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Freud spent most of his life in Vienna. From 1891 until 1938 he and his family lived in an apartment at Berggasse 19 near the Innere Stadt or historical quarter of Vienna. As a docent of the University of Vienna, Freud, since the mid-1880s, had been delivering lectures on his theories to small audiences every Saturday evening at the lecture hall of the university's psychiatric clinic. His work generated a considerable degree of interest from a small group of Viennese physicians. From the autumn of 1902 and shortly after his promotion to the honourific title of außerordentlicher Professor, a small group of followers formed around him, meeting at his apartment every Wednesday afternoon, to discuss issues relating to psychology and neuropathology. This group was called the Wednesday Psychological Society (Psychologischen Mittwoch-Gesellschaft) and it marked the beginnings of the worldwide psychoanalytic movement.
This discussion group was founded around Freud at the suggestion of the physician Wilhelm Stekel. Stekel had studied medicine at the University of Vienna under Richard von Krafft-Ebing. His conversion to psychoanalysis is variously attributed to his successful treatment by Freud for a sexual problem or as a result of his reading The Interpretation of Dreams, to which he subsequently gave a positive review in the Viennese daily newspaper Neues Wiener Tagblatt. The other three original members whom Freud invited to attend, Alfred Adler, Max Kahane, and Rudolf Reitler, were also physicians and all five were Jewish by birth. Both Kahane and Reitler were childhood friends of Freud. Kahane had attended the same secondary school and both he and Reitler went to university with Freud. They had kept abreast of Freud's developing ideas through their attendance at his Saturday evening lectures. In 1901, Kahane, who first introduced Stekel to Freud's work, had opened an out-patient psychotherapy institute of which he was the director in Bauernmarkt, in Vienna. In the same year, his medical textbook, Outline of Internal Medicine for Students and Practicing Physicians was published. In it, he provided an outline of Freud's psychoanalytic method. Kahane broke with Freud and left the Wednesday Psychological Society in 1907 for unknown reasons and in 1923 he committed suicide. Reitler was the director of an establishment providing thermal cures in Dorotheergasse which had been founded in 1901. He died prematurely in 1917. Adler, regarded as the most formidable intellect among the early Freud circle, was a socialist who in 1898 had written a health manual for the tailoring trade. He was particularly interested in the potential social impact of psychiatry.
Max Graf, a Viennese musicologist and father of "Little Hans", who had first encountered Freud in 1900 and joined the Wednesday group soon after its initial inception, described the ritual and atmosphere of the early meetings of the society:
The gatherings followed a definite ritual. First one of the members would present a paper. Then, black coffee and cakes were served; cigar and cigarettes were on the table and were consumed in great quantities. After a social quarter of an hour, the discussion would begin. The last and decisive word was always spoken by Freud himself. There was the atmosphere of the foundation of a religion in that room. Freud himself was its new prophet who made the heretofore prevailing methods of psychological investigation appear superficial.
By 1906 the group had grown to sixteen members, including Otto Rank, who was employed as the group's paid secretary. Also in that year Freud began correspondence with Jung who was then an assistant to Eugen Bleuler at the Burghölzli Mental Hospital in Zurich. In March 1907 Jung and Ludwig Binswanger, also a Swiss psychiatrist, travelled to Vienna to visit Freud and attend the discussion group. Thereafter they established a small psychoanalytic group in Zurich. In 1908, reflecting its growing institutional status, the Wednesday group was renamed the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society. In 1911 the first women members were admitted to the Society. Tatiana Rosenthal and Sabina Spielrein were both Russian psychiatrists and graduates of the Zurich University medical school. Prior to the completion of her studies, Spielrein had been a patient of Jung at the Burghölzli and the clinical and personal details of their relationship became the subject of an extensive correspondence between Freud and Jung. Both women would go on to make important contributions to the work of Russian Psychoanalytic Society which was founded in 1910.
Paul Ferdinand Schilder joined the group in 1919
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Rose, Louis (1998). The Freudian Calling: Early Psychoanalysis and the Pursuit of Cultural Science, Detroit: Wayne State University Press.
- ↑ Professor extraordinarius, or professor without a chair. Gay 2006, p. 153
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Schwartz, Joseph (2003). Cassandra's daughter : a history of psychoanalysis, London: Karnac.
- ↑ Ellenberger, Henri F. (1970). The Discovery of the Unconscious : the History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry, [Repr.], 443, 454, New York: Basic Books.
- ↑ Stekel's review appeared in 1902. In it he declared that Freud's work heralded, "a new era in psychology". Rose, Louis (1998). The Freudian Calling: Early Psychoanalysis and the Pursuit of Cultural Science, Detroit: Wayne State University Press..
- ↑ Rose, Louis (1998). Freud and fetishism: previously unpublished minutes of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanalytic Quartery 57.
- ↑ Reitler's family had converted to Catholicism. Makari, George (2008). Revolution in Mind: the Creation of Psychoanalysis, Australian, Carlton, Vic.: Melbourne University Publishing.
- ↑ Makari, George (2008). Revolution in Mind: the Creation of Psychoanalysis, Australian, 130–131, Carlton, Vic.: Melbourne University Publishing.
- ↑ Stekel, Wilhelm (2007). 'On the history of the psychoanalytic movmement'. Jap Bos (trans. and annot.). In Japp Boss and Leendert Groenendijk (eds). The Self-Marginalization of Wilhelm Stekel: Freudian Circles Inside and Out. New York. p. 131
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 Gay 2006, pp. 174–175
- ↑ The real name of "Little Hans" was Herbert Graf. See Gay 2006, pp. 156, 174.
- ↑ Sulloway, Frank J. (1991). Reassessing Freud's case histories: the social construction of psychoanalysis. Isis 82 (2).
- ↑ Ellenberger, Henri F. (1970). The Discovery of the Unconscious: the History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry, [Repr.], New York: Basic Books.
- ↑ Martin Miller(1998) Freud and the Bolsheviks, Yale University Press, pp. 24, 45
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