Masud Khan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Mohammed Masud Raza Khan (21 July 1924 – June 1989) was a Pakistani British psychoanalyst. His training analyst was Donald Winnicott. Masud Raza Khan was a protege of Sigmund Freud's daughter Anna Freud, and a long-time collaborator with Donald Winnicott. Indeed, Anna Freud insisted that Khan understood her father's work better than anyone else and spoke in defence of her star student whenever he aroused the Society's ire.

Early life[edit]

Part of a series of articles on
Freud's couch, London, 2004 (2).jpeg

Khan was born in Jhelum in the Punjab, then part of British India, later in Pakistan, one of the nine sons of Fazaldad Khan, a wealthy landowner (Zamindar). His mother was Fazaldad Khan's fourth wife, Khursheed Begum. [1]

Masud Khan was raised with his older brother Tahir and his younger sister Mahmooda on his father's estate in the Montgomery District. They moved to Lyallpur when Khan was 13. He was not allowed to see much of his mother during his early years, but after his father died in 1943, when Khan was 19, he went to live with her.[1]

In his later life Masud Khan's share of his father's vast estate was managed by his stepbrother Syed Salah ud Din (aka Raja Salah).

In 1956 Masud Khan, his brother Tahir and their stepbrother Raja Salah built a cinema, the Rex, in Lyallpur. After the collapse of the Pakistani cinema industry in the 1980s it became the Masud Super Market and Rex Hotel.

Khan once wrote of himself: "I am tall, handsome, a good polo and squash player. Fit. Only forty one. Very rich. Noble born. Delightfully married to a famous artist. Live in the style of my own making. I am a Muslim and Pakistani. My roots are sunk deep and widespread across three cultures."

Khan wrote in his Work Books that he inherited his shyness, sensitivity, and warmth from his mother, and from his father, an "imperious capacity for work and a terrible temper."[2] He had a slight deformity, a right ear that stuck out, of which he was very conscious, later taking to wearing a beret to hide it, until Winnicott persuaded him to have it fixed in 1951.[3]


Khan attended the University of Punjab at Faisalabad and Lahore from 1942–5. He obtained his BA in English literature, and his MA for a thesis on James Joyce's Ulysses.[1]:11

Masud Raza Khan acquired his double Masters in English Literature and Psychology from University of Punjab and later applied to the British Psychoanalytic Association to be accepted as an analyst.

Contributions to psychoanalysis[edit]

Khan was a protege of Sigmund Freud's daughter Anna and a long-time collaborator with D. W. Winnicott. Anna Freud insisted that Khan understood her father's work better than anyone else and spoke in defence of her star pupil whenever he aroused the Society's ire.[4]

Few psychoanalysts from the latter half of the twentieth century have been as intellectually prolific, charismatic and ultimately scandalous as Masud Khan.[citation needed] Clinical practice and teaching went alongside his authoring over 60 published papers, as well as numerous reviews, and editing significant portions of Winnicott's literary output and that of other key luminaries within the psychoanalytical canon.[citation needed]

Masud Khan was both highly controversial as well as a significant contributor to psychoanalytic thinking, functioning as editor of psychoanalytical publications as well as contributing via his own writings.

His contributions include the concept of cumulative trauma as creating psychopathology introducing the concept of lack of fit between child and parent creating an ongoing trauma affecting development.[citation needed] He produced a number of papers highlighting perversions as stemming from a split within the personality and the acting out of disturbed object relations collected in his book Alienation in Perversions. He wrote a sequence of three papers on the use of dreams in psychoanalysis as well as a series of clinical papers showing his unique intuitive style combined with his application of Winnicott's then new concepts of potential space and transitional object in the analysis of adult patients.[citation needed] Khan demonstrates the importance of influencing the patient's environment outside of the analytic setting in line with Winnicott's emphasis on the environment as a therapeutic tool.[citation needed]


Khan's position in the British Psychoanalytic Association as training analyst gave him an air of legitimacy while at the same time he became less and less adherent to psychoanalytic guidelines with gross boundary violations including socialising with his students and analysands.[5][6]

He lost his status as training analyst and later resigned from the British Psychoanalytic Association after the publication of his last book "When Spring Comes" in which he included a blatantly anti-semitic tirade against a Jewish patient.[7] Masud Khan however insisted that his remarks were therapeutic in nature.

In his later years he insisted on being called Prince Raja Khan and signed letters in this way, claiming to have inherited the title from his Pakistani ancestors, however, this claim was never substantiated.[6]

Quoting Jeffrey Masson: Khan about British psychoanalysis[edit]


Personal life[edit]

Khan was married initially to the dancer Jane Shore; he later divorced her and married ballerina Svetlana Beriosova.[5][6] Together with Beriosova he led a prominent social life in a London scene which included well-known figures such as actress Julie Andrews, photographer Zoë Dominic, actor Peter O'Toole and members of the Redgrave family.[5] Khan was described as tall, handsome with oriental charm and sex appeal, he was known as charming, charismatic and infamous for impromptu flashes of psychoanalytic insights given randomly to people met at social occasions.[5][6] His paradoxical and highly unpredictable nature was summarised by his close friend and colleague, the French psychoanalyst, Victor Smirnoff, who wrote at his death:[9]

He died at his home in London in 1989.


  • "The Privacy of the Self" (1974)
  • "Alienation in Perversions" (1979), Publisher: Karnac Books (October 1979), ISBN 978-0-946439-62-1
  • "Hidden Selves" (1983)
  • "The Long Wait" (1988)
  • "When the spring comes" (1988)
  • "False Self: The Life of Masud Khan" (2008)Publisher: Other Press


  1. ^ a b c Judy Cooper. Speak of Me as I Am. Karnac Books, 1993, pp. 5–7.
  2. ^ Khan, Masud. Work Books, 1971, p. 928, cited in Judy Cooper, Speak of Me as I Am. Karnac Books, 1993, p. 8.
  3. ^ Cooper, Judy. Speak of me as I am. Karnac Books, 1993, p. 10.
  4. ^ Intern (7 July 2014). "Return of the Repressed". Boston Review. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d Linda Hopkins, FALSE SELF – The Life of Masud Khan, New York: Other Press, 2006
  6. ^ a b c d Roger Willoughby (Author), Pearl King (Foreword): Masud Khan: The Myth And The Reality, Publisher: Free Association Books; 1 edition (January 2005), ISBN 978-1-85343-724-3
  7. ^ Masud Khan When Spring Comes: Awakenings in Clinical Psychoanalysis, Publisher: Chatto and Windus, London 1988 ISBN 978-0-7011-3315-3
  8. ^ Quoting Khan according to Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson in FINAL ANALYSIS (1990), pp. 194–195
  9. ^ Communication Victor Smirnoff to Robert Stoller quoted in: Roger Willoughby (Author), Pearl King (Foreword): Masud Khan: The Myth And The Reality, Publisher: Free Association Books; 1 edition (January 2005), ISBN 978-1-85343-724-3


  • Linda Hopkins: FALSE SELF The Life of Masud Khan., New York: Other Press, 2006
  • Roger Willoughby (Author), Pearl King (Foreword): Masud Khan: The Myth And The Reality [ILLUSTRATED], Publisher: Free Association Books; 1 edition (January 2005), ISBN 978-1-85343-724-3
  • Judy Cooper: Speak of Me As I Am: The Life and Work of Masud Khan, Publisher: Karnac Books; 1 edition (1 February 1994), ISBN 978-1-85575-044-9

External links[edit]