Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Anna O.

  • Liat Tsuman
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_566-1



Anna O. is the pseudonym of a patient of Josef Breuer, a prominent Viennese internist who was a mentor to and early collaborator with Sigmund Freud. The patient, Bertha Pappenheim, was a brilliant Austrian-Jewish woman who later became a pioneer in the discipline of social work. She was diagnosed with hysteria and treated by Breuer between 1880 and 1882. The case history of the treatment, “Fräulein Anna O.,” written by Breuer, appeared as the first clinical chapter in Studies on Hysteria, published jointly by Breuer and Freud in 1895. The name Anna O. stands for the “alpha and omega of neurosis,” or as might be written today, “Neurosis from A to Z.” Breuer’s treatment of Pappenheim eventually led to a theory of hysteria, a new method of psychological treatment, and the germ of a new way of thinking about personality and the mind – Freudian (Classical) psychoanalysis – that would have a major impact on our thinking about human nature.

Anna O. and...


Anna O. Bertha Pappenheim Catharsis Josef Breuer Sigmund Freud Hysteria Studies on hysteria The talking cure 
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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, NYU, CandidateNew YorkUSA