Helene Deutsch was born in Przemysl, Poland, in 1884. After studying medicine at the University of Vienna School of Medicine she worked during World war I as a full-time assistant at the Wagner-Jauregg psychiatric clinic. During this period her interest in psychoanalytic ideas grew to such an extent that she eventually entered into analysis with Freud, resigned from her position at the clinic, and became a member of the Vienna Psycho-Analytic Society. Her contributions to the Society were quickly recognized when, in January 1925, the Vienna Training Institute was established, she was nominated its Director. In 1935 she left Vienna for America, eventually settling with her husband, Felix Deutsch, in Cambridge, Massachusetts where she took up work as a lecturer at the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute.The first volume of her influential work, The Psychology of Women, appeared in 1944, to be followed by the second volume a year later. When, towards the end of her life, Helene Deutsch came to consider the relationship of The Psychology of Women to Psychoanalysis of the Sexual Functions of Women, first published almost twenty years before, she observed: "It is evident that the first publication already contains all the building stones for the latter. What was first conceived by intuition and observation of a small number of analyzed women was later supported and confirmed by thirty years of experience".

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