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Bettelheim

Bettelheim

[bet-l-hahym]
Bettelheim, Bruno, 1903-90, American developmental psychologist, b. Austria. He received his doctoral degree (1938) from the Univ. of Vienna. He was imprisoned in the Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps during the Nazi occupation of Austria. After emigrating to the United States in 1939, he published (1943) a highly influential essay on the psychology of concentration camp prisoners. He taught psychology at the Univ. of Chicago (1944-73) and directed the Chicago-based Orthogenic School for children with emotional problems, placing special emphasis on the treatment of autism. Bettelheim believed that autistic children had been raised in unstimulating environments during the first few years of their lives, when language and motor skills were developing. Although his theories on autism have been largely discredited, he authored a number of influential works on child development, including The Informed Heart (1960), The Empty Fortress (1967), and The Uses of Enchantment (1976).

(born Aug. 28, 1903, Vienna, Austria—died March 13, 1990, Silver Spring, Md., U.S.) Austrian-U.S. psychologist. Trained in Vienna, he was arrested by the Nazis and interned in concentration camps (1938–39). He immigrated to the U.S., where from 1944 he directed the University of Chicago's Orthogenic School, a laboratory school for disturbed children, and became known especially for his work with autistic children. He applied psychoanalytic principles to social problems, especially in child rearing. His works include an influential paper on adaptation to extreme stress (1943), “Love Is Not Enough” (1950), as well as The Informed Heart (1960), The Empty Fortress (1967), Children of the Dream (1967), and The Uses of Enchantment (1976). Depressed after the death of his wife and after suffering a stroke, he took his own life. His reputation was later clouded by revelations that he had invented his academic credentials and had abused and misdiagnosed children at his school.

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(born Aug. 28, 1903, Vienna, Austria—died March 13, 1990, Silver Spring, Md., U.S.) Austrian-U.S. psychologist. Trained in Vienna, he was arrested by the Nazis and interned in concentration camps (1938–39). He immigrated to the U.S., where from 1944 he directed the University of Chicago's Orthogenic School, a laboratory school for disturbed children, and became known especially for his work with autistic children. He applied psychoanalytic principles to social problems, especially in child rearing. His works include an influential paper on adaptation to extreme stress (1943), “Love Is Not Enough” (1950), as well as The Informed Heart (1960), The Empty Fortress (1967), Children of the Dream (1967), and The Uses of Enchantment (1976). Depressed after the death of his wife and after suffering a stroke, he took his own life. His reputation was later clouded by revelations that he had invented his academic credentials and had abused and misdiagnosed children at his school.

Learn more about Bettelheim, Bruno with a free trial on Britannica.com.

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