Frieda Fromm-Reichmann

A gifted therapist immortalized by her former patient in the novel I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, Frieda Fromm-Reichmann found new and innovative ways to treat schizophrenics. Fromm-Reichmann graduated from the University of Königsberg in 1913 and worked with brain-injured soldiers at the school’s psychiatric hospital throughout WWI. She continued her research under various clinicians in Frankfurt, Berlin, and Munich before creating a private kosher and Sabbath-observant sanatorium near Heidelberg in 1924. She cofounded both the Frankfurt chapter of the German Psychoanalytic Society and the Psychoanalytic Institute of Southwestern Germany, but fled the country in 1933. In 1935 she became a resident psychiatrist at Chestnut Lodge near Washington, DC, where she would spend the rest of her career. She served as a training analyst for the Washington Psychoanalytic Society and the Washington School of Psychiatry, as well as president of the Washington Psychoanalytic Association from 1939–1941. During her time at Chestnut Lodge, she studied the role of nonverbal communication in psychoanalysis and explored art therapy and intensive psychotherapy in treating schizophrenics and bipolar patients at a time when shock therapy and lobotomies were often seen as the only treatments for such patients.


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Joanne Greenberg's bestselling I Never Promised You a Rose Garden offered a semi-autobiographical account of a young teenage girl's struggle with mental illness and the psychoanalytic treatment that restores her to the world.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Frieda Fromm-Reichmann ." (Viewed on January 18, 2020) <>.


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