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Anna O’s unique destiny, the first clinical case Freud studied, is interesting in many ways. Indeed, it doesn’t only question the fundamentals of psychoanalysis, it also offers various perspectives on the research concerning self-giving. Anna O. never cured her hysterical syndrome with psychoanalysis, even though J. Breur and Freud pretended she did. The cure, as suggested by the patient herself, was a failure. After Breur took charge of her, she had several stays in senatoriums. In fact, only a long term cure and self-giving practice would help her to beat her mental condition. Self-giving practice turned out to be salvation. We have since discovered that Anna O. was the first German social worker, a pioneer in feminist movement and a founder of orphanages. In brief, Anna O. named Bertha Pappenheim, a militant benefactress whom Germany honered by creating a postage stamp after her in 1954.

Dominique Bourgeon
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