Who was Emma Eckstein and what did she contribute to the field of psychology?

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Michael Ugulini eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Emma Eckstein came from a well-knownsocialist family and she at one time was a patient of Sigmund Freud. Freud was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis. Sigmund Freud was born on May 6, 1856 in Freiberg, Moravia. He died on September 23, 1939 in London, England. Emma Eckstein was born in Vienna, Austria on January 28,1865 and she died in 1924.

For a short time, approximately around the year 1897, Emma Eckstein was actually apsychoanalyst as well. She was an associate of Sigmund Freud as well as a patient of his. However, as his patient, she experienced significant trouble. She had devastating nasal surgery prescribed by Sigmund Freud. When she was 27, she visited Freud looking for treatment for unclear symptoms. Freud diagnosed her as suffering from a "nasal reflex neurosis", which he claimed to have discovered, based on inspiration from Wilhelm Fliess who was a nasally-obsessed physician.

Freud had Wilhelm Fliess remove the turbinate bone from Emma Eckstein’s nose. However, after the removal, another surgeon found a mass of surgical gauze left in the wound. The sudden removal of the surgical gauze produced a near-fatal hemorrhage. Her nasal passages had so much damage, the left side of her face started to cave in. Consequently, Emma Eckstein became disfigured.

Pertaining to psychoanalysis, Emma Eckstein has been called the first woman analyst. Sheworked principally in the sexual and social hygiene area. In addition, she also studied how daydreams invaded the life of young girls. One of Emma Eckstein’s brothers was Gustav Eckstein who was born in 1875 and died in 1916. He was a social democrat and associate of Karl Kautsky, the Socialist party leader.