Eissler, Kurt R.

views updated


EISSLER, KURT R. (1908–1999), psychoanalyst. Born in Vienna, Eissler worked at the Vienna Psychoanalytic Institute under August Eichhorn and applied his training to juvenile delinquents. When the Nazis took over Austria, he left Vienna and settled in the United States. On the basis of his Viennese experience he edited and contributed to the book Searchlights on Delinquency (1949). Eissler was the first analyst who in 1943 broke away from tradition and treated schizophrenics. He wrote Limitations to Psychotherapy of Schizophrenics (1943). His action at that time was considered a bold step and he attempted in his book Objective Criteria of Recovery from Neuropsychiatric Disorders (1947) to introduce research methods into this area of psychotherapy. Later he began research into the psychodynamics of dying. His wide scholarship was evident in works like Goethe, a Psychoanalytic Study (1963), Leonardo da Vinci: Psychoanalytic Notes on the Enigma (1961), and Freud and the Seduction Theory: A Brief Love Affair (2001). His wife, Ruth Eissler, also trained at the Vienna Psychoanalytic Institute, was known for her work with children.


A. Grinstein, Index of Psychoanalytic Writings, 1 (1956), 435–7; 6 (1964), 3135–36.

[Miriam Gay]