Abraham Low

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Abraham Low (1891–1954), was a Jewish-American neuropsychiatrist noted for his work establishing self-help programs for the mentally ill, and criticism of Freudian psychoanalysis.[1][2]

Early years[edit]

Low was born February 28, 1891, in Baranów Sandomierski, Poland.[3]

Low attended grade school, high school and medical school in France from 1910 to 1918. He continued his medical education in Austria, serving in the Medical Corps of the Austrian Army. He graduated with a medical degree in 1919, after his military service, from the University of Vienna Medical School. After serving an internship in Vienna, Austria from 1919 to 1920, he immigrated to the United States, obtaining his U.S. citizenship in 1927.


From 1921 to 1925 he practiced medicine in both New York, New York and Chicago, Illinois. In 1925 he was appointed as an instructor of neurology at the University of Illinois Medical School and became an associate professor of psychiatry.[3] In 1931 Low was appointed Assistant Director and in 1940 became Acting Director of the University's Neuropsychiatric Institute.[4]

From 1931 to 1941 he supervised the Illinois State Hospitals. During this time he conducted demanding seminars with the staff and interviewed the most severe mental patients in the wards. In 1936, Low's Studies in Infant Speech and Thought was published by the University of Illinois Press.[3][5] Some sixty papers are by Low dealing variously with such topics as: Histopathology of brain and spinal cord, studies on speech disturbances (aphasias) in brain lesions, clinical testing of psychiatric and neurological conditions, studies in shock treatment, laboratory investigations of mental diseases; and several articles on group psychotherapy had been published in medical periodicals.[citation needed]

Death and legacy[edit]

In 1954 Low died at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. His contributions to the psychiatric and mental health communities are often not well known, but his work has and continues to assist numerous individuals in the area of mental health.[3]

Recovery International[edit]

In 1937, Low founded Recovery, Inc. He served as its medical director from 1937 to 1954. During this time he presented lectures to relatives of former patients on his work with these patients and the before and after scenarios. In 1941, Recovery Inc. became an independent organization. Low's three volumes of The Technique of Self-help in Psychiatric Aftercare (including "Lectures to Relatives of Former Patients") were published by Recovery, Inc. in 1943.[6][7] Recovery's main text, Mental Health Through Will-Training, was originally published in 1950.[8] During the organization's annual meeting in June 2007 it was announced that Recovery, Inc. would thereafter be known as Recovery International.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Keogh, C.B. (1979). GROW Comes of Age: A Celebration and a Vision!. Sydney, Australia: GROW Publications. ISBN 978-0-909114-01-5. OCLC 27588634. Archived from the original on 2009-02-21.
  2. ^ Sagarin, Edward (1969). "Chapter 9. Mental patients: are they their brothers' therapists?". Odd Man In: Societies of Deviants in America. Chicago, Illinois: Quadrangle Books. pp. 210–232. ISBN 978-0-531-06344-6. OCLC 34435.
  3. ^ a b c d "Biography of Dr. Abraham A. Low". 2000-03-07. Archived from the original on 2007-10-24. Retrieved 2007-10-15.
  4. ^ Grosz, H. J. (1971). "Self-help through Recovery, Inc". Current Psychiatric Therapies. 11: 156–160. PMID 5113142.
  5. ^ Low, Abraham A. (1936). Studies in infant speech and thought. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois. OCLC 14752937.
  6. ^ Low, Abraham A. (1967). Lectures to Relatives of Former Patients. Boston, MA: The Christopher Publishing House. ISBN 978-0-8158-0139-9. OCLC 1410817.
  7. ^ Low, Abraham A.; Recovery, Inc. (1943). The techniques of self-help in psychiatric after-care. Chicago, Illinois. OCLC 42198367.
  8. ^ Low, Abraham (1984). Mental Health Through Will Training. Willett Pub. ISBN 978-0-915005-01-7. LCCN 57012246. OCLC 9878531.
  9. ^ "Annual Meeting". Recovery Reporter. 70 (2). 2007 [2nd Quarter]. OCLC 22518904.

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