Regarded as the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud was a neurologist. Despite suffering criticism, psychoanalysis remains influential in the fields of psychology and psychiatry; such is the influence Freud has on humanities. Scholars believe that Freud is one of the most influential personalities of the 20th century and that his impact is comparable to that of Marxism and Darwinism.
Alfred Adler was an Austrian psychotherapist and medical doctor. He is credited with founding the school of individual psychology. He was also one of the founders of the psychoanalytic movement along with Sigmund Freud and Freud's colleagues. In 2002, a survey conducted by Review of General Psychology named Adler among the 20th century's most eminent psychologists.
Wilhelm Reich was an Austrian psychoanalyst and doctor of medicine. He is credited with shaping innovations like body psychotherapy, primal therapy, and Gestalt therapy. Also a writer, Reich's books like The Sexual Revolution and The Mass Psychology of Fascism influenced generations of intellectuals. Also a controversial figure, some of Wilhelm Reich's practices caused a disturbance in the psychoanalytic community.
Melanie Klein was an Austrian-British author and psychoanalyst. A key figure in the development of object relations theory, she is best known for her work in child analysis. She began her studies by observing her own children’s behavior while they were growing up. As a woman in a field dominated by men, she was also a feminist icon.
Otto Rank was an Austrian psychoanalyst and philosopher. A close colleague of Sigmund Freud, Rank was also the managing director of Freud's publishing house. Rank was a prolific writer and wrote extensively on psychoanalytic themes. He was the first person who viewed therapy as a learning and unlearning experience focusing on feelings. Psychologist Rollo May was deeply influenced by Rank.
Austrian thinker Otto Weininger, whose main areas of interests included philosophy of religion, logic, gender and psychology, lived in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. His book Geschlecht und Charakter (Sex and Character), which gained popularity following his suicide by gunshot, became a sourcebook for anti-Semitic propagandists. Some of his writings were used by Nazi propaganda.
Psychoanalyst and physician Josef Breuer inspired what later came to be known as Sigmund Freud’s cathartic method to treat mental ailments. His experiments with his patient Anna O. proved the therapeutic effect of the talking cure. He had also conducted research on the respiratory cycle and discovered the Hering-Breuer reflex.
After fleeing to Chile with his family during the Nazi regime, Otto F. Kernberg studied medicine and then psychiatry. He eventually moved to the U.S. on a Rockefeller fellowship and grew up to be one of the finest psychoanalysts of the country. He now teaches at the Weill Cornell Medicine.
Paul Watzlawick was an Austrian-American psychologist and philosopher, specializing in family therapy and communication theory. The most influential figure in the Palo Alto Mental Research Institute, he worked extensively on how communication is effected within families and proposed Interactional View Theory. Paul Watzlawick authored 22 books and more than 150 articles and book chapters. His books have been translated into 80 languages
Initially aspiring to be an architect and then a lawyer, Fritz Heider gradually deviated toward psychology. The Austrian psychologist was a prominent figure of the Gestalt school. Considered one of the pioneers of interpersonal social psychology, he made significant contributions to the theories of attribution, balance, and motivation.
Austrian psychiatrist Rudolf Dreikurs was influenced by Alfred Adler’s individual psychology and used it to understand children’s behavior. He suggested that children misbehave if they feel they don’t belong to their social group, such as a classroom. He later established the Alfred Adler Institutes in the U.S. and Israel.