Fromm-Reichmann, Frieda
Surname:
Fromm-Reichmann
First name:
Frieda
Era:
20th century
Field of expertise:
Neurology
Psychoanalysis
Psychotherapy
Place of birth:
Karlsruhe (DEU)
* 23.10.1889
† 28.04.1957
Biography print

German-American psychoanalyst, pioneer in the psychotherapeutic treatment of psychosis.

 

Life

Frieda Fromm-Reichmann (1889-1975) was born in Karlsruhe, Germany, as the eldest daughter of the Jewish merchant Alfred Reichmann and his wife Klara. Because there was no son, she was granted educational privileges other girls from Orthodox Jewish families were not allowed at that time. She entered medical school at the University of Königsberg in 1908 and specialized in psychosomatics. Her doctoral thesis Ueber Pupillenstörungen bei Dementia praecox (On Pupillary Changes in Schizophrenics), supervised by Ernst Meyer, was published in 1913.

 

During WW1, Reichmann carried out neurological and psychiatric examinations under the direction of her mentor Kurt Goldstein. Her particular interest was devoted to soldiers who had suffered brain injuries, which allowed her to gain insight into brain functions and develop an understanding of psychotic states. Between 1920 and 1924, she worked as an assistant physician at the Lahmann-Sanatorium Weisser Hirsch in Dresden (cf. Scholz 2004), and then at the psychiatric clinic of the University of Munich under Emil Kraepelin.

 

After her marriage to sociologist Erich Fromm in 1926, Frieda Reichmann bore the hyphenated surname Fromm-Reichmann. Despite their divorce only five years later, they remained engaged in professional exchange and collaboration. They established the Südwestdeutscher Studienkreis für Psychoanalyse (Southwest German psychoanalytic study circle), which soon became a regional focal point for psychoanalytic theory and practice. When Hitler rose to power in 1933, Fromm-Reichmann first emigrated to France, then to Palestine and, in 1935, to the United States. She found a job as a psychotherapist at Chestnut Lodge, a private mental hospital in Rockville, Maryland, where her main focus was on the psychotherapeutic treatment of schizophrenia. She later became the institution’s Director of Psychotherapy. There she also met her mentor Harry Stack Sullivan whose interpersonal theory of psychiatry strongly influenced her work. In 1943, she joined Stack Sullivan and others to found the Alanson White Institute in New York City. Fromm-Reichmann died at Chestnut Lodge, at age 67.

 

Legacy

Fromm-Reichmann made significant contributions to the psychotherapeutic treatment of schizophrenic and “manic-depressive” disorders (cf. Principles of Intensive Psychotherapy, 1950).While she initially applied the classical psychoanalytic methods, she later increasingly distanced herself from them and turned to neopsychoanalysis. This was mainly due to Freud’s assumption that schizophrenic patients are incapable of forming a transference relationship and thus cannot be treated with psychoanalysis. Fromm-Reichmann also modified other classical features of psychoanalysis: she did not use a couch and her “analytically oriented psychotherapy” demanded that the therapist be as attentive, genuine, patient, respectful, and emphatic as possible. This therapeutic style is documented in Joanne Greenberg’s strongly autobiographic novel I never Promised You a Rose Garden (1964). Using the pseudonym Hannah Green, the author – who had been admitted to Chestnut Lodge in 1948 at the age of sixteen – describes her positive therapy experiences with “Dr. Fried” and creates an impressive literary monument of Frieda Fromm-Reichmann and her work.

 

Awards

1952: Adolf Meyer Award.

 

Literature

Berman, L. H. (1982): Frieda Fromm-Reichmann: a seminar in the history of psychiatry. I. Introduction. In: Psychiatry Interpersonal & Biological Processes 45, (2), S. 89-90.

Bruch. H. (1982): Frieda Fromm-Reichmann: a seminar in the history of psychiatry. III. Personal reminiscences of Frieda Fromm-Reichmann. In: Psychiatry Interpersonal & Biological Processes 45, (2), S. 98-104.

Cohen, R. A. (1982): Frieda Fromm-Reichmann: a seminar in the history of psychiatry. II. Notes on the life and work of Frieda Fromm-Reichmann. In: Psychiatry Interpersonal & Biological Processes 45, (2), S. 90-98.

Crowley, R. M. (1982): Frieda Fromm-Reichmann: a seminar in the history of psychiatry. IV. Frieda Fromm-Reichmann: recollections of a student. In: Psychiatry Interpersonal & Biological Processes 45, (2), S. 105-106.

Fromm-Reichmann, F. (1948): Bemerkungen zur Behandlung der Schizophrenie in der psychoanalytischen Psychotherapie. Heilung durch Wiederherstellung von Vertrauen. In: P. Matussek (1976, Hg.): Psychotherapie schizophrener Psychosen. Hamburg: Hoffmann & Campe, S. 34-52

Fromm-Reichmann, F. (1950): Principles of intensive psychotherapy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Fromm-Reichmann, F. (1959): Psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. Selected papers. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Fromm-Reichmann, F. (1989): Psychoanalysis and psychosis. Madison: International Universities Press.

Green, H. [Joanne Greenberg] (1964): I never promised you a rose garden. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Gunst, V. K. (1982): Frieda Fromm-Reichmann: a seminar in the history of psychiatry. V. Memoirs--professional and personal: a decade with Frieda Fromm-Reichmann. In: Psychiatry Interpersonal & Biological Processes 45, (2), S. 107-115.

Hoff, S. G. (1982): Frieda Fromm-Reichmann: a seminar in the history of psychiatry. VI. Freida Fromm-Reichmann, the early years. In: Psychiatry Interpersonal & Biological Processes 45, (2), S. 115-121.

Hornstein, G. A. (2000): To redeem one person is to redeem the world: The life of Frieda Fromm-Reichmann. New York: Other Press.

Reichmann, F. (1913): Ueber Pupillenstörungen bei Dementia praecox. In: Archiv für Psychiatrie und Nervenkrankheiten 53, (1), pp. 302-321.

Reichmann, F., K. Goldstein (1920): Über praktische und theoretische Ergebnisse aus den Erfahrungen an Hirnschussverletzten. Berlin: Springer.

Scholz, A. (2004): Ärzte und Patienten in Dresdner Naturheilsanatorien. In: medizin - bibliothek - information 4, (1), pp. 13-19.

Stanton, A. H. (1982): Frieda Fromm-Reichmann: a seminar in the history of psychiatry. VII. Frieda Fromm-Reichmann, MD: her impact on American psychiatry. In: Psychiatry Interpersonal & Biological Processes 45, (2), S. 121-127.

 

Ansgar Fabri

 

Referencing format
Ansgar Fabri (2015): Fromm-Reichmann, Frieda.
In: Biographisches Archiv der Psychiatrie.
URL: biapsy.de/index.php/en/9-biographien-a-z/81-fromm-reichmann-frieda-e
(retrieved on:22.10.2017)