Lampl-de Groot, Jeanne (1895-1987)

views updated


Jeanne Lampl-de Groot, psychoanalyst, psychiatrist, and psychologist, was born in Schiedam, on October 16, 1895, and died in Amsterdam on April 5, 1987, both in the Netherlands.

A psychoanalyst of the first generation, Lampl-de Groot grew up as the third of four children in a Jewish family, her father a businessman, her mother the daughter of a general practitioner. She studied medicine at Leiden and Amsterdam Universities and in 1921 became a doctor.

As a student, she came across Sigmund Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams, which fascinated her. After finishing her studies she wrote to Freud, asking him whether she could come to him to learn psychoanalysis. In April 1922 she began her work with Freud, at the age of twenty-seven, which was unusually young in those years. With Anna Freud among others, she attended courses and seminars of the Vienna Society and also worked in the psychiatric clinic of Wagner von Juaregg. She had planned to establish an analytic practice in Holland after her training but Freud recommended that she go to Berlin to work at the Berlin Institute for one or two years. So in 1925 she moved to Berlin, where she met her future husband Dr. Hans Lampl, originally from Vienna and a family friend of the Freuds. They had two daughters together.

When Hitler came into power the family moved back to Vienna, where the Psychoanalytic Society had been rejuvenated and analysis was flourishing. Moreover, Anna Freud had developed child analytic treatment and training. Lampl-de Groot was interested in child analysis, and on the recommendation of Dr. Siegfried Bernfeld, she had been a consultant psychiatric analyst in a child guidance clinic in Berlin. She was the recipient of one of the nine rings Freud presented to colleagues.

In 1938 the family emigrated to Holland because of the threat of the Hitler regime. They settled in Amsterdam, where they resumed their analytic practice and started a training scheme for analysts. At that time the Dutch Society, founded in 1917, only counted ten practicing members. During World War II this small group held courses and seminars "underground" and after the war founded the Dutch Psychoanalytic Institute (1946). The training procedure followed the model of those of Vienna and Berlin. In the same period Lampl-de Groot developed lively international contacts among psychoanalysts. In 1950 she organized the first post-war conference of European psychoanalysts in Amsterdam. She became a member of the board of the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA) as vice-president. In 1953 she participated in an IPA commission, including Donald Winnicott, Phyllis Greenacre, and Ruth Eissler, to inform Jacques Lacan in Paris of criticisms of his educational and treatment methods. In 1963 she was appointed to be honorary vice-president of the IPA. In 1970 she was awarded an honorary doctorate in medicine by the University of Amsterdam, and honorary membership in the Deutsche Psychoanalytische Vereinigung. In 1971, she was made an honorary member of the Dutch Society of Psychiatry and Neurology, and was in 1977 nominated as honorary member of the Dutch Society of Psychoanalysis.

In her publications Lampl-de Groot covered a range of psychoanalytic topics. Narcissism and female psychology were two topics she addressed at length. Her writings have been of essential significance to the progress of psychoanalysis as a science. Her independent approach in supplementing Freud's work was apparent from her first article in 1927. She was the first author to describe and delineate the Oedipus complex in relation to growing girls, and she elaborated on this theme in later publications (1982). Strongly influenced by the ego psychology of Anna Freud and Heinz Hartmann, she used newly-gained insights into the functioning of the ego and the role of omnipotence in narcissism in her work. There is an obvious link between her work on narcissism and Freud's. She integrated these ideas in her articles describing defence as a function of the ego and its importance for character development. She expressed her thoughts in beautifully simple and lucid prose, keeping away from theoretical phrases and always emphasizing the enormous complexity of the psyche while never neglecting the powerful force of the drives.

Her works were collected by friends and colleagues and presented to her on the occasion of her ninetieth birthday.

Elisabeth Verhage-Stins

See also: Feminine sexuality; Lampl, Hans; Netherlands; Rádo, Sándor; Wiener psychoanalytische Vereinigung.


Lampl-de Groot, Jeanne. (1985). Man and mind: Collected papers of Jeanne Lampl-de Groot, M.D. New York: International Universities Press.