Bull. Anna Freud Centire (1989) 12, pages 85 and 86

 

Liselotte Frankl : An Obituary, 1

 

Dr Liselotte Frankl qualified as psychologist in Vienna and became a

 lecturer at the University and Research Assistant to Charlotte

Buehler, the first, and at that time the only, Professor of Child

 Development anywhere in Europe. Although Professor Buehler was

 strongly opposed to psychoanalytic thinking, Liselotte Frankl

 attended, more or less secretly, the lectures which Anna Freud was

 holding less than ten minutes' walk from the University. She was one

 of three of Buehler's assistants who later became psychoanalysts: the

 others were Esther Bick and llse Hellman. She gained her PhD at the

same university in 1935 and she began her personal analysis with

 Ernst Kris.

 

She was able, through the good offices of an organization set up to

 help Jewish academics, to leave Austria In 1938 and to come to live

 and work in England. She decided to undertake a medical training:

this seemed to her, as a foreigner, a necessary condition for

professional advancement.     She was accepted at the Royal Free

 Hospital School of Medicine for Women, and spent part of her time as

a medical student at the University of St Andrews, to which a part of

 the School was evacuated in 1940. In 1945 she obtained an MB BS

 with distinction from the University of London.         While in London,

 she was able to continue her personal analysis and join the British

 Psycho-Analytical Society.     She was appointed a Training Analyst a

 few years later and is remembered with affection  by many of her

 trainees.

 

Following an appointment at the West Sussex Child Guidance Service,

an important proportion of her professional career  was spent as

Psychiatrist to the East London Child Guidance Clinic, a part of the

 London Hospital, where she worked in close association with Augusta

Bonnard.      Many students of the Child Training of the Hampstead

Clinic (as the Anna Freud Centre was then called) were able to gain

valuable clinical experience under her tutelage, and had cause to

appreciate and be grateful for her deep insight into child assessment

and development. She became a Training Analyst and Supervisor on

the Hampstead programme, and was appointed Medical Director of

the Clinic - a post in which she served for many years. She undertook

lecture tours in the United States in 1961 and 1964, and addressed

meetings and led seminars in San Francisco, Denver and other major

American Centres.        She also lectured throughout Europe on some

of the many issues to which she had made important contributions.

 

She made some significant additions to existing knowledge of

developmental psychology, general psychiatry and child

psychoanalysis. In 1947, she published a study on personality change

following prefrontal leucotomy, written jointly with the distinguished

psychiatrist Mayer-Gross. She also published some interesting

findings on the effect of swaddling on children in Rumania. Some of

her papers were written in conjunction with Augusta Bonnard,

Elizabeth Shepheard (now Model) and other colleagues, among them

Ilse Hellman with whom she had a close working relationship at the

Hampstead Clinic. She wrote on applications of psychoanalytic

understanding to child psychotherapy, on problems of diagnosis and

interview technique, on the ego's participation in the therapeutic

alliance, on problems of adolescence, accident proneness, frustration

tolerance and other topics which illustrated the broad range of her

interests. She was elected a Foundation Fellow of the Royal College

of Psychiatrists at its inception in 1971, and the Royal Society of

Medicine was among the learned societies she addressed.

 

She was a remarkably perceptive and gifted diagnostician and no-one

knew better than she how to draw the most out of an initial

 assessment interview.   She had an uncanny ability to demonstrate

 how material gathered during an analysis was already foreshadowed

in the initial assessment, in a way that owed nothing to retrospective

understanding.   To her colleagues at large, she was perhaps too

retiring for her own good, but to those who knew her well her modesty

bid a sense of fun and a real wit.

 

She died at the age of 78.

 

Clifford Yorke

 

 

 

1 0bservations rnade at Dr Franki's funeral on 18 October 1988