What contributions did Annie Reich make to the psychoanalytic community during her lifetime?

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Julie Feng | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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Austrian physician and psychoanalyst Annie Reich (née Pink) was born on April 9, 1902, in Vienna and died on January 5, 1971, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her contributions to the psychoanalytic community come from her role as a doctor and community leader, as well as her publications dealing with the pedagogical aspects of sexuality. Her works, including "Zur Frage der Sexualaufklärung" (On the question of sexual enlightenment) in 1929, were sine if the first dealing with this topic. She also wrote many clinical and theoretical papers, including key articles on female psychology and the topic of counter-transference. 

Reich was the third child of Theresa Singer, a primary school teacher, and Alfred Pink, a Viennese merchant. Her father remarried shortly after her mother's death from influenza, during World War I. Her older brother, Fritz, was killed during the war, and her other brother, Ludwig, emigrated to Australia in 1939. Reich studied medicine at Vienna University from 1921 and obtained her medical degree in 1926.

In 1921 she began an analysis with Wilhelm Reich, which was interrupted six months later when, in 1922, they were married. They had two daughters, Eva and Lore. Reich began another analysis with Hermann Nunberg and, years later, with Anna Freud. A member of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society from 1928, she worked at the proletariat-oriented sex-counseling clinics founded by Wilhelm Reich and Marie Frischauf. After moving to Berlin in 1930, she became involved in the "Kinderseminar" for young, left-wing analysts that was founded by Otto Fenichel, and joined the Berlin Psychoanalytic Society.

In 1933, Reich and her husband separated. Reich emigrated to Prague where she established a practice and helped constitute the new psychoanalytic community there; as a member of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society, she served as a training analyst until 1938. That year, she married Thomas Rubinstein and emigrated with him and her children to the United States, where she was quickly admitted into the New York Psychoanalytic Society; she served as its president from 1960 to 1962. She was also active in the International Psychoanalytical Association from 1938 until her death.

Sources: "Reich, Annie (1902-1971)." International Dictionary of Psychoanalysis. Ed. Alain de Mijolla. Vol. 3. Gale Cengage, 2005.

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