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Lehrinstitut der Wiener Psychoanalytische Vereinigung


On May 22, 1922, having learned from his experience of the two-year-old Berlin psychoanalytic polyclinic, Eduard Hitschmann inaugurated the Ambulatorium or psychoanalytic dispensary as director in the premises of the Vienna polyclinic, not far from Vienna's AHK General Hospital. This creation was the realization of Freud's dream of making psychoanalysis accessible to populations with modest incomes, but an administrative measure threatening to close the establishment allowed only medical doctors to practice there. Each physician in the Vienna Society had to contribute at least one free analysis.

Lectures were given periodically. Early topics included "Introduction to Psychoanalysis," by Eduard Hitschmann; and "What Every Practicing Physician Should Know about Psychoanalysis," by Felix Deutsch. Later topics included "Psychoanalysis for Beginners," from Paul Federn; "The Theory of the Libido," from Ludwig Jekels; "The Theory of Neuroses," from Hermann Nunberg; "The Sexual Perversions," from Isidor Sadger; "Clinical Psychoanalysis," from Wilhelm Reich; "Occupational Neuroses," from Robert Jokl; "Religion and Obsessional Neurosis," from Theodor Reik; and "Psychoanalysis and Psychiatry," from Paul Schilder.

In 1924 a center was set up for infantile guidancefor children and adolescentsdirected by Hermine von Hug-Hellmuth. In 1932, with August Aichhorn as president, it opened its doors to Wilhelm Hoffer, Kurt R. Eissler and Editha Sterba. In 1929 Paul Schilder created a department for borderline patients and psycho-tics, before being replaced by Edward Bibring. When there was a sufficient number of participants, parallel English classes were organized.

In 1925, three years after the Ambulatorium, the training institute of the Vienna Society was created to provide theoretical and practical training under the direction of Helene Deutsch, Anna Freud, and Siegfried Bernfeld. The committee consisted of Paul Federn, Hermann Nunberg, Wilhelm Reich, and Eduard Hitschmann. The training program for the last winter semester before the closure of all psychoanalytic institutions (October 1, 1937 to February 28, 1938) included mandatory courses for candidates, including five or even six hours of lectures on theoretical psychoanalysis. These lectures included: "A Study of Instincts," by Otto Isakower; "A Study of Dreams," by Richard Sterba; "The Psychology of the Ego," by Heinz Hartmann; "A General Study of Neuroses," by Otto Fenichel; "A Study of the Specific Neuroses," by Eduard Hitschmann; and "Technical Problems," by Jeanne Lampl-de Groot.

Over the course of its brief existence, a number of important events occurred at the Lehrinstitut as well:

  • Seminars included "Reading Freud," led by Edward Bibring and Paul Federn; "Analyzing Children," led by Anna Freud; and "Control Analyses," led by Grete Bibring-Lehner.
  • Conferences included "The Process of Ego Cathexis," led by Paul Federn; and "Dream Symbolism in Analytic Sessions," led by Maximilian Steiner.
  • There were several work groups: Paul Federn and Erwin Stengel's "The Psychoanalysis of Psychoses"; Heinz Hartmann and Willi Hoffer's "Reading Freud's Writings" (for members of the Wiener Verein für medizinische Psychologie [Viennese Association for Medical Psychology]); and Edward Bibring, Heinz Hartmann, Willi Hoffer, and Ernst Kris's "The Scientific Work Group."
  • Among the symposia given were "The Practice of Analyzing Abandoned Youth," by August Aichhorn; "Analyzing Children," by Berta Bornstein; "Fundamental Concepts in Psychoanalytic Theory," by Otto Fenichel; "On Dreams," by Ernst Kris; "Problems of Analysis at Puberty," by Editha Sterba; "The Theory of Therapy," by Richard Sterba; and "Interviews on Specific Analytic Situations," by Jenny Waelder.
  • Specific lectures were given for teachers and teacher associations, among them, "Introduction to Pedagogical Consultation," by August Aichhorn; "Anxiety in Children," by Grete Bibring; "The Limits of Psychoanalytic Pedagogy," by Dorothy Burlingham; "Course Questions," by Edith Buxbaum; "Educating, Playing, Teaching," by Willi Hoffer; "Specific Children's Disorders," by Editha Sterba; and "On Psychoanalytic Psychology," by Richard Sterba. There were likewise seminars for professional educators, including "Seminar for Pedagogical Advisers," by August Aichhorn; and "Reading Freud's Writings," with Grete Bibring, Berta Bornstein, Hedwig Hoffer-Schaxel, Willi Hoffer, Marianne Kris, Jeanne Lampl-de Groot, and Richard Sterba.

The training institute and all other institutes of the Wiener psychoanalytische Vereinigung (WPV) were shut down in March 1938, after the annexation of Austria by the Third Reich.

Eva Laible

See also: American Psychoanalytic Association; International Psychoanalytical Association; Austria; Berliner Psychoanalytisches Institut; Deutsch-Rosenbach, Helene; Göring, Matthias Heinrich; Hitschmann, Eduard; Techique with children, psychoanalytic; Psychoanalytical Treatment of Children, The ; Wiener psychoanalytische Verinigung.


Hitschmann, Eduard. (1932). A ten years report of the Vienna Psycho-Analytical Clinic. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 245-255.

Mühlleitner, Elke. (1992). Biographisches Lexikon der Psychoanalyse (Die Mitglieder der Psychologischen Mittwoch-Gesellschaft und der Wiener Psychoanalytischen Vereinigung 1902-1938). Tübingen: Diskord.

Wiener psychoanalytische Vereinigung. (1937). Lehrkurse und Veranstaltungen Wintersemester 1937-1938, Programm. Wien: Lehrausschuss der Wiener psychoanalytischen Vereinigung.

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