Essays in Psycho-Analysis

Review of Searchlights on Delinquency. Edited by K. R. Eissler, M.D. (Pp. 456. 30s.) London: Imago Publishing Co. 1949.

British Medical Journal, 1 October 1949, p. 743

These psycho-analytic studies on delinquency are dedicated to a remarkable man, August Aichhorn, a Viennese educationist who devoted himself to the study of delinquent youth and eventually found in psycho-analytical teaching the framework he required for understanding his patients and treating them. He was apparently a strong pacifist, and in 1907 successfully exerted his influence against intrusion of the military spirit into education. He later founded an institution for delinquent boys, with whom he had extraordinary success. This institution foundered during the last war but has since been re-established, and Professor Aichhorn's work has been honoured by his election to the presidency of the Viennese Psycho-analytic Society. The editor of this symposium writes of him as an artist in technique, a unique teacher, and as having uncanny intuition. He can "reconstruct the whole of a human personality from a few meagre details which seem only trifling superficialities to the unintuitive." He will spend time arguing with a schizophrenic adolescent about the interpretation of an obscure passage in the Bible, with the result that, week by week, the patient recovers. Even his psycho-analytical colleagues emphasize how much of his success is attributable to personal factors. They have contributed to this book many scholarly articles which will be of great interest to analysts practising in this field.