August 28, 1903|
|Died||March 13, 1990
Silver Spring, Maryland, United States
|Fields||Director of Orthogenic School (1944–1973)|
|Doctoral students||Benjamin Drake Wright|
|Known for||freelance ideas on child psychology;
The Uses of Enchantment
|Spouse||Regina Alstadt (1930–?; divorced)
Gertrude Weinfeld (1941–1984; her death; 3 children)
Bruno Bettelheim (August 28, 1903 – March 13, 1990) was an Austrian-born self-educated psychoanalyst in generally the Freudian tradition. Because he was Jewish and an advocate of Austrian independence, Bettelheim was arrested and imprisoned in the concentration camps of Dachau and Buchenwald for ten and a half months from 1938 to 1939.. Drawing upon this experience, he published a highly regarded paper in 1943 entitled "Individual and Mass Behavior in Extreme Situations." He had emigrated to the United States in 1939 and spent the bulk of his academic career as a professor of psychology at the University of Chicago. For more than 40 years, Bettelheim wrote a number of articles and books on psychology. Prior to revelations of fake credentials and plagiarism after his death, he had had an international reputation on such topics as Sigmund Freud and emotionally disturbed children. He served as the director of the Orthogenic School for Disturbed Children from 1944 to 1973.
Bettelheim substantially misrepresented his background and academic credentials which were not checked because of the disruption of World War II. His one doctorate at the University of Vienna was either in art history or philosophy (aesthetics). He had in fact only taken three introductory classes in psychology.
Bettelheim blamed mothers for autism, as in The Empty Fortress (1967). Autism spectrum conditions are now regarded as having multiple and primarily physical causes. In addition, it was revealed that he frequently hit students even though he spoke and wrote against corporal punishments. Counselors at the Orthogenic School tended to perceive legitimate corporal punishment, whereas many but not all students have reported rage and out-of-control violence on Bettelheim's part.
- 1 Background
- 2 Life and career in the United States
- 3 Controversies
- 4 In popular culture
- 5 Bibliography
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Bruno Bettelheim was born in Vienna, Austria, on August 28, 1903. When his father died, Bettelheim left his studies at the University of Vienna to look after his family's sawmill. Bettelheim's first wife, Gina, took care of a troubled American child, Patsy, who lived in the Bettelheim home in Vienna for seven years. Bettelheim later claimed he had taken care of the child. There is disagreement among sources regarding whether or not Patsy was autistic. He later embellished the story claiming there had been two or several autistic children. Having discharged his obligations to his family's business, Bettelheim returned as a mature student in his 30s to the University of Vienna. He earned a degree in philosophy, producing a dissertation on Immanuel Kant and on the history of art.
In the Austrian academic culture of Bettelheim's time, one could not study the history of art without mastering aspects of psychology. Candidates for the doctoral dissertation in the History of Art in 1938 at Vienna University had to fulfill prerequisites in the formal study of the role of Jungian archetypes in art, and in art as an expression of the Freudian subconscious.
Though Jewish by birth, Bettelheim grew up in a secular family. After the Nazi invasion and Anschluss (political annexation) of Austria in March 1938, the Nazi authorities sent Bettelheim, other Austrian Jews and political opponents to the Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps where they were brutally treated, and tortured or killed. In Buchenwald, he met and befriended the social psychologist Ernst Federn. Bettelheim was imprisoned in the camps for ten and half months from May 28, 1938, to April 14, 1939. As a result of an amnesty declared for Hitler's birthday (April 20, 1939), Bettelheim and hundreds of other prisoners regained their liberty. Bettelheim drew on the experience of the concentration camps for some of his later work.
Life and career in the United States
Bettelheim arrived by ship as a refugee in New York City in late 1939 to join his wife Gina, who had already emigrated. They divorced because she had become involved with someone else during their separation. He soon moved to Chicago, became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1944, and married an American woman.
In 1943, he published the paper "Individual and Mass Behavior in Extreme Situations" about his experiences in the concentration camps, a paper which was highly regarded by Dwight Eisenhower among others. Bettelheim claimed he had interviewed 1,500 fellow prisoners, although this was unlikely.
The University of Chicago appointed Bettelheim as a professor of psychology, and he taught there from 1944 until his retirement in 1973. He wrote a number of books on psychology and, for a time, had an international reputation for his work on Sigmund Freud, psychoanalysis, and emotionally disturbed children. He stated that the Viennese psychoanalyst Richard Sterba had analyzed him, as well as implying in several of his writings that he had written a PhD dissertation in the philosophy of education. His actual PhD was in art history, and he had only taken three introductory courses in psychology.
During the same time period, Bettelheim also served as Director of the University of Chicago's Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School, a home that treats emotionally disturbed children. He made changes and set up an environment for milieu therapy, in which children could form strong attachments with adults within a structured but caring environment. He claimed considerable success in treating some of the emotionally disturbed children. He wrote books on both normal and abnormal child psychology, and became a major influence in the field, widely respected during his lifetime. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1971.
Bettelheim analyzed fairy tales in terms of Freudian psychology in The Uses of Enchantment (1976). He discussed the emotional and symbolic importance of fairy tales for children, including traditional tales at one time[clarification needed] considered too dark, such as those collected and published by the Brothers Grimm. Bettelheim suggested that traditional fairy tales, with the darkness of abandonment, death, witches, and injuries, allowed children to grapple with their fears in remote, symbolic terms. If they could read and interpret these fairy tales in their own way, he believed, they would get a greater sense of meaning and purpose. Bettelheim thought that by engaging with these socially-evolved stories, children would go through emotional growth that would better prepare them for their own futures. In the United States, Bettelheim won two major awards for The Uses of Enchantment: the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism and the National Book Award in category Contemporary Thought. However, a 1991 article in The Journal of American Folklore charged that Bettelheim had engaged in plagiarism by unacknowledged borrowing from a number of sources, primarily Julius Heuscher's A Psychiatric Study of Fairy Tales (1963), although Heuscher himself stated he was not bothered.
His writings covered a wide range of topics, beginning shortly after he arrived in the United States with an essay on concentration camps and their dynamics. He long had a reputation as an authority on these topics.
At the end of his life, Bettelheim suffered from depression. He appeared to have had difficulties with depression for much of his life. In 1990, widowed, in failing physical health, and suffering from the effects of a stroke which impaired his mental abilities and paralyzed part of his body, he committed suicide as a result of self-induced asphyxiation by placing a plastic bag over his head. He died on March 13, 1990, in Maryland.
Currently, many of Bettelheim's theories in which he attributes autism spectrum conditions to parenting style are considered to be discredited, not least because of the controversies relating to his academic and professional qualifications.
Misrepresentation of credentials
Even as early as a November 1990 Chicago Tribune article, questions were noted about Bettelheim's credentials. Different people seemed to believe different things about his background and credentials. Bertram Cohler and Jacquelyn Sanders at the Orthogenic School believed Bettelheim had a PhD in art history. Ralph Tyler, who had brought Bettelheim to the University of Chicago first to teach art history, and then, in 1944, to become director of the Orthogenic School, assumed Bettelheim had two PhDs, one in art history and the other in psychology. In some of his writings, Bettelheim implied that he had written a dissertation on the philosophy of education.
A lot of information came out following the publication of two biographies, the first by Nina Sutton originally in French in 1995 and a second more critical biography by Richard Pollak in 1997. These somewhat competing biographies seemed to motivate journalists to look into the matter in more depth. A review in the Chicago Tribune states that Bettelheim reinvented himself "right out of the proverbial whole cloth." A review in the New York Times frankly accuses Bettelheim of "concocting a new formula for snake oil and selling it to the public with flummery."
Nina Sutton's biography was originally published as Bruno Bettelheim, une vie (1995) and translated into English as Bruno Bettelheim: A Life and a Legacy. The Independent (UK) wrote in a book review that Bettelheim "despite claims to the contrary, possessed no psychology qualifications of any sort."
Richard Pollak's The Creation of Dr. B: A Biography of Bruno Bettelheim (1997) begins with a personal account, for his brother was a resident at Bettelheim's school. While home one summer and playing hide-and-go-seek in a hay loft, the brother fell through a chute covered with hay, hit the concrete floor on the level below and died. Years later Pollak, hoping to get some information about his brother's life, sought out Bettelheim. At which point, as Pollak recounts, "Bettelheim immediately launched into an attack. The boys' father, he said, was a simple-minded 'schlemiel.' Their mother, he insisted, had rejected Stephen at birth forcing him to develop 'pseudo-feeble-mindedness' to cope. 'What is it about these Jewish mothers, Mr. Pollak?'" Bettelheim insisted the brother had committed suicide and made it look like an accident.
As a January 1997 review in the Baltimore Sun states, "The stance of infallibility over matters Pollak knew to be untrue prompted him to wonder about the foundation of Bettelheim's commanding reputation." Pollak was, in fact, a former executive editor and literary editor at The Nation magazine, as well as having written for other major magazines.
When Bettelheim applied for a position at Rockford College in Illinois, he claimed in a résumé that he had earned summa cum laude doctorates in philosophy, art history, and psychology, that he had done original work under the leading artists at the Vienna Kunstgewerbeschule, and that he had published two books in the field. When he went on to apply at the University of Chicago, he further claimed that he had training in psychology, experience raising autistic children, and personal encouragement from Sigmund Freud. In a 1997 Weekly Standard article Peter Kramer, clinical professor of psychiatry at Brown University, summarized: "There were snatches of truth in the tall tale, but not many. Bettelheim had earned a non-honors degree in philosophy, he had made acquaintances in the psychoanalytic community, and his first wife had helped raise a troubled child. But, from 1926 to 1938, -- the bulk of the '14 years' at university -- Bettelheim had worked as a lumber dealer in the family business."
Sources disagree whether Bettelheim's one PhD was in art history or in philosophy (aesthetics). He claimed he had met Freud and that Freud that stated he (Bettelheim) was "just [or, "exactly"] the person we need for psychoanalysis to grow and develop." Bettelheim had never met Freud. He had never been accepted as a candidate for membership in the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society. A posthumous review of his transcript showed that Bettelheim had only taken three introductory classes in psychology.
Bettelheim stated that, while still living in pre-war Austria, he had taken care of a troubled child who he labelled as autistic. This child, Patsy, did live in the Bettelheim household for seven years, although she was primarily taken care of by Bettelheim's first wife.
In his 1997 review of Pollak's book in the Baltimore Sun, Paul McHugh, then director of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins, stated "Bettelheim – with boldness, energy and luck – exploited American deference to Freudo-Nietzschean mind-sets and interpretation, especially when intoned in accents Viennese.
Bettelheim became one of the most prominent defenders of Hannah Arendt's book Eichmann in Jerusalem. He wrote a positive review for The New Republic. This review prompted a letter from a writer, Harry Golden, who alleged that both Bettelheim and Arendt suffered from "an essentially Jewish phenomenon … self-hatred". Richard Pollak's biography, The Creation of Dr. B, portrays Bettelheim as a clear anti-Semite even though he was raised in a secular Jewish household, and that Bettelheim criticized in others the same cowardice he himself had displayed in the concentration camps.
Autism spectrum conditions are now currently regarded as perhaps having multiple forms with a variety of genetic, epigenetic, and brain development causes influenced by such environmental factors as complications during pregnancy, viral infections, and perhaps even air pollution.
Bettelheim's theories on the causes of autism have been largely discredited, and his reporting rates of cure have been questioned, with critics stating that his patients were not actually suffering from autism. Bettelheim believed that autism did not have an organic basis, but resulted when mothers withheld appropriate affection from their children and failed to make a good connection with them. Bettelheim also blamed absent or weak fathers. One of his most famous books, The Empty Fortress (1967), contains a complex and detailed explanation of this dynamic in psychoanalytical and psychological terms. He derived his thinking from the qualitative investigation of clinical cases. He also related the world of autistic children to conditions in concentration camps. In A Good Enough Parent, published in 1987, he had come to the view that children had considerable resilience and that most parents could be "good enough" to help their children make a good start.
Bettelheim subscribed to and became a prominent proponent of the "refrigerator mother" theory of autism: the theory that autistic behaviors stem from the emotional frigidity of the children's mothers. He adapted and transformed the Orthogenic School at the University of Chicago as a residential treatment milieu for such children, who he felt would benefit from a "parentectomy". This marked the apex of autism viewed as a disorder of parenting.
A 2002 book on autism spectrum stated, "At the time, few people knew that Bettelheim had faked his credentials and was using fictional data to support his research." Michael Rutter has observed, "Many people made a mistake in going from a statement which is undoubtedly true—that there is no evidence that autism has been caused by poor parenting—to the statement that it has been disproven. It has not actually been disproven. It has faded away simply because, on the one hand, of a lack of convincing evidence and on the other hand, an awareness that autism was a neurodevelopmental disorder of some kind."
In a 1997 review of two books on Bettelheim, Molly Finn wrote "I am the mother of an autistic daughter, and have considered Bettelheim a charlatan since The Empty Fortress, his celebrated study of autism, came out in 1967. I have nothing personal against Bettelheim, if it is not personal to resent being compared to a devouring witch, an infanticidal king, and an SS guard in a concentration camp, or to wonder what could be the basis of Bettelheim's statement that 'the precipitating factor in infantile autism is the parent's wish that his child should not exist.'"
Although Bettelheim foreshadowed the modern interest in the causal influence of genetics in the section Parental Background, he consistently emphasised nurture over nature. For example: "When at last the once totally frozen affects begin to emerge, and a much richer human personality to evolve, then convictions about the psychogenic nature of the disturbance become stronger still."; On Treatability, p. 412.
The rates of recovery claimed for the Orthogenic School are set out in Follow-up Data, with a recovery good enough to be considered a 'cure' of 43%., ps. 414–415.
Subsequently, medical research has provided greater understanding of the biological basis of autism and other illnesses. Scientists such as Bernard Rimland challenged Bettelheim's view of autism by arguing that autism is a neurodevelopmental issue. As late as 2009, the "refrigerator mother" theory retained some prominent supporters, including the prominent Irish psychologist Tony Humphreys. His theory still enjoys widespread support in France.[dubious ]
Questionable treatment of students
After Bettelheim's suicide in 1990, detractors claimed that Bettelheim exploded in screaming anger at students, and although he preached against corporal punishment, often hit students who lived at the school. A November 1990 Chicago Tribune article states: "Of the 19 alumni of the Orthogenic School interviewed for this story, some are still bitterly angry at Bettelheim, 20 or 30 years after leaving the institution. Others say their stays did them good, and they express gratitude for having had the opportunity to be at the school. All agree that Bettelheim frequently struck his young and vulnerable patients."
Later directors and some counselors at the Orthogenic School tend to see Bettelheim merely as using corporal punishment, while many but not all residential students seeing rage and out-of-control violence on Bettelheim's part.
Alida Jatich, who lived at the school from 1966 to 1972 from ages twelve to eighteen, wrote in an initially anonymous April 1990 letter to the Chicago Reader, "Bettelheim told the children over and over how lucky they were to be at his school, and that if they didn't do as they were told, they would end up in a state mental asylum where they would be given drugs and shock treatments. . . . . I lived in fear of Bettelheim's unpredictable temper tantrums, public beatings, hair pulling, wild accusations and threats and abuse in front of classmates and staff. One minute he could be smiling and joking, the next minute he could be exploding." Ms. Alida Jatich publicly revealed her name and the time she was at the school in another letter a year later.
In an August 1990 letter to the Washington Post, Charles Pekow wrote, "Bettelheim had standard lines he gave us all: we were considered hopelessly 'crazy' by the outside world and only he could save us from lives in mental institutions or jail. 'You get better here or you go to a nut house,' I heard him routinely tell school-aged children. . . . . Once, after a boy returned from a visit home, Bettelheim spent five minutes slapping him in the face, hitting him in the sides with fists and pulling his hair. Midway through, he revealed why: The lad had told his brother to 'do well in school.' He had no right to 'push' his brother around. To be sure, the blows he struck, though often painful and humiliating, did not physically damage people. But I often saw Bettleheim drag children across the floor by their hair and kick them. He even hit autistic children who couldn't speak clearly."
As an example of a counselor viewing Bettelheim's behavior as more legitimate corporal punishment, David Zwerdling, who was a counselor at the school for one year in 1969-70, wrote a Sept. 1990 response to the Washington Post in which he stated: "I witnessed one occasion when an adolescent boy cursed at a female counselor. Incensed upon learning of this, Dr. Bettelheim proceeded to slap the boy two or three times across the face, while telling him sternly never to speak that way to a woman again. This was the only such incident I observed or heard of during my year at the school, and it should be noted that until fairly recently, the near-consensus against corporal punishment in schools did not obtain." However, Zwerdling also noted, "He also was a man who, for whatever reasons, was capable of intense anger on occasion."
In an October 1990 essay in Commentary magazine, former student Ronald Angres wrote, "For all of those years, they [my parents] too endured his insulting and intimidating theatrics. But from his behavior they never drew the obvious conclusion about his character, nor did they ever pause to consider how he must be treating those whom he had totally in his power. It did not seem to occur to them that in his 'total therapeutic milieu,' the professional distance they sought had been delegated to people who raised us, educated us, disciplined us, and controlled us far more completely than any parent—and kept our real parents in the dark. Indeed, Bettelheim's constant verbal abuse of the parents with whom he dealt, and whom he refused to allow past the visitors' area—combined with his well-publicized assertion that it was parents who caused mental illness in their children—systematically destroyed their will to stand up for themselves or their children."
Roberta Carly Redford, who was a student at the Orthogenic School from age 16 to 23 (1967 to 1974), stated in a 1990 letter to the New York Times: "Unlike most of the other kids there, I was beaten only once. Bettelheim knew how to find people's Achilles' heels. Alida Jatich, whom you quote, he beat up often, knowing that her parents had done so and that was what would cause her the most grief. He also did to me what my parents had done -- stripped me of my self-esteem, caused me constantly to doubt myself and verbally abused me. He told me I was a slut, I was a failure at life, and only by abiding by his rules would I ever be fit to live in society again."
In a July 1990 letter to the Chicago Reader, a former counselor at the school writing anonymously stated, "At that time, in the late forties, I probably had more experience upon which to assess the adjustment of the children than most of the counselors at the school. By age 22, when I worked there, I had spent fully a third of my life in group living with a variety of youngsters under stress; four years in an orphan home followed by three and a half years in the wartime army. I understood that the stream of human normality was very wide, and that time healed many wounds without human intervention. It amazed me that Bettelheim, a man from another culture, could look at the same child as I and see a 'schizophrenic' while I saw another rambunctious American kid. What did a forty year old Viennese intellectual really know about the inner (or outer for that matter) life of a ten-year-old West Side, Chicago Irish kid who had no one to care for him?"
Richard Pollak's 1997 biography states that two separate women reported that Bettelheim fondled their breasts and those of other female students at the school while he was ostensibly apologizing to each for beating her.
The above Nov. 1990 Chicago Tribune article listed accounts of abusive treatment of child patients at the 'Orthogenic School,' including:
• "[Ronald Angres] recently wrote in Commentary magazine, 'I lived for years in terror of his beatings, in terror of his footsteps in the dorms-in abject, animal terror.'"
• "would pull an adolescent girl out of a shower, then hit and berate her in front of dormitory mates. Yet Alida Jatich says he did just that"
• "another former student, Roberta Redford, recalls being summoned from a toilet stall for a similar thrashing,"
• "Orthogenic School patient Charles Pekow had allergies, but was not allowed to take medication, even when overcome by asthmatic attacks. Bettelheim thought allergies were psychologically induced—a theory largely laid to rest by subsequent medical research,"
• "Richard Younker, a photojournalist in Chicago, remembers how he and a dormitory mate, both Cub Scouts, decorated their wall with a plaque illustrating how to tie knots. 'Dr. B said to the whole dorm: "Look, the two boys who are so twisted up inside show the whole world by putting knots on the wall,"' Younker says."
On the other hand, Karen Zelan, who worked at the school from 1956 to 1964 recalls Bettelheim taking personal responsibility for a badly dehydrated five-year-old girl and nursing her back to health when the other staff couldn`t get her to take nourishment.
Jacquelyn Sanders, who started as a counselor, left to pursue her PhD, and later became director of the Orthogenic School, thinks it may have been a case of too much success coming too soon. She said, ``Dr. B got worse once he started getting acclaim. He was less able to have any insight into his effect on these kids.``
Richard Younker said, "I think these things happened to me the way I describe them. If you made the most innocent joke to the man, he exploded. He was out of control."
In her April 1991 letter to the Chicago Reader, Alida Jatich wrote, "I suspect that the main reason why it's so hard to talk about the Bettelheim tragedy is this: in one way or another, he induced all of us to act in ways that we feel sick to think about now. This includes kids, parents, staff members, students and faculty at the University of Chicago, colleagues, and so forth."
Three former students have written books about their experiences at the school:
•Tom Lyon's The Pelican and After: A Novel about Emotional Disturbance, a roman à clef novel in which the head of the school is a "Dr. V," published in 1983.
• Stephen Eliot's memoir Not the Thing I Was: Thirteen Years at Bruno Bettelheim's Orthogenics School, published in 2003.
•Roberta Carly Redford memoir Crazy: My Seven Years at Bruno Bettelheim's Orthogeneic School, published in 2010.
Plagiarism charges regarding "Uses of Enchantment"
A Winter 1991 article in The Journal of American Folklore presented a case that Bettelheim had committed plagiarism in borrowing without acknowledgement from Dr. Julius E. Heuscher's book A Psychiatric Study of Fairy Tales (1963, 1974 enlarged and revised edition) for his own (Bettelheim's) book The Uses of Enchantment (1976). A Los Angeles Times article states, "Alan Dundes, a widely published expert on folklore and a 28-year veteran of Berkeley's anthropology department, details what he says is 'wholesale borrowing,' not only of 'random passages' but also of 'key ideas' in Bettelheim's 1976 book." Dundes states that many of Bettelheim's ideas are borrowed from scholars going back for almost 50 years, although the most obvious borrowing is from Heuscher's 1963 book. Heuscher himself was gracious about the charges, stating "We all plagiarize. I plagiarize. Many times, I am not sure whether it came out of my own brain or if it came from somewhere else. . . . I'm only happy that I would have influenced Bruno Bettelheim. I did not always agree with him. But that does not matter. Poor Bruno Bettelheim. I would not want to disturb his eternal sleep with this [ellipsis marks in Los Angeles Times article]."
According to a 1991 Chicago Tribune article, Dundes' article in The Journal of American Folklore states that Bettelheim's 1976 book also borrowed from a 1967 paper Dundes himself had written on Cinderella as well as other sources, although the primary borrowed is from Heuscher's 1963 book (1974 revised edition). This Chicago Tribune article quotes another scholar that Alan Dundes is a "very serious scholar" who would only make such accusations of plagiarism for legitimate reasons. Dundes is also a former president of the American Folklore Association. Jacquelyn Sanders, who was the director of the Orthogenic School in 1991, states that she had read Dundes' article but did not believe many people would agree with his conclusions. She said, "I would not call that plagiarism. I think the article is a reasonable scholarly endeavor, and calling it scholarly etiquette is appropriate. It is appropriate that this man deserved to be acknowledged and Bettelheim didn't. . . . But I would not fail a student for doing that, and I don`t know anybody who would [ellipsis marks in Chicago Tribune article]."
Nonresponse of psychiatric community
A September 10, 1990 Newsweek article stated: "Patients were not the only ones who knew of Bettelheim's explosive temper. There are indications that at least the local psychiatric community knew exactly what was going on, and did nothing. Chicago analysts scathingly referred to the doctor as 'Beno Brutalheim.'"
In an April 4, 1991 letter to the Chicago Reader, former student Alida Jatich asked, "Who are these analysts? Why didn't they warn the university and our parents? Why are they still keeping silent?"
A November 1990 article in the Chicago Tribune reported that the University of Chicago's official biographical sketch of Bettelheim listed him as having a doctorate degree (Ph.D.) but did not specify the field.
In a January 1997 Los Angeles Times review of Richard Pollak's biography The Creation of Dr. B: A Biography of Bruno Bettelheim, Howard Gardner wrote, "When I began to discuss this biography with clinicians, several of them said in effect, 'Oh, we all knew this about Bettelheim. We did not believe his claims and figures; we knew he was a bastard.' I asked myself--and then I started to ask others--'Why did no one expose this fraud, this pretending saint who was tainted with evil? Did their silence encourage Bettelheim's excesses?' Answers varied from fear about Bettelheim's legendary capacity for retribution to the solidarity needed among the guild of healers to a feeling that, on balance, Bettelheim's positive attributes predominated and an unmasking would fuel more malevolent forces." Howard Gardner is a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, who is perhaps best known for his theory of multiple intelligences.
In a June/July 1997 article in First Things, Molly Finn wrote, "it is deplorable that the institution [University of Chicago] supported Bettelheim's work without ever setting up the oversight committee or board of visitors it usually appointed."
In popular culture
In 1974, a four-part series featuring Bruno Bettelheim and directed by Daniel Carlin appeared on French television — Portrait de Bruno Bettelheim.
Major works by Bettelheim
- 1943 "Individual and Mass Behavior in Extreme Situations", Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 38: 417–452.
- 1950 Love Is Not Enough: The Treatment of Emotionally Disturbed Children, Free Press, Glencoe, Ill.
- 1954 Symbolic Wounds; Puberty Rites and the Envious Male, Free Press, Glencoe, Ill.
- 1955 Truants From Life; The Rehabilitation of Emotionally Disturbed Children, Free Press, Glencoe, Ill.
- 1959 "Joey: A 'Mechanical Boy'", Scientific American, 200, March 1959: 117–126. (About a boy who believes himself to be a robot.)
- 1960 The Informed Heart: Autonomy in a Mass Age, The Free Press, Glencoe, Ill.
- 1962 Dialogues with Mothers, The Free Press, Glencoe, Ill.
- 1967 The Empty Fortress: Infantile Autism and the Birth of the Self, The Free Press, New York
- 1969 The Children of the Dream, Macmillan, London & New York (About the raising of children in a kibbutz environment.)
- 1974 A Home for the Heart, Knopf, New York. (About Bettelheim's Orthogenic School at the University of Chicago for schizophrenic and autistic children.)
- 1976 The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales, Knopf, New York. ISBN 0-394-49771-6
- 1979 Surviving and Other Essays, Knopf, New York (Includes the essay "The Ignored Lesson of Anne Frank".)
- 1982 On Learning to Read: The Child's Fascination with Meaning (with Karen Zelan), Knopf, New York
- 1982 Freud and Man's Soul, Knopf, 1983, ISBN 0-394-52481-0
- 1987 A Good Enough Parent: A Book on Child-Rearing, Knopf, New York
- 1990 Freud's Vienna and Other Essays, Knopf, New York
- 1993, Bettelheim, Bruno and Rosenfeld, Alvin A, "The Art of the Obvious" Knopf.
- 1994 Bettelheim, Bruno & Ekstein, Rudolf: Grenzgänge zwischen den Kulturen. Das letzte Gespräch zwischen Bruno Bettelheim und Rudolf Ekstein. In: Kaufhold, Roland (ed.) (1994): Annäherung an Bruno Bettelheim. Mainz (Grünewald): 49–60.
Critical reviews of Bettelheim (works and person)
- Angres, Ronald: "Who, Really, Was Bruno Bettelheim?", personal essay, Commentary, 90, (4), October 1990: 26–30.
- Bernstein, Richard: "Accusations of Abuse Haunt the Legacy of Dr. Bruno Bettelheim", New York Times, November 4, 1990: "The Week in Review" section.
- Bersihand, Geneviève (1977). Bettelheim [Bettelheim]. Champigny-sur-Marne: R. Jauze. p. 199. ISBN 2-86214-001-5.
- Dundes, Alan: "Bruno Bettelheim's Uses of Enchantment and Abuses of Scholarship". The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 104, N0. 411. (Winter, 1991): 74–83.
- Ekstein, Rudolf (1994): Mein Freund Bruno (1903–1990). Wie ich mich an ihn erinnere. In: Kaufhold, Roland (ed.) (1994): Annäherung an Bruno Bettelheim. Mainz (Grünewald), S. 87–94.
- Eliot, Stephen: Not the Thing I Was: Thirteen Years at Bruno Bettelheim's Orthogenic School, St. Martin's Press, 2003.
- Federn, Ernst (1994): Bruno Bettelheim und das Überleben im Konzentrationslager. In: Kaufhold, Roland (ed.) (1999): Ernst Federn: Versuche zur Psychologie des Terrors. Gießen (Psychosozial-Verlag): 105–108.
- Finn M (1997). "In the case of Bruno Bettelheim". First Things (74): 44–8.
- Fisher, David James: Psychoanalytische Kulturkritik und die Seele des Menschen. Essays über Bruno Bettelheim (co-editor: Roland Kaufhold), Gießen (Psychosozial-Verlag)
- Fisher, David James: Bettelheim: Living and Dying. Amsterdam, New York, NY, 2008 (Rodopi)
- Frattaroli, Elio: "Bruno Bettelheim's Unrecognized Contribution to Psychoanalytic Thought", Psychoanalytic Review, 81:379–409, 1994.
- Heisig, James W.: "Bruno Bettelheim and the Fairy Tales", Children's Literature, 6, 1977: 93–115.
- Kaufhold, Roland (ed.): Pioniere der psychoanalytischen Pädagogik: Bruno Bettelheim, Rudolf Ekstein, Ernst Federn und Siegfried Bernfeld, psychosozial Nr. 53 (1/1993)
- Kaufhold, Roland (Ed.): Annäherung an Bruno Bettelheim. Mainz, 1994 (Grünewald)
- Kaufhold, Roland (1999): „Falsche Fabeln vom Guru?" Der "Spiegel" und sein Märchen vom bösen Juden Bruno Bettelheim, Behindertenpädagogik, 38. Jhg., Heft 2/1999, S. 160–187.
- Kaufhold, Roland: Bettelheim, Ekstein, Federn: Impulse für die psychoanalytisch-pädagogische Bewegung. Gießen, 2001 (Psychosozial-Verlag).
- Kaufhold, Roland/Löffelholz, Michael (Ed.) (2003): "So können sie nicht leben" – Bruno Bettelheim (1903–1990). Zeitschrift für Politische Psychologie 1-3/2003.
- Lyons, Tom W. (1983), The Pelican and After: A Novel about Emotional Disturbance, Richmond, Virginia: Prescott, Durrell, and Company. This is a roman à clef novel in which the author lived at the Orthogenic School for almost twelve years. The novel's head of the institution is a "Dr. V."
- Marcus, Paul: Autonomy in the Extreme Situation. Bruno Bettelheim, the Nazi Concentration Camps and the Mass Society, Praeger, Westport, Conn., 1999.
- Pollak, Richard: The Creation of Dr. B: A Biography of Bruno Bettelheim, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1997.
- Raines, Theron (2002). Rising to the light : a portrait of Bruno Bettelheim (1 ed.). New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 0-679-40196-2.
- Redford, Roberta Carly (2010) Crazy: My Seven Years At Bruno Bettelheim's Orthogenic School, Trafford Publishing, 364 pages.
- Sutton, Nina: Bruno Bettelheim: The Other Side of Madness, Duckworth Press, London, 1995. (Translated from the French by David Sharp in collaboration with the author. Subsequently published with the title Bruno Bettelheim, a Life and a Legacy.)
- Zipes, Jack: "On the Use and Abuse of Folk and Fairy Tales with Children: Bruno Bettelheim's Moralistic Magic Wand", in Zipes, Jack: Breaking the Magic Spell: Radical Theories of Folk and Fairy Tales, University of Texas Press, Austin, 1979.
- "The Annual Obituary".
- NeuroTribes, Silberman, 2015, pages 202-03.
- Boxer, Sarah (January 26, 1997). "The Man He Always Wanted to Be". The New York Times. Retrieved Dec 2, 2016.
Bruno Bettelheim's new biographer lays his cards on the table right away: he thinks Bettelheim was a pathological liar.
- Biography As Revenge, Chicago Tribune, Marie Winn (who writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal's Leisure & Arts Page), Feb. 23, 1997. " . . He was familiar with this disease because his first wife, Gina, had cared for an autistic child in their home for several years. . "
- The Puzzle That Was Bruno Bettelheim, Chicago Tribune, Ron Grossman, November 11, 1990. See page 2 for different people believing somewhat different versions about his credentials. " . . Yet the university`s official biographical sketch credits Bettelheim with only one Ph.D., and doesn`t specify a field. . "
- Genius Or Fraud? Bettelheim's Biographers Can't Seem To Decide, Chicago Tribune, Ron Grossman, January 23, 1997, page 2: " . . . when the directorship of the Orthogenic School became available, he evidently gambled that because of the war no one would be able to check on his credentials. . . "
- Bruno Bettelheim: a cautionary life, Baltimore Sun, Paul R. McHugh, Jan. 19, 1997.
- An Icon of Psychology Falls From His Pedestal, New York Times, Books, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt (review of The Creation of Dr. B by Richard Pollak), Jan. 13, 1997. " . . Bettelheim seems to have re-enacted the archetypal American success story of inventing a false past, concocting a new formula for snake oil and selling it to the public with flummery. Under Mr. Pollak's magnifying glass, Bettelheim is seen in a new, harsh light, and stands exposed as a brilliant charlatan."
- Workshop on U.S. Data to Evaluate Changes in the Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), February 1, 2011, page 7, section Background: What Do We Know About ASD Prevalence? M. Yeargin-Allsopp, ' . . 'There are likely multiple forms of ASDs with multiple causes that are poorly understood. . '
- Autism spectrum disorder, Cause, Mayo Clinic Staff, June 3, 2014. ' . . Genetic problems. Several different genes appear to be involved . . . . . Environmental factors. Researchers are currently exploring whether such factors as viral infections, complications during pregnancy or air pollutants play a role in triggering autism spectrum disorder. . . '
- Why are the French still blaming mothers for autism?, Philly.com, Michael Yudell, Posted: Tuesday, January 31, 2012.
- Address to Florida Autism Task Force on World Autism Day, Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), statement by Ari Ne’eman, founder of ASAN, April 2, 2008. ' . . the past few decades have resulted in a decrease in the stigmatization of parents of autistic children, as a result of the medical community moving away from the odious and damaging inaccuracy that autism is the result of “refrigerator mothers.” . . '
- Finn, Molly, June/July 1997, First Things, "In the Case of Bruno Bettelheim" Archived February 20, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.. " . . . Some undisputed facts are clearly laid out by both biographers: Patsy lived in the Bettelheim household for seven years. She was not autistic. She was cared for exclusively by Bettelheim's wife Gina. Interviews with Patsy herself and many people who knew the Bettelheims and Patsy corroborate these facts. . . "
- Chicago Reader, Letters to the Editor, Brutal Bettelheim, Name Withheld, April 5, 1990. And Chicago Reader, Letters to the Editor, The Monster of the Midway, Alida Jatich, April 4, 1991. The author is a former resident of the 'Orthogenic School' from 1966-1972. In her second letter, she acknowledged authorship of the first.
- The Other Dr. Bettelheim, Washington Post, Charles Pekow, Editorial, Aug. 26, 1990. " . . he created a climate of fear -- we could never tell when he would attack us for any arbitrary reason. . " See 'The Other Dr. Bettelheim', Letters to the Editor, Sept. 6, 1990, which includes a response by David Zwerdling who had been a counselor for one year during 1969-70; and The Bettelheim We Know (Cont'd.), Letters to the Editor, Oct. 6, 1990, for the contrasting views of some counselors.
- The Confidence Man : THE CREATION OF DR. B.: A Biography of Bruno Bettelheim. By Richard Pollak. Simon & Schuster: 478 pages, Los Angeles Times, reviewed by Howard Gardner (professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education), Jan. 19, 1997. " . . Pollak's book does not convict only Bettelheim, it indicts those of his time who knew the man but kept their reservations to themselves."
- Dundes, Alan: "Bruno Bettelheim's Uses of Enchantment and Abuses of Scholarship". The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 104, N0. 411. (Winter, 1991): pages 74–83.
- Bettelheim Plagiarized Book Ideas, Scholar Says : Authors: The late child psychologist is accused of 'wholesale borrowing' for study of fairy tales, Los Angeles Times, Anne C. Roark, Feb. 7, 1991. ' . . [Alan Dundes] details what he says is "wholesale borrowing," . . . . . the most obvious "borrowing" comes from "A Psychiatric Study of Fairy Tales [book]," written by Heuscher in 1963. . '
- Late-Talking Children: A Symptom of a Stage?, Stephen M. Camarata, MIT Press, 2014. From "Ch. 4: Lessons from Autism: Charlatans, False Cures, and Questionable Cures", page 81 quotes a paragraph from Newsweek magazine.
- Newsweek, "'Beno Brutalheim'?," Nina Darnton, Sept. 10, 1990.
- THE BATTLE OVER BETTELHEIM, Weekly Standard, Peter D. Kramer, April 7, 1997.
- NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity, Steve Silberman, Foreword by Oliver Sacks, Penguin Random House, 2015, pages 199-208. " . . (The closest he ever came to meeting Freud was walking past his house.) . . "
- "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter B" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved June 24, 2011.
- "All Past National Book Critics Circle Award Winners and Finalists". National Book Critics Circle. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
- "National Book Awards – 1977". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
There was a "Contemporary" or "Current" award category from 1972 to 1980.
- Robert Gottlieb, "The Strange Case of Dr. B.", The New York Review of Books, 27 Feb 2003. Retrieved 2008-04-15.
- Severson, Katherine DeMaria; Aune, James Arnt; Jodlowski, Denise (2007). "Bruno Bettelheim, Autism, and the Rhetoric of Scientific Authority". In Osteen, Mark. Autism and Representation. Routledge research in cultural and media studies. Routledge. pp. 65–77. ISBN 978-0-415-95644-4. Retrieved August 28, 2009.
- Osgood, Nancy J. (July 1992). "Suicide in later life". Lexington Books (published 1992): 4. ISBN 978-0-669-21214-3. Retrieved January 29, 2010.
- Dr. Bruno Bettelheim, Child Psychology Expert, Chicago Tribune, John W. Fountain, March 14, 1990.
- Trem'Site, Bruno Bettelheim, une vie, Nina Sutton, Stock, 1995, 758 pages. " . . le penseur empreint d’humanité et de pédagogie active, serait-il en fait un imposteur ? . . "
- Sutton, Nina (1995). Bruno Bettelheim, Une vie [Bruno Bettelheim: A Life and a Legacy.] (in French). Translated by David Sharp. Paris: Stock, Westview Press. p. 606. ISBN 2-234-02511-7.
. . . The brilliant discoverer . . . Or the brutal and despotic bully . . .
- Bettelheim: A Life and a Legacy, Nina Sutton, 1995. Publishers Weekly review. " . . and to seek big grants that increased the pressure to claim research breakthroughs. . "
- Pollak, Richard (1997). The creation of Dr. B: A biography of Bruno Bettelheim. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 478. ISBN 0-684-80938-9.
- Russ Baker reviews the book "The Creation of Dr. B: A Biography of Bruno Bettelheim" by Richard Pollak, Salon, Jan. 21, 1997. " . . Assuming Pollak has got it right — and there is more documentation here than most of us would need — Bettelheim joins the ranks of notorious dissemblers . . . "
- Turbulent dreams of a damaged saint, The Independent [UK], Nicholas Tucker, 8 December 1995.
- Setting The Record Straight About A `Fallen Guru', Chicago Tribune, Joan Beck, Editorial, April 3, 1997. ' . . claimed he had summa cum laude degrees in three disciplines, . . '
- The Authors Guild, Member Profile, Richard Pollak. He has served several editorial positions with The Nation and Newsweek. He has written for Harper's, The Atlantic, The New York Times Book Review and other major magazines, as well as The Evening Sun (Baltimore) newspaper. Mr. Pollak was also co-founder and editor of [MORE] magazine, the monthly journalism review which was published in the 1970s.
- "The New Republic", June 15, 1963
- The New Republic, July 20, 1963
- "The Eichmann Polemics: Hannah Arendt and Her Critics", Book Review in Democratiya, Michael Ezra, London, 2007. Archived January 20, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- Separating Fact from Fiction in the Etiology and Treatment of Autism, Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, James Herbert, Ian Sharp, Brandon Gaudiano (all three authors from Hahnemann University in Philadelphia, Penn.), Vol. 1: No. 1, Spring-Summer 2002. " . . no controlled research has been produced to support the refrigerator mother theory of autism. For example, Allen, DeMeyer, Norton, Pontus, and Yang (1971) did not find differences between parents of autistic and mentally retarded children and matched comparison children on personality measures. . "
- Raising America: Experts, Parents, and a Century of Advice about Children, Ann Hulbert, Random House, 2003. " . . An evocative case history approach like his allowed for fudging of samples, methods, and final results, and Bettelheim did so quite brazenly. . "
- Amazon reviews[unreliable source?]
- Millon, Theodore; Krueger, Robert F.; Simonsen, Erik, eds. (2011). Contemporary Directions in Psychopathology. Scientific Foundations of the DSM-V and ICD-11. New York City: Guilford Press. p. 555. ISBN 1-60623-533-8. ISBN 978-1-60623533-1.
- Elijah's Cup: A Family's Journey into the Community and Culture of High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's Syndrome, Revised Edition, Valerie Paradiz, Free Press, 2002; UK: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2005, pages 72-73: "At the time, few people knew that Bettelheim had faked his credentials and was using fictional data to support his research. In 1944, with a forged resumé that suggested a stellar academic career in psychoanalysis in Austria, Bettelheim had made his way into a post as the director of the Orthgenic School for Disturbed Children at the University of Chicago."
- Feinstein, Adam (2010). A History of Autism: Conversations with the Pioneers. Blackwell's: Oxford, UK. p. 68.
- Feinstein, Adam. "'Refrigerator mother' tosh must go into cold storage". autismconnect. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved July 29, 2007.
- Tony Humphreys (February 3, 2012). "Core connection: A diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome does little to help a child troubled by unhappy relationships". Irish Examiner. p. 7.
- Heurtevent, David (January 2, 2012). "Introduction to Autism in France: A Really Silly Psychiatric System !". Support The Wall – Autism. Archived from the original on December 20, 2012. Retrieved February 25, 2012.
- Angres, Ronald: "Who, Really, Was Bruno Bettelheim?", personal essay, Commentary, 90, (4), October 1, 1990: 26–30.
- Bettelheim Led Us Cruelly Down Wrong Road For Children, Chicago Tribune, Joan Beck, Editorial, Oct. 1, 1990. " . . (Even a quick look at children who are abused or neglected by parents should make it obvious that autism is a completely different kind of problem.) . . "
- A Personal View Of Bruno Bettelheim, Chicago Tribune, Alida Jatich, Oct. 29, 1990. ' . . Whenever Bettelheim called a young person ``autistic`` or ``psychotic`` or ``homicidal`` or ``suicidal`` or anything else, the staff believed him regardless of all evidence to the contrary. To them, the truth was whatever Bettelheim said it was, and their job was to get me and the other youngsters to accept it. . '
- Bernstein, Richard: "Accusations of Abuse Haunt the Legacy of Dr. Bruno Bettelheim", New York Times, November 4, 1990: "The Week in Review" section. " . . not only of a tyrant but of a hypocrite as well. . "
- Letter to the Editor, New York Times, 'Bettelheim Became the Very Evil He Loathed,' Roberta Redford, Nov. 20, 1990 (written Nov. 9). " . . I would like to believe that at the beginning his motives were pure. By the time I knew him, he was a megalomaniac, twisted and out of control. We were terrified of him, and lived for those days when he was out of town. . "
- See also And They Call it Help: The Psychiatric Policing of America's Children, Louise Armstrong, Addison-Wesley, 1993, Chapter 3 "Bart Simpson Meets Bruno Bettelheim." See pages 75 and following for similar reports of abuse. See pages 77 and following for the response and nonresponse from the Chicago psychiatric community. See pages 80 and following for more of Alida Jatich's recounts of experiences and her thoughts regarding why more people didn't speak up.
- Chicago Reader, Letters to the Editor, The Cult of Bettelheim, "By WB A former counselor," July 5, 1990.
- The Positive Side of Special Education: Minimizing Its Fads, Fancies, and Follies, Kenneth A. Kavale, Mark P. Mostert, ScareCrow Education (an imprint of The Rowman & Littlefield Pub. Group), 2004, page 132.
- Not The Thing I Was: Thirteen Years at Bruno Bettelheim's Orthogenic School, Stephen Eliot, New York: St. Martin's Press, 2003, as listed for Toronto Public Library.
- Crazy: My Seven Years At Bruno Bettelheim's Orthogenic School, Roberta Carly Redford, Trafford Publishing, 364 pages, 2010. The author was a student at the school from 1967 to 1974, ages 16 to 23.
- A Psychiatric Study of Fairy Tales: Their Origin, Meaning and Usefulness, Julius E. Heuscher, illus. by Melba Bennett, Springfield, Illinois: Thomas pub., 1963, 224 pages. See also A Psychiatric Study of Fairy Tales: Their Origin, Meaning and Usefulness; an enlarged and thoroughly revised second edition, Julius E. Heuscher, Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas, publisher, April 1974, 422 pages.
- Bettelheim Accused Of Plagiarizing Book, Chicago Tribune, Sharman Stein, February 7, 1991.
- http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-619953871843503232 [clarification needed]
- Missing the Message: A Critique of Bettelheim's Analysis of The Jinny and the Fisherman
- Reviews of Dr. Roland Kaufhold's Bettelheim, Ekstein, Federn (in German)
- Thomas Aichhorn, Essays über Bruno Bettelheim (in German)
- Bruno Bettelheim at the Internet Movie Database
- The Edith Buxbaum Journal by Roland Kaufhold
- Bruno Bettelheim 1903–1990 Zehan, Karen, Prospects: the quarterly review of comparative education, UNESCO, 1993.