Helene Deutsch was an Austrian-American psychoanalyst and psychiatrist best-known for her exploration of the particularities of the female psyche.
Helene Deutsch (née Rosenbach) was born on October 9, 1884, in Przemysl, Poland, where her father, a lawyer, was at one time president of the Jewish community. Because of the restrictions on female education, she ran away to Vienna in order to train as a physician. In 1912 she married Felix Deutsch.
Deutsch was the first woman assistant in Vienna University's psychiatric department, and was later made head of the female ward. After becoming acquainted with the ideas of Freud she gave up her academic career. She went through a training analysis by Freud himself and became one of the leading figures of the so-called second generation of analysts. In 1923 she went to work with Karl Abraham in Berlin for a year and on her return established the psychoanalytic training institute in Vienna along the lines of the Berlin institute, serving as its director until her departure for the U.S. in 1935. At the institute she introduced the "continuous case seminar," which became the clinical model for the presentation of psychoanalytical treatment. In the U.S. she settled in Boston, where she spent the rest of her career on the teaching staff of the Psychoanalytic Institute. The outstanding achievement in Helene Deutsch's scientific work is her exploration of the particularities of the female psyche, working on the basis of psychoanalytical theory and expanding the findings of Freud. Her publications in this field were summarized in two volumes entitled Psychology of Women (1944–45), a comprehensive monograph with arguments illustrated by numerous clinical cases from Helene Deutsch's own practice and from studies of the female character in world literature. The lucid case presentations and theoretical deductions in her Psychoanalyse der Neurosen (1930; Psychoanalysis of the Neuroses, 1932) make this one of the classics of psychoanalytic literature. Among her later publications are the book, Neuroses and Character Types: Clinical Psychoanalytic Studies (1965), and Selected Problems of Adolescence (1967).
Deutsch died on March 29, 1982, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
M.H. Briel, in: F. Alexander et al. (eds.), Psychoanalytic Pioneers (1966), 282–98.