Google Doodle honours child psychoanalysis pioneer Anna Freud

3 Dec 2014

Anna and Sigmund Freud

A colourful new doodle from Google honours Anna Freud, considered one of the pioneers of psychoanalytic child psychology, and the daughter of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud.

Today’s stylised Google logo on the internet search giant’s homepage illustrates a person’s mind and shapes of dreams and thoughts of that mind form the letters of the word ‘Google’.

The sixth and last child of Sigmund Freud and Martha Bernays, Anna followed her father into the field of psychoanalysis. Born in Vienna on 3 December 1895, she is considered the founder of psychoanalytic child psychology.

Her work, in particular, emphasised the importance of the ego and its ability to be trained socially.

Sibling rivalry meant she was only really close to her father and she maintained that she didn’t learn much at school, instead enlightening herself through her father’s learned circle of friends. In that way she learned various languages, including Hebrew, German, English, French and Italian.

A key turning point was when she read her father’s work The Interpretation of Dreams and after bouts of depression and tuberculosis she became seriously involved in the profession of psychoanalysis with her father’s guidance.

The Google Doodle in honour of Anna Freud

Anna steadily began to build up a career around psychoanalysis, focusing mainly on children.

In 1938, the Freuds fled Austria as Nazi harassment of the Jewish people intensified. As World War II began, Anna set up a centre for young war victims in London.

After the war, she travelled regularly to the US to teach and during the 1970s became concerned with the problems of emotionally deprived and socially disadvantaged children.

She died in London in 1982.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years