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Koch, Adelheid Lucy (1896-1980)


Physician and psychoanalyst Adelheid Lucy Koch was born on October 16, 1896, in Berlin and died on July 29, 1980, in São Paulo, Brazil. German by birth and Jewish by ancestry, she became in later life a Brazilian citizen.

Koch studied medicine at the University of Berlin and joined the Berlin Psychoanalytic Society after undergoing four and a half years of analysis with Otto Fenichel.

In São Paulo, a group of physicians and non-physicians interested in psychoanalysis had gathered around Durval Marcondes in the 1920s, leading to the creation of the Revista Brasileira de Psycanalyse (Brazilian Review of Psychoanalysis). Although this journal did not continue beyond its first issue, the influence of psychoanalytic ideas extended both to clinical practice and to Brazilian cultural life. Brazil's social and cultural elite closely followed the evolution of European analytic movements, but there was a palpable lack of clinical experience or serious analytic training.

The well-known Berlin Policlinic served as a model for the psychiatrist Durval Marcondes, whose insistent requests for help addressed to Ernest Jones led Jones, in 1936, to recommend Adelheid Koch, who at the time intended to emigrate there. Compelled to leave Nazi Germany, she began work as a training analyst in São Paulo in 1937. She taught the first cohort of Brazilian analysts, including Marcondes, Virginia Leone Bicudo, Ligia Amaral, Frank Philips, and Flávio Dias. In addition to didactic analyses, Koch conducted seminars and served as a control analyst.

With Koch at its head, the Brazilian group obtained official status in 1944, under the name of Psychoanalytic Group of São Paulo. In 1951, the group joined the International Psychoanalytic Association as the Brazilian Psychoanalytic Society of São Paulo.

Adelheid Koch continued to conduct didactic analyses and seminars until her death.

Leopold Nosek

See also: Brazil.


Nosek, Leopold, et al. (1994).Álbum de família: imagens, fontes e idéias da psicanálise em São Paulo. São Paulo: Casa do psicologo.

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