History of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Outpatient Clinic

Ein Vorraum mit einem gemalten Bild an der Wand. Es sind 5 Holzsessel zusammengeklappt and der Wand und über dem Boden ist ein roter Läufer.

Founded in 1922. Liquidated in 1938. Re-opened in 1999.

The Vienna Psychoanalytic Outpatient Clinic was founded in 1922. In the interwar period till 1938 it gained wide acclaim as a pioneering institution for the provision of psychotherapy. Following the annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938 it was liquidated together with all other component institutions of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society. It was reopened in 1999.

Detailed formation history

1908: Foundation of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society.
1910: Foundation of the International Psychoanalytic Society.
1920: Launch of the first psychoanalytic clinic in Berlin. Plans to launch a similar initiative in Vienna. University-based psychiatrists as well as representatives of the professional associations of medical doctors opposed the plans and drew up deprecating position papers. Eventually the professional body of physicians approved of the plans on condition that “the psychoanalytic treatment and likewise its scientific valorisation is carried out by medical doctors; furthermore, only medical doctors are to be considered eligible as either teachers or students. Except for patients, no lay person is to be granted access to this institute.”
22nd May 1922: Inauguration of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Clinic. Manager: Dr. Eduard Hitschmann.
November 1922: The medical service of the City of Vienna demands the immediate closing of the Clinic. Following an appeal to the Ministry for Social Maintenance (as the ministry of social affairs was called at the time) the demand to close the Clinic was revoked. Non-medical staff continued to be excluded. A decree of the authorities made clear that the Clinic would be forcibly closed in case of non-compliance.
19th April 1923: Opening of the educational counselling centre as part of the Outpatient Clinic. Its director was Hermine Hugh Hellmuth, from 1924 Flora Kraus, as of 1928 Editha Sterba.
1925: Foundation of the Training Institute of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society to supervise the training of lay psychoanalysts, i.e. psychoanalysts with no medical background. The Clinic was spatially extended to include a Child Guidance Unit.
1926: Legal proceedings on account of quackery were opened against psychoanalyst Dr. Theodor Reik. Sigmund Freud publishes his monograph ‘The Question of Lay Analysis’. He argues that the key criterion for the practice of psychoanalysis is not a medical degree but to have undergone psychoanalytic training. Not infrequently, he argues, it is medical doctors, specifically those who have not undergone psychoanalytic training, who are charlatans, not lay psychoanalysts. S. Freud contests medical doctors the sole right to practice psychoanalysis.
1929: A unit for the treatment of borderline and psychotic patients is inaugurated.


In 1922 Felix Deutsch succeeded in finding suitable premises for the Psychoanalytic Outpatient Clinic at the ‘Heart Station’ Clinic, located in the ninth district, Pelikangasse 18. As a specialist in internal medicine, Felix Deutsch was interested in the application of psychoanalysis to organ diseases and had himself worked briefly at the ‘Heart Station’ following the end of World War I.
Premises at Pelikangasse included a conference room, where the scientific meetings of the of the Society, seminars and training courses were held. From 1922 to 1936, the Outpatient Clinic (and largely probably also the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society) was housed there.
In 1926: Upon consensus with the local authorities, a building site was dedicated to the construction of premises for all psychoanalytic institutions. But the funds for the construction could not be raised despite the recognition that new premises were needed. In the meantime, component institutions (Society, Clinic, Training Institute and Publishing House) were under the same roof.
1936: Ten years later appropriate premises were rented and renovated at Berggasse 7. This was made possible through international donations in honour of Sigmund Freud’s eightieth birthday.
1938: Liquidation. Immediately following the annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society, Vienna Psychoanalytic Clinic and the Psychoanalytic Publishing House were closed and subsequently disbanded. More than hundred psychoanalysts and candidates had to flee abroad to save their lives.

Vienna Psychoanalytic Outpatient Clinic 1922-1938

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