Bettelheim, Bruno


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Bettelheim, Bruno

(bĕt`əlhīm'), 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 autismautism
, developmental disability resulting from a neurological disorder that affects the normal functioning of the brain. It is characterized by the abnormal development of communication skills, social skills, and reasoning. Males are affected four times as often as females.
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. 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).

Bettelheim, Bruno

(1903–90) psychotherapist, author; born in Vienna, Austria. He studied with Freud, whom he revered, and graduated from the University of Vienna (1938). During the Nazi regime, he was imprisoned at Dachau and Buchenwald (1938–39); his 1943 article on his experiences and insights would gain him wide recognition. Upon his release, he moved to the United States and worked at the University of Chicago (1939–42, 1944–73). As head of the university's Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School, a treatment center for severely disturbed children (1944–73), he developed a deinstitutionalized environment of total support. He became particularly admired for his work with autistic children—although some of his methods were controversial—and in later years he published advice in the popular media on raising normal children. He published two books on the Nazi death camps, The Informed Heart: Autonomy in a Mass Age (1960) and Surviving and Other Essays (1979; reprinted in 1986 as Surviving the Holocaust). He wrote more than 20 books on psychotherapy, including Love Is Not Enough: The Treatment of Emotionally Disturbed Children (1950), The Children of the Dream (1969), and Freud and Man's Soul (1982).
References in periodicals archive ?
Bettelheim, Bruno 1977 The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales.