Zulliger, Hans (1893-1965)

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ZULLIGER, HANS (1893-1965)

Hans Zulliger, a psychoanalytically oriented Swiss teacher and child psychoanalyst, was born on February 21, 1893, near Biel, Switzerland, and died in Illigen, Berne Canton, in 1965. Coming from a modest background, he was a student at the teachers school in Hofwil-Berne. The principal of the school, Ernst Schneider, taught psychology and psychoanalysis. All his life Zulliger remained a primary school teacher in IlligenBolligen, near Berne, continuing to teach working class, rural, and underprivileged children until 1959.

From his first early encounter with psychoanalysis, Zulliger was passionately enthusiastic about the new theory of the unconscious. He read Freud and Alfred Adler, contacted the pastor Oskar Pfister, who became his analyst, and conducted his own research with his pupils. His observations and reflections on school failure, anxiety, and other symptoms, and on the need for and difficulties of sexual education, led to a publication in 1921, a work that was favorably received by the Swiss psychoanalytic world. Freud encouraged the young author, who visited the master twice. His subversively titled La psychanalyseà l'école (Psychoanalysis at school) appeared in France in 1930. As a member of the Swiss Psychoanalytic Society, Zulliger also played a part in elaborating projective tests.

In addition to working as a schoolteacher, he also worked as a child psychotherapist, psychologist, and writer (in German and in dialect). He contributed many articles to the Zeitschrift für psycoanalytische Pädagogik, which he coedited after 1932, and he also published in other Swiss teaching journals. In 1928 the Revue française de psychanalyse published one of his articles, "La psychanalyse et lesécoles nouvelles" (Psychoanalysis and the new schools).

Zulliger was without doubt the most popular representative of the psychoanalytic teaching propounded by the Zeitschrift für psycoanalytische Pädagogik. He excelled at recounting his practice in a lively style with colorful language. His many case studies illustrate his skillful mastery of the art of dialog and his profound understanding of children, both as individuals and in groups, as well as his insight into the games they play. He had a sense of the therapeutic power of the educational milieu, where the schoolteacher mediates between children's instinctual egos and cultural values. After World War II, Zulliger's lectures in Switzerland and Germany contributed to reigniting the movement for psychoanalytic teaching, of which he was a remarkable pioneer.

Jeanne Moll

See also: SchweizerischeÄrztegesellschaft für Psychoanalyse; Switzerland (German-speaking); Zeitschrift für psychoanalytische Pädagogik .


Cifali, Mireille, and Moll, Jeanne (Eds.). (1985). Pédagogie et psychanalyse. Paris: Dunod.

Zulliger, Hans. (1928). La psychanalyse et lesécoles nouvelles (L. Leuzinger, Trans.). Revue française de psychanalyse, 2 (4), 711-720.

. (1930). Psychanalyseà l'école (Jean-Pierre Peyraube, Trans.). Paris: Flammarion.

. (1934). Prophetic dreams. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 15 (2-3), 191-208.

. (1950). Psycho-analysis and the form-interpretation test. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 31 (1-2), 152-155.