Otto Rank (Encyclopedia of Psychology)
Austrian psychoanalyst and collaborator of Sigmund Freud, who developed theories of will and birth trauma.
Otto Rank was Sigmund Freud's closest collaborator for 20 years. Later, he strongly influenced the development of psychotherapy in the United States. He was the first psychoanalyst to examine mother-child relationships, including separation anxiety. He also was one of the first to practice a briefer form of psychotherapy, called "active therapy." His work, in contrast to orthodox Freudian psychology, emphasized free will, relationships, and creativity. Many of Rank's ideas, including the importance of the ego, consciousness, and the present, have become mainstays of psychoanalytic theory.
Born in Vienna, Austria, in 1884, Otto Rosenfeld changed his name to Otto Rank as an adolescent. It was one of his first acts of "self-creation." The second son of Simon Rosenfeld, a jeweler, and Karoline Fleischner, the family could only afford a higher education for one son. Rank attended trade school, despite recurring bouts of rheumatic fever, and became a locksmith, while his brother studied law. In 1904, Rank suffered a suicidal depression, after which he experienced a spiritual rebirth.
Hired by Freud
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