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To Redeem One Person Is To Redeem The World: A Life of Frieda Fromm-Reichmann Hardcover – December 6, 2000
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From Publishers Weekly
Outside of psychoanalytic circles, Fromm-Reichmann is known best as the fictional Dr. Fried, the insightful and brave doctor who helps the deeply disturbed, schizophrenic heroine of Joanne Greenberg's 1964 novel I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. This first biography of Fromm-Reichmann is as thrilling and moving as Greenberg's now classic book. Thoroughly researched and elegantly written, Hornstein's biography details not only the psychoanalyst's life, personal and professional relationships, and ideas, but also takes on broader issues, such as the role that Judaism played in psychoanalytic thought, in-fighting in European and U.S. therapeutic communities, and abject abuses and reforms in the treatment of severely disturbed patients in state and private hospitals in the 1950s. ReichmanAborn into an upper-middle class Orthodox Jewish family in Germany in 1889Awas an energetic and brilliant medical student who quickly achieved prominence in the newly formed field of psychoanalysis through her work with brain-damaged soldiers. In 1926, she married Erich Fromm, who was 15 years her junior as well as her patient. After coming to the U.S. in 1935, in the shadow of encroaching Nazism, Fromm-Reichman began a celebrated and notable career in American psychiatry, in which she distinguished herself for being one of the first psychoanalysts to perform breakthrough work with schizophrenic patients, thus opening up a whole new method of treatment for this long-neglected population. One of this biography's most dazzling and provocative themes is how Fromm-Reichmann's deeply religious Orthodox beliefs and worldview enabled her to rethink medical and psychoanalytic ideas. Hornstein, a professor of psychology at Mount Holyoke College, has produced a major biography of an important but, until now, relatively obscure figure. (Dec. 6)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Joanne Greenberg's I Never Promised You a Rose Garden was an instant bestseller when it was published in 1964. That quasi-fictional account of the author's battle with schizophrenia (published under the pseudonym Hannah Green) portrays the psychotherapist--a Dr. Fried--as brilliant and innovative and one who trusted fully in the fact that schizophrenia and other psychoses could be cured by intense amounts of psychotherapy. That fictional Dr. Fried was in real life Dr. Frieda Fromm-Reichmann, a German emigre who treated Greenberg, one of the first female psychotherapists in Germany, and ex-wife of Erich Fromm (of The Art of Loving fame). Was Fromm-Reichmann portrayed accurately in Greenberg's fictional account? It seems that Greenberg was right on the mark. However, biographical facts were hard to come by. She had all her records either burned or sealed in an attic for an undisclosed amount of time. Despite the hurdles, Hornstein develops a very rich biography of Fromm-Reichmann, detailing how she became a pioneer in psychotherapy. Michael Spinella
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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I greatly admire the American Frieda Fromm-Reichmann's work in mental hospitals, despite her own admiration for Freud!
Hornstein's style involves the reader, fascinating us with the remarkable, sometimes dangerous processes of psychiatric treatments, and Frieda's unique insights into the minds of her patients and her individual approach to treatment.
The book itself, only cost a dollar or two, and came from America. It is in good condition, despite a previous reader's yellow highlighting here and there.
I expect it was used in research or study.
I am very happy with it.
I am interested in schizophrenia, because of ancestors who were committed to the gargantuan mental institutions of the early- to mid-twentieth century. Until I read this book, I did not know that it was possible to treat schizophrenia with psychoanalysis. I wondered if the outcomes of my ancestors would have been different if that treatment were available to them. On the other hand, it is a lengthy and expensive process, there were thousands of patients who needed attention, and not enough psychiatrists to handle the workload.
I disagree with one of the other reviews on this site that this book was "too dark." The reviewer seemed to think that it was a negative aspect of the book that the author did not portray Frieda as the saint she appeared to be in "Rose Garden." I was glad that she got even closer to the real Frieda Fromm-Reichmann than Greenberg did, and I enjoyed the details of her life that gave her depth and humanness, even if they were dark.
The prose is dense with psychoanalytical concepts that may have been difficult for someone to whom this discipline is unfamiliar. But I absorbed what I could, and came away with a better understanding of psychiatric care than I had before. The author has an agenda, which is that it is unfortunate that psychoanalysis of psychotics is considered a waste of time by mainstream psychiatrists. She discusses the politics of psychiatric policy, but I don't think she is heavy-handed in her approach. I found this quote in the epilogue quite insightful, and shows the author's willingness to look at multiple approaches to the problem:
"It may well be, as has long been suggested, that there are many different kinds of schizophrenia or manic depression, each with a different cause, and differences in patient response reflect this variability. But since no one has ever come up with a reliable way of telling which patient is likely to respond to which treatment, such a claim has no practical import. Thousands of research studies and decades of work can still be summarized in one phrase: no treatment works for everybody, and every treatment works for some." p. 290 (hardback edition).