnicka at Sainte-Anne's hospital in 1921). With Emmanuel Régis, Angélo Hesnard, andÉdouard Pichon, he was one of the promoters of psychoanalysis in France, writing the first article on the subject for a medical treatise, Traité de pathologie médicale, which was edited byÉmile Sergent in 1924.

In 1925 he created a "laboratory" of psychoanalysis in his clinic, run by Sophie Morgenstern, with whom he published several articles. However, Heuyer wrote little on psychoanalysis with the exception of some studies in collaboration with other people. He was also far from being an uncritical supporter of the field and was always ambivalent and, somewhat later in life, often unfair in his estimate of the profession. However, he did introduce and encourage the use of psychoanalytic inquiry and treatment in child psychiatry and recommended that its practitioners have themselves analyzed or become analysts themselves. This was the case for the majority of his assistants, especially Serge Lebovici (assistant from 1946 to 1957), and of his residents, who subsequently helped psychoanalysis ("which has provided us with so many new and essential concepts" he wrote in 1964) assume the key position it currently holds in French child psychiatry.

Jean-Louis Lang

See also: Analytic psychodrama; Infantile psychosis; Infantile schizophrenia; Psyché, revue internationale de psychanalyse et des sciences de l'homme (Psyche, an international review of psychoanalysis and human sciences).


Heuyer, Georges. (1924). La psychanalyse. InÉ. Sergent (Ed.), Traité de pathologie médicale (Vol. 1, Psychiatrie, p. 35-79). Paris: Maloine.

. (1936). Préface. In Sophie Morgenstern, Psychanalyse infantile. Paris: Denoël.

Heuyer, Georges; and Morgenstern, Sophie. (1927). Un cas de mutisme chez l'enfant. Guérison par la psychanalyse. Journal de la Société de psychiatrie, 19,6.

Lang, Jean-Louis. (1995). Georges Heuyer, l'art médical et la psychanalyse. Revue de neuropsychiatrie infantile, 43 (6), 269-273.

. (1997). Georges Heuyer, fondateur de la pédopsychiatrie: un humaniste du XXe siècle. Paris: Expansion scientifique française.