Controversial Child Psychologist Bruno Bettelheim

Powerful Essays
Bruno Bettelheim, a child psychologist, was one of the most controversial psychoanalysts in history. Born in Vienna, in 1903, he was sent to a concentration camp, where he released after World War II. He soon traveled to America and became a citizen. In the United States, Bettelheim worked at the University of Chicago as a professor. He also worked with many mentally disturbed children to assist them in daily life. In helping these children, Bettelheim wrote down his findings and published many books and scientific articles. Many praised his accomplishments and accepted his work helpful psychological guidelines. Others criticized Bettelheim saying he abused the children he worked with, or he had plagiarized in many of his works. In 1990, Bettelheim committed suicide. In one of his most important books, The Uses of Enchantment written in 1976, Bettelheim explores the relationship between the development of a child and fairy tales. Many praised the ideas that Bettelheim had come up with, but critics accused it of being plagiarized or having false information. In Bettelheim’s attempt to describe the influence of fairy tales on children, he creates many excellent theories that would have an impact in the psychological community however; this impact is weakened by counterpoints made by critics. In Bettelheim’s book, The Uses of Enchantment, he makes many plausible and splendid theories about the relationship between the fairy tale and child development. One of the most significant theories that Bettelheim presents is that if a child is deprived of a fairy tale he may not be able to use the lesson he learned and apply it to real life (Dundes). According to Bettelheim, fairy tales teach essential lessons that could help a child learn... ... middle of paper ... ...nd The Children's Literature Association 6 (1977): 93-114. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. James P. Draper and Jennifer Allison Brostrom. Vol. 79. Detroit: Gale Research, 1994.Literature Resource Center. Web. 11 Mar. 2010. Illick, Joseph E. "Telling Another Fairy Tale." New Leader 73.6 (16 Apr. 1990): 20-21. Rpt. InContemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Janet Witalec. Vol. 175. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Literature Resource Center. Web. 12 Feb. 2010. Zipes, Jack. "On the Use and Abuse of Folk and Fairy Tales with Children: Bruno Bettelheim's Moralistic Magic Wand." Breaking the Magic Spell: Radical Theories of Folk and FairyTales. University of Texas Press, 1979. 160-182. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. James P. Draper and Jennifer Allison Brostrom. Vol. 79. Detroit: Gale Research, 1994. Literature Resource Center. Web. 12 Feb. 2010.
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