Freud & Others

Commentary by Dr. Gerhard Falk


The Jewish Contribution to Psychology

The influence of Jews on the development of psychology has been as immense as the Jewish contribution to medicine, if not more so.

Hugo Münsterberg (1863-1916) set up the first laboratory for experimental psychology at Harvard University in 1909 and thereafter wrote numerous books leading to other applications.

Charles Myers (1873-1946) was largely responsible for the development of industrial psychology in England and later in America.

Max Wertheimer (1880-1943) developed Gestalt psychology at the Frankfurt school in Germany and later at “The University in Exile” at the New School for Social Research in New York.

Charles G. Seligman (1873-1940)  was a physician and anthropologist who adopted psychoanalytic methods to an understanding of primitive dream analysis. His work greatly influenced the major achievements of the British anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski.

Kurt Lewin (1890-1947) was a German born immigrant to the United States. A veteran of the German army in he First World War, he was hounded out of his native land by the Christian population and therefore taught at several American universities. He is regarded as the father of social psychology and a contributor to Gestalt psychology.

Joseph Breuer(1842-1925) was a collaborator of Sigmund Freud. He contributed to the study of catharsis and psychoanalysis.

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) was the founder of psychoanalysis and is undoubtedly one of the “greats” amid famous men in this world. It has been said that the modern world rests on Marx, Freud, and Einstein. Freud taught that there are various levels of the mind which can be explored to the advantage of the patients of psychologists.

Alfred Adler (1870-1937) was an Austrian physician who pioneered “individual psychology” to the effect that each person must be investigated separately. He therefore contributed a good deal to Gestalt psychology.

Otto Rank (1884-1939) changed his name from Rosenfeld to Rank. He was Sigmund Freud’s closest collaborator for many years. However he began to question the so-called Oedipus complex and thereby antagonized Freud until there was a final rupture in their relationship.

Theodor Reik (1888-1969) was responsible for allowing non-medical therapists to practice psychology in the United States. He wrote extensively on various aspects of sado masochism and other behaviors.

This is a partial list of the founders of psychology, who were almost entirely Jewish. Much more can be found in the literature showing that the practice of psychology has garnered far greater achievements than can be shown here.

Shalom u’vracha.

Dr. Gerhard Falk is the author of numerous publications, including The German Jews in America (2014).

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