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Author Information: Bertha Pappenheim



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Anna O. [Bertha Pappenheim] (1859-1936), a friend of Freud's wife in Vienna, is regarded as the first patient of psychoanalysis. It was she who invented the concept of "the talking cure" under the care of Josef Breuer in Vienna, where she was being treated for hysteria, anorexia, paralysis, hallucinations, phantom pregnancy, suicidal thoughts and morphine addiction. Breuer published her case history "Fräulein Anna O." in 1895, and it is considered the first significant document in the history of psychoanalysis. It is the first case of psychoanalytic literature, introducing Breuer and Freud's Studies on Hysteria.

After Bertha Pappenheim was "cured" in Vienna, she became a successful social worker, leader of the German-Jewish Women's movement in Frankfurt, an ardent feminist and translator of Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792). Breuer's treatment of Anna O. inspired Freud to write that "on this day (November 18, 1882) I first became aware of the power of the unconscious."


©Steven Jeffery /, 2017
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